SHARE YOUR SHORT STORY – FEBRUARY


Have you posts a short story recently that you would like to share.. then read the post and follow the submission guidelines so you can put our link in the right place to be noticed… head over to Stevie Turner pronto..

Stevie Turner

Authors can share a link to their short stories (less than 2000 words please) or poetry, and it won’t cost you a penny! The deadline is 28th February. Stories or poems can be on any subject, but please keep them reasonably family friendly. On 5th March when I’m home from the van I will pick a winner and share the link to the story on my website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Please ensure that you add the link to your story to February’s submission page and not any previous month, or it may be missed.

I look forward to reading your efforts. The winner can use this laurel to add to their story:

short story laurel february 2019

Here’s a little poem to keep you entertained while you think up a lovely story for me:

THE IRONING BOARD BLUES, BY STEVIE TURNER

COPYRIGHT STEVIE TURNER 2019

When I was but twelve years old

My mother said…

View original post 231 more words

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Guest Comedian D.G. Kaye and a joke or two from the archives.


Debby Gies is still on vacation in sunny Mexico, but she is keen that you should not be lacking in funnies whilst she is away, so she has forwarded a batch to me to share with you. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

And I have been rifling through the archives to find some jokes to share..

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.comGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Now time for some quickies from my archives – more things that children say in Sunday School!

A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.”

*****

A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, looking at the old pages as he turned them. Then something fell out of the Bible and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mama, look what I found,” the boy called out.

“What have you got there, dear?” his mother asked.

With astonishment in the young boy’s voice he answered, “It’s Adam’s suit!”

*****

The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, “If he gets loose, will he hurt us?”

*****

Six-year old Angie, and her four-year old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. “You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church.”

“Why? Who’s going to stop me?” Joel asked.

Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, “See those two men standing by the door? They’re hushers.”

*****

A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments. They were ready to discuss the last one. The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was. Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted, “Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbour’s wife.”

*****

I had been teaching my three-year old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord’s prayer. For several evenings at bedtime, she would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us some E-mail. Amen.”

*****

Thank you for dropping by today and to Debby Gies for her contribution….. we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face…Sally

 

Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa V: The Venda

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Another fascinating look at the Beliefs and Myths of the peoples of South Africa and this week Roberta Eaton (Robbie Cheadle) shares those of the Venda.. Please head over and read this very interesting post.. thanks Sally

 

Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa V: The Venda

Roberta Eaton, aka Robbie Cheadle, shares the third of her posts on the beliefs and myths of her home. Other posts in the series can be found by cicking here: Part One, Part TwoPart Three, Part Four

Beliefs and myths of southern Africa – The Venda

The Venda-speaking people originated from the Great Lakes of Central Africa. The Venda settled in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa’s northern-most mountain range which takes its name from the salt pans that lie at its based near the western end. The Venda built their first capital, D’zata, meaning a good place, in the Nzhelele Valley. The D’zata ruins still exist today and have been declared a South African national monument. D’zata was important for the Venda people as they buried their chiefs facing it.

Image of the D’zata ruins from https://alchetron.com/Dzata-ruins

God and the afterlife

The Venda people are artistic, and this is reflected in their vibrant mythical belief system. Water is an important feature in the Venda belief system and there are several sacred sites where the Venda conjure up the ancestral spirits.

Lake Fundudzi, an inland lake system that lies in the heart of the Soutpansberg region, is held sacred by the Venda. The name is derived from the words fundu (to bend) and dziba (a large pool) and relates to the greeting which was expected from all visitors to the lake. This greeting involves the visitor bowing his/her back to the lack and viewing it from between their legs.

Image from https://www.dirtyboots.co.za/operators/fundudzi-lake-hike

 

Head over and read the complete post.. thanks Sally

via Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa V: The Venda

Smorgasbord Letters from America – 1986 – Trip to Dallas, #Southfork Ranch and Tornedoes


As we move into February 1986 there is much discussion about our future… would we stay another year or would we back to Cheshire in England. We also continued to explore Texas including Southfork Ranch in Dallas.

February 7th 1986.

