It's been 6+ months since I posted anything on H&W and I've missed it. Tomber dans les pommes is a French expression that means to pass out and pommettes is French for crabapples. This is my play on words...
Last December I lost someone very dear to me, my friend Agnès. I met Agnès two years ago when we bought the cottage. She was my neighbour and closer in age to my mom but we became fast friends. Every time we would go up to the cottage I would see her and we would go for walks and talk.
Last December she lost her long battle with breast cancer. I couldn't believe it. Just months earlier she looked fine! I felt I needed more time....we hadn't talked enough! I went to see her at the palliative care center hours before she passed; it was more than I could handle. We received an e-mail a few hours later notifying us of her passing...I was devastated.
I have been grieving ever since.
My close friends were the first to notice. I "shut down" and retreated into myself. They were all gentle and understanding...they kept their distance. I knew they were there for me and that helped. Other minor aggravations seemed to take on a life of their own piling one on top of the other. I still cooked and baked but not as much. Joy was elusive.
In the last few months my best friend/husband and my close friends started nudging me. You haven't posted in a while said Sophie; it used to make you happy. She was right. I started to think about what my first blog post, in what felt like a century, would be. I had made so many wonderful things in the last 6 months...I had posted pictures of most on Instagram and Facebook, but I didn't want to write about them...not just yet.
Last weekend we spent it at the cottage for my birthday. On Saturday another wonderful neighbour of mine, Huguette, called me to say she had crabapples for me to make jelly with. I'd never made crabapple jelly. I was happy for the challenge.
When we got home I set out to make the jelly. FYI it's a lot of work. You need to wash and sterilize the jars, clean and cut every single teeny tiny crabapple, boil and let drain through cheesecloth overnight. The next day you have to boil the clear liquid with added sugar until you hit 106°F and pray to God there was enough pectin for it to set.
As I am boiling the liquid for the final process I realize my candy thermometer is broken...PERFECT!! I cross my fingers and boil it "enough" hoping it'll set. It didn't. I tried the liquid and it tasted FANTASTIC. I was soooooo disappointed it didn't set that I researched how to fix it. I tried using gelatin on half the batch to see if it would set but all I managed to do was make it cloudy.
At first I chalked this up as a big fat failure but I knew the crabapple syrup I did make was absolutely delicious; I could add it to a salad dressing or use as a coulis. Not a total failure.
It's also what inspired me to write again. Funny how this chapter of my life started with one very dear cottage friend and ends with another. No more funk just fun...in memory of a woman I greatly respected and who enjoyed life.