Saturday, 13 November 2010

Langtree Sinfonia

Langtree Sinfonia performed on Saturday evening at Wallingford in a church called St Mary le More. We have not played there before, and it was really nice venue. It is surprisingly modern inside, having recently been refurbished, and the lighting is excellent, given that there was plenty of light to read our music, but no glaring light fittings to distract people. The acoustic worked quite well and there was a really good ambience in the place.

The programme was good, with diverse pieces of the orchestral repertoire:

  • Dvořák - Czech Suite
  • Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, Soloist: Sharon Warnes
  • Haydn - Aria “On Mighty Pens” from The Creation, Soloist: Bethany Cox
  • Schubert - 2nd Symphony

The concert opened with the Czech Suite, five movements that have dance themes in them, with trumpets only in the final movement. This was followed by an excellent rendition of The Lark Ascending. The orchestra accompanied very well, supporting without overshadowing the soloist who played with tremendous feeling and skill. It worked really well in the intimate atmosphere of this small venue. Next came the soprano solo from The Creation, with Bethany singing with great expression and feeling. It was a beautiful performance. Finally, we performed the Schubert Symphony, and the trumpets could rejoin the orchestra having sat out for the quiet pieces.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday, having spent part of the afternoon rehearsing and preparing. I am looking forward to the Spring programme.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Carrot Pickle

Our local supermarket sold some Carrot Pickle, and it was really nice. Very spicy. Needless to say, when I went back to get some more, they had cased stocking it, and as it was their own brand there was no chance of getting some from anywhere else. Fortunately, I still had the jar with its list of ingredients. I looked up how to make some other pickles and chutneys that were similar and came up with this recipe, which I made this weekend:

1 kg carrots, chopped into short sticks
4 tbspns ground nut oil
3 tsbns black mustard seeds
1 star anise
2 tspns fenugreek seeds
6 allspice berries
2 tspns turmeric
250 g tamarind
5 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbspns tomato purée
750 ml malt vinegar
500 g muscavado sugar
250 g sultanas
1 tspn sea salt

Grind the fenugreek, star anise and allspice. Heat the oil until almost smoking hot, then add mustard seeds. Cook until they have all popped, then turn off heat. After it has cooled a little, add the chillies, garlic and turmeric, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomato purée and tamarind, and stir it in. Stir in the carrots, then add the vinegar, sugar, sultanas and salt. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for an hour or so until it is ready. Transfer to warmed jars and seal while hot. Makes six jars. Store it for two months before using it.

So, it is in the cupboard now, for the regulation two months, then we can try it. I hope it is at least as good as the Waitrose one.

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Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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