Dear M & D,

Hope you are well… and as you can see from the letterhead which I pinched from the Marriott, we were in Dallas last week . David had a meeting so we thought we would combine with some adventures. The weather had been wet on the trip up but it dried out enough for us to go to Southfork of ‘JR Ewing Fame’ the next afternoon.

There is a long drive up to an impressive looking house and we went in for a tour. I think that they must film the interior shots, or some of them anyway in the studio as the actual rooms were a bit small by the time you get cast and crew in them.

The pool also didn’t seem to be as big as I expected in the scenes that they have with 20 or 30 people having a party around it. Still it was fascinating to be actually at the famous Southfork.

They did have a buffalo in one of the paddocks and they also offer something quite unique for visitors, and that is why this is a packet rather than an email letter. You are now the proud owners of “1 Square Inch” of Southfork ranch. Don’t ask me which square inch it is so don’t order an oil drill quite yet! It is all legal apparently and the ownership is registered with the Land Office…

We also did a little retail therapy and we are now the proud owners of our own movie player, rather than having to rent one when we hire a movie.  This means that I can go to Krogers and pick up a movie for $1.50 any time I like. Unfortunately the television which is also a rental has decided to die, so they are coming with a replacement this afternoon.

We also experienced a different side to the weather on Wednesday this week when several tornadoes whistled down route 1960, doing a lot of damage and our municipal airport Hooks was devastated with a huge amount of damage to buildings and aircraft and 5 miles from here two people were killed and there were about 75 injuries. It must have been terrifying and I felt so sorry for the people in the trailer parks in its path as they have very little protection and can be smashed within minutes. In stark contrast today is brilliant blue skies and warm and just goes to show how weather here can flip on a dime.

We have also been talking about our future this week, and it looks like that the company is happy for David to stay until the end of this year before he returns to Liverpool to a job there. The problem is we don’t know if we want to go back. We love the weather, lifestyle and the people here and one of the things David will explore now we have the extra twelve months is to look at getting a job here in America. I realise that this means being away from you all but I will try to come home at least once a year, including this summer. I know that you enjoyed your stay in November and we would also hope you would come out to see us on a regular basis.

Tonight we have dinner with Walter and his girlfriend and he is going to be trying out his new wok. Tomorrow we are entertaining a couple of David’s colleagues from England and Monday David flies to Chicago and then Washington. We are having my birthday party the day after on Valentines and have about 20 people coming which no doubt will result in shenanigans and a late night dip in the pool which is quite cold at the moment… still the tequila will help keep us warm.

Will write again after the party… love from us both S &D.

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoyed the trip to Southfork.. You can find the other Letters from America HERE

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Farm Life: Gotta Have Guts by Linda Bethea


Farm Life: Gotta Have Guts

Daddy loved home remedies and dosed us and the livestock readily. Mother ran interference on cow chip tea and coal oil and sugar, but did let him load us with sulphur and molasses for summer sores. We never got summer sores, probably because we reeked so badly we were rejected by mosquitoes. I do appreciate Mother for putting her foot down when his more toxic ideas. No telling what kind of chromosome damage she saved the gene pool.

The livestock weren’t so lucky. They got coal oil for pneumonia, distemper, to bring on labor, and as a tonic, should they be so foolish as to look puny. Daddy hung ropes with black oil soaked bags for cows and horses to rub against as protection against insects, which they gladly did. When an unfortunate cow bloated from green hay, he inserted an ice pick in her distended belly to release gas. She ceased her moaning and resumed cow business as usual, grateful for the relief.

Farm kids grow up with a lot of responsibility. In addition to our daily chores, Daddy left us other jobs to do before he got home from work and started on his farm day, expecting us to figure things out without explanation, not always the best plan. When my brother Billy was around eleven, Daddy remarked that the old hound dog nursing eight puppies was off her food. He told Billy to pour some syrup over her feed (country for dog food) so she would eat better. Bill got a jug of syrup and headed out the back door. After a while, he came back in, smeared in dog poop, shirt torn, scratched and bitten from head to foot. “Boy, what in the world happened to you?” Daddy asked, incredulous at the sight.

