Category: Photography

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Red Sun @ 3PM

Red Sun, Photo by PH Morton

Red Sun @ 3PM

It was a strange day today.  At around 3oClock in the afternoon, the sky turned dirty yellow or has that sepia tone and then red.  The atmosphere was just like the film or television science fiction which came to life.

Apparently this phenomenon was due to Hurricane Ophelia, which sadly battered the Republic of Ireland leaving at least three people dead

The MetOffice has said that the red colouring of the sky is due to the dust being pulled by the strong gust of wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.

The photo, by the way, was taken by Peter from our back garden here in North London.  The sky was red and Peter just managed to take a small sunspot & flare coming off sun’s limb at 3 o’clock position (on the sun).

It’s beautiful but rather disconcerting as it reminded me of apocalyptic films often seen of films and television.

Here Comes October!

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Here Comes October!

The month of October is harvest time.  It is Harvest Festival.

I can see glorious amounts of pumpkins and squashes rolling into the supermarkets ready for end of the month’s Halloween.

October also is the penultimate month for pay-days before Christmas!

October is when Christmas shopping starts to really rev up,.

The above photo shows a beautiful clematis, which will soon stop flowering and will be hibernating for the autumn and winter and will come to life again in the spring.  Blooming its mighty flowers, ready to delight the senses once again.

October heralds the last of the summer days into autumn.  The orange days of the year are upon us.

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

These photos were taken at the Ferdinand Marcos Ancestral House Museum, which is located at Batac Ilocos Norte.

The above ‘banga’ can be found in the house kitchen.

Having lived in London for several decades, walking through Marcos’s house is like going back in time, especially around the kitchen.  I suddenly recognised things that I have forgotten.

If you happen to be in Vigan and wanted to have a trip on memory lane, that is if you are as ancient as me, or curious about Ilocano household before the 90s, then I would recommend a visit to this museum.

….

We used banga to cook our viand or ‘abraw’ when we were still living in Marag.  The conical shape of banga sit perfectly on the 3 prong terracotta stove which uses firewood.

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

Kangkong, photo by JMorton

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

I love kangkong, or water spinach as its English given name.

Kangkong is a green leafy aquatic vegetables which is rich in vitamins and nutrients.  They have a long slender leaves attached to a hollow tube stem which is crunchy or there is bite to it. Yummy

They usually grow in anything watery plot, in fields, swamp, lakes, river or even in bogs.

I remember that they grew near a dyke in the middle of your rice field when we were still living in Marag.

Kangkong can grow rather vigorously and needed a good trim to prevent them overpowering the water surface.  Good thing they are so delicious.

I remember going into the waist-high water in our field to gather the kangkong sprout.  I almost had a near panic attack after a carabao leech decided to attached itself to my stomach. It took ages to remove it and it seems the more you pull at it the longer it gets.  That still gives me nightmare to date.

My father did smoke whenever he plowed the field.  He would use the burning ember of the cigarette to unhook any pesky leech.

Oops, back to kangkong, they are delicious in sinigang as were as blanch and made into a salad.

Liturgical Comb

Liturgical Comb, photo by JMorton


Liturgical comb, a lovely name given to the more common or prosaic name of nits (lice) comb, used to comb out head lice.

Well that was how the suyod, we used in the Marag, Philippines looked like.  🙂

The above liturgical comb photo was taken by yours truly at the antiquity at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It looks like it was carved from a piece of ivory. The carving of nativity and death of Christ was so intricate.  An amazing work of art.

Pisces Major by Jesse Watkins

Pisces, photo by PH Morton

Pisces @ RFH, photo by PH Morton

Pisces Major by Jesse Watkins

This huge silver sculpture apparently called Pisces Major was a piece by a British sculpture, Jesse Watkins (1899-1980).

Pisces Major is situated in front of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

It looks beautiful during the day as the sun catches its shiny silvery surface.  It is even more breath-taking when night falls as light dances, projecting many colours into the sculpture.

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