a glittering week

Slamseys gin at Christmasphoto: Claire Naylor


The week has passed in a blur of glitter, sparkly things and brown cardboard boxes as we’ve unpacked deliveries in preparation for the opening of the Christmas Shop in The Barley Barn. Most of the stock was ordered back in February, so there have been a few surprises that are mostly good but the odd one has resulted in an accusatory “Who on earth ordered that?” Mostly though, there has been glitter, which gets everywhere so that we look as though we’re just off to a 1970s disco with our sparkly faces and hair.

Unpacking has been interspersed with discussions about the Slamseys website. There has been much writing and rewriting, searching for photos, checking links and grappling with postage charges, but finally the new website has launched. You can check it out here. We’ve always used a website design company for our website and I think I’d probably go into meltdown if I had to design my own from scratch. Sadly, the price has risen considerably since we paid for our first website design with joints of pork back in 2004.

There have also been walnuts to harvest every day in a bid to outwit the squirrels. Open the airing cupboard door and you’ll find, not neatly folded clothes and linen, but baskets of walnuts gently drying out. I hope we don’t get a mouse in the house as it will make a bee line for the airing cupboard and think it’s in heaven.

wet walnuts

As a consequence, there has been much eating of walnuts recently. Fresh, wet walnuts are munched straight from the tree;  cream coloured and juicy, they fill the shells and are crunchy and mild tasting.

dried walnuts

Once dried, we pop open the shells with our hands and take out the slightly shrunken walnuts to eat or to cook with. There have been coffee and walnut biscuits, walnut and maple syrup steamed sponge pudding, walnuts in bread, pasta with walnuts … And rabbit with walnuts because Bill is in full rabbit catching mode. Yesterday he brought in seven, which is quite a lot of rabbit to deal with. We’re out for most of the weekend and what I’m looking forward to most of all is not that I won’t have to cook, but that I won’t have to eat bloomin’ rabbit.

35 thoughts on “a glittering week

  1. The Slamseys website is very good, Anne – clear, concise and attractive. I imagine it’s wonderful being part of a family team running such a diverse and creative organisation. I’ve never eaten a fresh walnut but I do love dried ones (and walnuts in cake, bread…). Not sure about the rabbits, though. Enjoy your rabbit-free meals!

    1. Thanks Sam. It is wonderful being part of a family team; we’re very lucky that everyone wants to work together. Just one more to entice home to work and we’ll all be here.

  2. Your photos are excellent, especially the one with the Slamsey bottle on it. Fresh walnuts are so much better than the ones you get in the markets. Have a wonderful rabbit free weekend .

    1. Darn it – that bottle photo isn’t mine! I should have credited it to the photographer but I don’t know who took it as it’s just one of a collection I found on various computers about the place.

  3. I have just had a quick look at your website Anne, I can imagine prices have soared, everything is the web nowadays. The links worked well for me. Good luck with it all, you did make me laugh to at the accusatory “who ordered….”

  4. Hi Anne, 7 Rabbits! Send Bill my way!! I have never had rabbit and walnut. I would be interested in how you make it. We have hundreds of rabbits on our block but I would be too nervous to eat them. They could have been poisoned or have a virus.

    1. If only I could post a dozen or so over! We’re pretty selective about the ones we eat. Any rabbit with any sort of cyst or milky or just doesn’t look right gets rejected. I tried your pot roast recipe the other day Glenda and will make that again. Very easy, very tasty.

  5. At least you don’t open your Christmas shop at the end of September like our local garden centre. Enjoy your weekend rabbit free meal. I will now go and have a look at your website.

  6. The website is great Anne – easy to navigate and looks really good. I like the idea of marmalade gin.. sounds like something for dunking toast in at breakfast.

    1. Marmalade Gin is one of my favourites. I’ve haven’t drunk it for breakfast yet but that’s not to say there won’t be a suitable occasion one day.

  7. What gorgeous photos of the walnuts Anne – very envious that you’re able to harvest them from your own tree. All the best with the Christmas selling season ahead, the website looks fabulous! M.xx

  8. Fresh walnuts are such a treat. I know a tree which I visit every year and collect my own for eating green and drying. Rabbit has also featured on my recipe repertoire. Who could forget eating wild catapulted rabbit or the rabbit stew we made in France when we had the choice of skinned or unskinned rabbit. The lady selling them held them aloft one in each hand. But since visiting Lundy Island after an outbreak of myxomatosis (induced I think to control an out of control rabbit population) I have been put off eating rabbit, which is a shame as they are very easy to trap on the allotment. I love your blog Anne, and what an enterprising team you are part of.

    1. We’re very careful about which rabbits we eat and Bill will often get half way through butchering one and throw it away because it’s not quite right. Did you catapult the rabbit?

  9. I cannot believe Christmas is so close Anne! Your walnuts looks spectacular, so much nicer than the often rancid ones I buy at the supermarket. Good luck with the rabbits x

    1. We’ve had a break from rabbits for a few days but I noticed a big bowl of rabbit joints in the fridge when I got in this evening. The walnuts are spectacular this year and we seem to have outwitted the squirrels a little.

  10. Hi Anne, Slamsey’s site is great. I like the sound of the iced plum gin. Your words about the walnuts made me think if watching Disney on a Sunday night and the chipmunks filled up hollow trees with nuts ( I think they were acorns though). Always fascinated me. Have you tried pickling them? Really nice. Christmas so soon……

    1. Iced plum gin is divine! I have pickled walnuts – usually at some time during Wimbledon – but we don’t eat many so I only do it every few years.

  11. We were gifted fresh walnuts in Spain – they’re so good and so different from the drier ones. We have almonds too from our own trees! And now I’m off to look at the website 🙂

      1. Mostly just peeled and toasted but we use them a lot to thicken sauces – fry a little stale bread in olive oil, then some garlic and a few almonds. Add saffron and a little of your cooking liquid and blitz with a hand blender and then pour into whatever you’re cooking – delicious!

    1. Just put the seam in the right part of your hand and it’s easy. Every now and then I get one that’s too hard to do so I just hit it with something heavy, which is so much easier than finding the nutcrackers.

Comments are closed.