“Oh, I was putting syrup on that old dog’s feet and she tore me up. She dragged me through the dog yard fence and all over the dog yard, but I did finally get syrup on all four feet.”

As I said, Daddy frequently set us to tasks with inadequate instructions. On one occasion a sick duck foolishly allowed Daddy to spot him. The specific instructions to my brother were, “Go out there and get that green-headed duck staggering around out back, and knock her in the head. No wait, first pour a couple of drops of kerosene down her throat.” Billy picked up the kerosene and was gone a few minutes. When he returned in a few minutes, my dad inquired, “How’s the duck?” He was obviously surprised Daddy would even ask, knowing he’d sent him out to knock it in the head. Daddy didn’t mean to tell us to do anything twice.

Bill replied, “It’s dead.”

Daddy said, “You didn’t give it the kerosene?”

“Sure I did,”said Bill, “and then I knocked it in the head, just like you told me to.” Even Daddy had to admit, clearer instructions would have been better.

We butchered a beef late one Saturday evening after Daddy got home from work, finishing really late. Our place was the last house next door to a huge nature preserve. To Daddy, this meant, “not private property,” a perfect place to dump off guts. He told my brother to load the mess into the ancient farm truck and dump it near Peter Spring Branch, a couple of miles back in the woods. (Yes, Billy was underage for driving, but did drive the farm truck on the farm and in the woods. It was the sixties in the South.) It was way too late to haul it off that night. Then Daddy remembered the truck was broken down (as it often was) and left the nasty mess in a tarpaulin-covered wheelbarrow telling Billy to dump it first thing in the morning, not amending his earlier instructions, assuming Billy would understand he didn’t expect him to push a barrow of guts a couple of miles. Wrong!!

We got up early the next morning. Billy and the wheelbarrow of guts were gone. An hour passed…no Billy. My mother was furious when he was gone past time to get ready to church. She was trying to raise us right. We went on without him, much to my envy. Still not home when we got home after noon, Mother knew something was obviously wrong. He would never have voluntarily missed Sunday dinner. Mother was really worried now.

Finally, after two o’clock he came into view pushing the empty wheelbarrow, circled by flies and trailed by all the hounds in the country covered in congealed blood, guts, mud, and vomit. He had wheeled the guts the entire two miles over muddy roads, through deep ditches, and rough terrain, pestered by flies and dogs to the original site Daddy indicated. The trail was so rough and muddy, his load dumped several times, making a horrible job even worse. He didn’t dare not follow his orders, so he scooped the stinking guts up every time they dumped, fighting dogs and flies for possession of the prize, vomiting as he wrestled them back in the barrow.

He was sick the rest of the day, not even able to eat Sunday dinner. If he did fake misunderstanding as I suspected, just to miss church, he was welcome to all the gut-hauling he wanted.

©Linda Bethea

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and I do feel for dear dedicated Billy –  and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

MarySmith’sPlace – #Murmuration

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Our starlings give us so much pleasure right through the year as they balance on the bird feeder and avail themselves of the olympic size swimming pool I bought for them (1 metre square seed trady). Mary Smith shares the magic of the murmuration of starlings each night before they roost. Please head over to the post to enjoy all the photos and Mary’s descriptions.. thanks Sally

This winter we have been privileged to watch a spectacular display of starlings over the town of Castle Douglas in south west Scotland every evening. Thousands of birds mass in the sky to perform the most breath-taking aerial ballet.

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It seems starlings do this for several reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers as predators such as peregrine falcons are less able to target one bird to grab for dinner in the middle of thousands swooping and swerving. They gather to keep warm at night and they exchange information about good feeding sites.

At some point the decision is made and communicated to the entire murmuration and they swoop down to their chosen roost. It’s like a black waterfall pouring out of the darkening sky. Once settled the racket they make as they chitter chatter amongst themselves is astonishing.

 

via MarySmith’sPlace – #Murmuration

Diana’s January Story: Dead Planet

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As we come to the end of January a stunning story from Diana Wallace Peach that sends a cold chill through our complacency…brilliant and please click the link at the end of this short excerpt and head over to read the complete story and share from there.. thanks Sally.

