Instead of jam, lemon curd can be sharp and refreshing. The secret is to keep the sugar content low, just enough.
Simple ingredients for lemon curd
Whisk the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute at a time, stirring after each minute. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon you are finished.
I place quantities in squares of cling film to freeze. Whenever I need some lemon curd, I thaw a cling film sachet, undo the tie and squeeze the contents into a very small bowl, just enough for one or two helpings. This way, no lemon curd is wasted. It’s delicious on wholemeal bread.
For an extra tang, I place a layer of it over my Pavlova meringue. After this, I add whipped cream followed by chopped fruit to decorate. It contrasts well with the sweet meringue.
As I went for my morning swim, I met a new companion. It was sunbathing on the handle of the pool steps.
Our cicada visitor
It was content and so it didn’t want to move.
Our laid back cicada
I placed my dry towel around it gently and carried it to a shady area.
Resting on my towel
Again, it stayed put. A sudden vibration and blur and it was gone. It had darted to the fruit garden.
Can you see it?
Camouflaged in the fruit garden
If you have some die back on the ends of your tree branches, this may be due to cicada damage. This is where the female cicada has cut a slit to lay her eggs and so the tips of the branches have died. In our case, a Ficus tree is affected. The nymphs remain below ground eating tree roots for years. Eventually, they appear for a few months and make noisy sounds as they call for a mate. The males die after mating. Hard luck!
We love our children but maybe we can miss out on going out. Try to find pubs and bars where there are facilities for children and adults to be together happily. UK National Trust attractions can include child-friendly cafes and outdoor eating and drinking areas. Find other places with high chairs along with necessary good nappy changing and toilet facilities. Some museums have excellent child-friendly facilities as well as displays involving children to keep them interested.
Sundown at a beachside bar
Keep the contact details of all these various entertainment areas you have searched out so you can invite friends to join you with ease.
It can be a problem removing garden waste.You may not have adequate transport to take it to a recycling centre or tip. Perhaps you have to pay to have it collected or accepted by the recycling centre. Maybe you need help chopping or sawing large boughs so more cost.
It’s time to feel the burn! Are there regulations about bonfires in your area? Try an old oil drum. You may need to pay for delivery. To remove excess oil, have it cleaned out first before you buy it. Alternatively, turn it upside down for some time. You may need help carrying it. Make sure your waste is dry before burning.
A well-used oil drum
To prevent smoke travelling to other areas, choose a windless time of day. We peep round the curtains and arise early if it’s still outside. Occasionally, we burn in early evening if the air is still. Position a full watering can or garden hose nearby. Place the oil drum on level ground away from overhanging branches. Fill it with your dry garden waste. Use a rod to push the waste away from one side. With gloved hands, light a fire lighter using a match stick. Drop this down space you made at the side. It’s easier and faster with two people. One collects the bundles of wood while the other feeds the fire. Leave a “fire break” around the drum.
Remember the drum is very hot. Pour water over the final ashes. Check on the oil drum after use. It takes some time to cool down.
All that’s left of a drum full of twigs and branches
Do you like avocados? I like them but I have to disguise them for one family member. I serve them chopped or mashed and sprinkled with salt and lemon juice. Maybe I place them under chopped beetroot so the taste is disguised! For breakfast, I like them on wholemeal toast sprinkled with home-grown chilli flakes.
What to do with all those avocado stones? I allow them to get wet under a garden sprinkler and hope for shoots.
Just a few avocado stones
I may also place them in the soil around a plant in a shady container. They are watered regularly. The avocado stones enjoy the warmth. Eventually, they develop leaves and a strong tap root. Now I plant them in sunny and shady places. I think those in shade will thrive. The young avocado plant in full sun may not be so successful. We’ll wait and see. I surround them with chicken wire to keep them safe from our dogs who like to chew young, tender leaves!
A young avocado plant
As trees, they take some time to fruit but the foliage is attractive. I prefer them as a group or in a row.
We find our lemon tree laden with fruit from about December to May.
Our last lemons
The lemons are irregular in size and taste pungent.
Our irregular lemons
For our daily waking up drink, we use them sliced in hot water and honey. When there is a glut of lemons, I make a speedy lemon posset. I just whip about one pint or half a litre of cream. When it is firming up, I add the juice of about six lemons. Sugar is added to taste. I freeze the posset in bags to eat with a sweet tart.
Lemons slices are good for wiping dust off indoor plant leaves too!