Diana’s January Story: Dead Planet

Dead Planet

Our planet died, for no living thing can thrive forever beneath the grinding thumb of neglect. But the blue squalls and wind-carved rime weren’t the first to herald a long overdue demise. We endured fires, then the parched ash and dust of rainless drought. Snow seemed almost a blessing until summer never returned.

Now we trek south, burdened only by the essentials, all luxuries of the past abandoned along the way. Lighten the load. Always lighten the load. Learn to survive with less because that’s become the single, intentional goal. To survive.

I wonder, do the southerners trek north? Will we meet in the middle and goggle at each other, our doom reflected across the narrow gap separating our frozen breaths? These are the things I ponder as my snowshoes cut a jagged groove through the crust.

 

Please head over to read, comment and share.. thanks Sally

via Diana’s January Story: Dead Planet

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro Weekly #Poetry Challenge – 121 – ‘Slow and Work’ – Double #Etheree


This week I thought I would use something other than an image as an illustration for my poem for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 121 – One of my favourite videos.

This week the prompt words are ‘Slow and Work’ and I have chosen the synonyms ‘Sluggish and Task’

Harvesting

Hark
small bird
land softly
and soundlessly
on the sluggish hound
unknowing of your task
to obtain the precious fur
from beneath his shaggy rough coat
and if deft he will not feel swift tugs
that skillfully pluck those wisps of fine hair
Now fly swiftly away to your small nest
and weave that soft down between the twigs
that form the cradle for your eggs
then hasten back to the source
to steal a few more strands
and if luck should hold
and hunger strikes
you may find
juicy
fleas

© Sally Cronin

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge then head over to: https://colleenchesebro.com/2019/01/29/colleens-2019-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-121-slow-work-synonymsonly/

Thanks for dropping and and as always your feedback is very welcome… Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Healthy #Apricots and #recipes


Welcome to this week’s post where Carol Taylor and I combine forces and share not just the health benefits of foods but some recipes to showcase them in all their glory. I appreciate that these posts are longer than the average but we hope that you feel that you are getting value for your time…I am going to share the health benefits of this amazing fruit before Carol includes them in some fabulous recipes for all the family to enjoy.

Apricots

The apricot season opens at the beginning of May and goes through to the end of August or early September, which gives us five months to enjoy this highly nutritious and healing food.

First though a little history about this luscious golden yellow fruit. In China over 4000 years ago a bride will have not only had something borrowed and something blue but would have also been nibbling on an apricot. It was prized for its ability to increase fertility, which is not surprising, as it is high in nutrients necessary for the production of sex hormones.

The Latin name for the apricot is “praecocia” which means precocious or early ripening. It is part of the rose family and is a cousin to the peach, plum, cherry and the almond. In China it first grew wild in the mountains before being introduced to Arab traders who took it with them along the trade routes to Babylon and Persia where they were called the “eggs of the sun”. Over the following centuries the fruit continued its travels reaching Greece where the juice was known as “nectar of the Gods, then onto Spain, Mexico and North America. It is now cultivated in all warm climates around the world and used as a sweet and savoury addition to a healthy diet.

The health benefits of apricots

As with any fresh fruit the apricot is packed with fibre and nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Vitamin E, Potassium and Iron. Of particular interest from a therapeutic viewpoint are its high levels of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are responsible for the wonderfully rich reds, oranges and yellow colouring of plant leaves, fruits, flowers and some birds, insects and fish such as salmon. There are around 600 carotenoids that occur naturally and the apricot has two in particular that benefit us, Beta-carotene and lycopene.

Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy sight especially at night. As with any part of the body the sensitive components of the eye are as vulnerable to oxidative damage as any other and Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to degenerative eye disease in many research programmes. It has also shown that eating just three portions a day of yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as apricots and carrots would lower the risk of poor eyesight as we age.

As an anti-oxidant, beta-carotene protects the LDL or harmful cholesterol from free radical damage that can cause plaque to form in the arteries. A build up of plaque can lead to both heart disease and a higher risk of stroke.

Lycopene is usually associated with bright red fruits such as tomatoes but it is also present in apricots. As well as helping protect the eyes from degenerative disease, lycopene is associated with a reduction in damage to LDL cholesterol and a much lower risk of developing a number of cancers including bladder, breast, cervix, prostate and skin.

There has been considerable interest in the medicinal properties of the apricot kernel for the last 40 years. There has been some controversial claims made about cancer curing abilities that has not been well received by the medical profession or pharmaceutical companies. Hopefully ongoing research will prove that this is a natural alternative to the highly invasive treatments currently available such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Modern scientists are not the first researchers in history to explore the possibilities of the apricot kernel.

The medicinal properties of apricots.

In ancient China over 4,000 years ago, healers used a medicine made from the kernels to prolong life. Additionally the oils from the kernels were used as a sedative, muscle relaxant, in wound healing and as an anti-parasitic.

The apricot’s fibre makes it a gentle laxative; aids weight loss and reduces cholesterol in the blood. Its alkaline properties aid digestion if eaten before a meal and due to the high content of iron it is excellent for anyone suffering from anaemia. Apricots also contain a small but essential amount of copper, which may increase the production of haemoglobin in the blood providing more oxygen and therefore energy for the body.

Over the centuries the juice of apricots mixed with honey has been used to treat fevers and the juice from the leaves appears to reduce the inflammation caused by eczema and sunburn.

So this small fruit has a large reputation and certainly in the fight against the most common modern diseases such as elevated cholesterol, heart disease and cancers it would definitely be worth including in your diet on a daily basis.

Buying apricots

Apricots are best eaten when still a little firm. If they are not fully ripe when you buy them keep them in a fruit bowl for two to three days and then store in paper or plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days.

Apart from eating them fresh you can use them in cooking by stewing, grilling, baking or roasting and they are delicious as an accompaniment to meat and poultry dishes or in desserts. As a pre dinner snack they are delicious halved and stuffed with a cream cheese and chopped nuts. For a main course serve in a fresh spinach and walnut salad with roast salmon.

If you want to use dried apricots out of season then do buy guaranteed sulphite free brands as there are many people who react to this preservative. Asthma sufferers in particular should avoid any food containing sulphites including inexpensive wine, baked goods, soup mixes, jams, snacks and most dried fruit.

Now it is time to hand over a bag of apricots to Carol Taylor to turn into fabulous recipes for you to indulge in.

 

I call it the amazing Apricot as it virtually alongside the doctors saved my life…No kidding about 20 years ago I was very, very anaemic so much so that I was whisked into hospital at a moment’s notice and operated on…Amongst other factors my iron levels were practically nonexistent and apart from medical intervention I was advised to eat dried apricots…They have always been one of my favourite fruits so although I had little appetite I was happy to nibble on those little golden pieces of heaven.

It took a few weeks before I was even close to being human again but I do credit those little apricots with contributing to helping to increase my iron levels.

Anyway, enough about me and…..

Let’s Cook!

Apricots are a versatile little fruit which make a lovely jam and the recipe which I am going to start with as it is the basis for much more than just putting on your toast…

Apricot and Orange Blossom Jam.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg apricots stoned and halved….If the apricots are large then cut into quarters.
  • 750 gm preserving sugar
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of Orange blossom water
  • A few knobs of butter (optional). The butter helps dissolve the scum on the top of the jam if there is any.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix the apricots and the sugar together, cover and leave to stand overnight. I have to stand mine in a tray of water otherwise the pesky ants get into the sugar they don’t like swimming the moat however.
  2. Put a saucer in the freezer.
  3. When ready to cook put the apricots into a preserving pan which is flatter, wider and better for cooking preserves, add the lemon juice and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Once the sugar had dissolved then bring the apricots to a rolling boil for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the saucer from the freezer and the pan from the heat and spoon a little jam on to the cold saucer, if the mixture wrinkles when it cools then the jam has reached its setting point.
  6. If it is too runny then return the pan to the heat and bring to a rolling boil for 2-3 minutes then add another spoonful of jam to the saucer, repeat until the jam reaches its setting point.
  7. Then skim the surface of the jam to remove any scum which has formed and stir in the orange blossom and the butter if using. The butter helps dissolve any remaining scum.
  8. Leave the jam to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to sterilised jars.
  9. This jam will keep in the fridge for about 6 weeks.

Apricots wrapped in bacon make a lovely accompaniment to roast turkey instead of sausages.

A lovely apricot glaze for your baked ham.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Apricot jam
  • 1 tsp of mustard powder.
  1. Mix the ingredients together then brush your ham before you bake it with the glaze and then brush with the remainder of the glaze about 20 minutes from the end of the cooking time.
  2. It makes a lovely ham taste even better.

Dipping sauce for coconut prawns or chicken.

  • ½ cup of apricot jam
  • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp horseradish

Just combine the ingredients and you have a lovely dipping sauce.

Pork Loin is a wonderful thing stuffed with a beautiful homemade stuffing.

Ingredients for Apricot stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp of minced or finely chopped garlic
  • 16 whole cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of minced fresh rosemary or snip with scissors
  • 16 dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Oil to cook garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to season

Let’s cook

  1. Cook the garlic cloves in oil until soft and lightly coloured, remove from the oil and retain the oil.
  2. Take your piece of pork loin and slit through the middle length wise so making a long pocket do not take it right to the end.
  3. With a brush coat the insides of the pocket with oil from the cooked garlic. Now the original recipe stated add everything in layers I found this humanely impossible so on my second attempt I mixed all the ingredients together using only 1 tbsp of the rosemary and stuffed the loin..my piece was about 1.5 kilos and I used the end of a plastic sauce bottle to push the stuffing to the end of the pork.
  4. Hubby then tied the pork loin together with kitchen string. I then brushed the outside with the remaining garlic oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper before roasting.

Enjoy!

Apricot Dumplings

My mum used to make apple dumplings and they were really lovely and I have happy thoughts when I think of those ….These Apricot ones now take first place as they are awesome… A recipe given to me by my Swiss friend who calls them Wachauer Aprikosennodel and they truly are delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of cold cooked potatoes
  • 3 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
  • 3/8ths cup of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 whole apricots
  • 12 lumps of sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups of bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt

Sauce ingredients:

  • 10 apricot halves
  • ¼ cup of apricot juice
  • ¼ cup of brandy

Let’s Cook!

  1. Grate the potatoes. Measure and sift flour. Measure the butter. Soak sugar lumps in brandy.
  2. Remove stone of whole apricots. Measure the breadcrumbs, sugar and brandy. Measure the ingredients for sauce. Mix flour with grated potato, add salt and egg yolk. Rub in butter and then turn dough out onto a floured board and knead.
  3. Press out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Place a lump of brandied sugar in each half apricot, cover with another apricot half. Cut dough into 4-inch squares. Place apricot in the centre and wrap dough around, squeezing edges of dough together.
  4. Trim off outside. Roll dumpling between palms of hands. Drop dumplings into a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Boil gently for 12 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Fry the bread crumbs with the sugar and 3 tablespoons fresh butter until crisp. Roll the dumplings in the bread crumbs and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place onto a heated serving dish.

To make the sauce:

  1. Place apricot halves with brandy and apricot juice into a blender and puree. Heat the sauce gently in a saucepan.
  2. Coat the dumplings with the apricot sauce. Serve the remaining sauce separately.

Enjoy!

Lastly some little  macaroons…

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup of apricot jam

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a food processor grind almond, sugar and salt (I leave mine a little coarse) add egg whites and vanilla then pulse until the mixture forms a ball.
  3. With wet hands as the mix is very sticky shape a level tbsp of the mix into balls and then make an indent in the centre of each ball with a moist finger.
  4. Bake until crackly and light golden approx 15 – 20 mins depending on your oven.
  5. Cool for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  6. Warm the jam over a low heat and then put a tsp of jam in the centre of each cookie. Leave to cool.

Enjoy!

As you can see in the hands of an expert, even the humble apricot acheives great things.. thank to Carol for all her efforts.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/