Orange and black

No, I’m not planning a Halloween quilt. Bear with me.

First, the orange. I’ve been given a shopping bag full of beautiful cumquats (or kumquats, if you prefer). The neighbours have a tree full of these tiny orange jewels, and the smell of them is intoxicating. I’ve always loved cumquat marmalade, about the only marmalade I do love, and I’d like to make some. But oh, the labour of cutting up and de-pithing and -pipping these tiny things.

They really are very, very, very small. So my question is, does any-one have a recipe for cumquat marmalade that doesn’t involve picking all that stuff out? Can I just cut up the fruit, leave in the pips and skim them off at the end? I’ll do it ‘properly’ if I have to, but the idea of standing at the bench for what will probably be hours is not enticing.

And now for a bit of black. His Lordship the Mouse is settling in nicely. We have the routine established, and it involves me getting up sharpish at 6am to give him breakfast.

I’d sleep in if I could, but a cold wet nose in the ear is a marvellous alarm clock. After he’s engulfed his breakfast, I let him out to, um, commune with nature for a minute or two, after which he comes screeching back up the back yard at greyhound slow gallop, and then he goes back to bed (his bed) for another hour or so while I catch up with emails and the blog. At 7am, I shower, dress, make the Husband’s sandwich with ‘help’ from Mouse, and around 8am I get a call to say the Husband is 20 minutes away, so it’s time to clip on Mouse’s harness and lead, pocket some treats and the zapper for the garage door, and off we go. Mouse is now used to Big Girl the truck, so we hand over the sandwich when the Husband pulls up at the bottom of the hill, and then go for a walk so he can check out all the smells and disdainfully ignore all the dogs stuck in houses and yards who bark at him as we pass.

And then he spends most of the rest of the day sleeping. And yes, he does ‘roach’, or sleep with all his legs in the air…

63 thoughts on “Orange and black

  1. Sweet boy! He looks so relaxed. What a wonderful home he has!

  2. Tis the season… I’ve been fending off offers of cumquats accompanied by suggestions to make cumquat chutney… and while much appreciated I’m busy with non-kitcheny things at the moment and can’t find a recipe where they don’t need to at least be cut in half… not to mention the dreaded jar sterilising etc.
    You and Mouse have got it sorted… makes me very happy ♡

    • katechiconi says:

      I think cutting is the bare minimum to get at the juice and make the pectin in the pips and pith accessible. I just couldn’t see myself standing there picking everything over…. But I’ll probably make at least some. I sterilise my jars by running them in a hot wash through the dishwasher – which requires a dishwasher, of course….

  3. Good morning my friend and Mouse …. lovely when routine has been established in a household. I find it hilarious the way dogs sleep with their legs in the air … my favourite memory is of my boy sleeping on a bench in the pergola and forgetting he’s on a bench and turning onto his back and rolling off … as you know I can see everything from my kitchen window & the hilarious part is when he falls off he looks around to see how this has happened and it honestly looks like he’s looking around to see if anyone has noticed 😄 I have laughed so hard so many times in the last few years and now that my Timmy is a ripe young age of 14 he doesn’t climb up on that bench anymore but spends most of his days curled up in his bed inside the house with me 😍

  4. Sandy says:

    My mom made Kumquat Marmalade when I was little but I have never tried it. My memory says she halved or quartered them.

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t mind cutting them up, it’s picking out all the pith in the middle and removing the pips that would be very laborious. I’ll keep searching.

      • Sandy says:

        I suspect that the pips which are tiny will float to the top when you boil it and be able to be skimmed off with the foam. I would be tempted to boil really well and make lots of foam. Lol I am positive she didn’t remove the pith fwiw…….that would be getting rid of half the kumquat…..

      • katechiconi says:

        Elizabeth below has emailed me a really easy and straightforward recipe for cumquat jelly, which means halving, cooking long and slow, straining out the juice and then adding sugar to that and cooking some more till it reaches setting point. No fiddling about, and a beautiful clear orange jelly. I’ll be starting with that one and only if not successful will I move on to others. I knew it was worth asking everyone!

  5. Can’t help with the kumquats. Love that Sir Mouse sleeps with his belly exposed and his legs in the air – a sure sign that he feels completely at ease ❤ Isn't it grand how having a pup gets us up and going every single morning – no slothing here!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Some greyhounds can sleep with their legs straight up in the air, it looks so uncomfortable, but they’re dead to the world. I’m waiting for that to happen with my camera close at hand!

  6. Lynda says:

    I seem to remember eating them whole and finding that the peels with pith were sweet and the actual fruit was VERY sour. I know nothing from nothing about making marmalade, but it seems like messing with the pith really would not be worth the effort for these gems. (This guy sliced his into wafers and I liked the look of it. And now you have me wishing I had a source for kumquats!

    About the black… I love that dog!

  7. Elizabeth Carte says:

    I have a recipe for Cumquat jelly which requires no chopping or removing of pips by hand. If you send me your email I will send to you as it is a foolscap page size.

  8. nanacathy2 says:

    You seem to have established a super routine there. A dog needs to air his bits!

    • katechiconi says:

      Greyhounds apparently have super-flexible spines – you should see some of the positions he sleeps in, and wakes up quite comfortable and ready to go.

  9. tialys says:

    6 a.m.!! I’ve gone off him a bit now 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m going to try and slowly shift it forward… but he was being got up for exercise at 4am in the racing kennel, so I should be grateful to his foster-mum for bringing it forward this much!

      • tialys says:

        I think it could be done. When my old boy Taz was still with us he was getting me – and the other dogs – up very early in the mornings because he would wake up and, having gone blind, didn’t know whether it was morning or night and, having also gone a bit senile, not really caring. Now he’s gone over the Rainbow Bridge I have managed to convince the other two that 8 a.m. is a decent enough hour to wake me up.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m hoping a tiny lag of a few minutes each day will let us advance the time. But actually, I don’t mind 6am *too* much, it lets me get him sorted before the sandwich run is upon us.

  10. KerryCan says:

    Oh, that dog! All legs and snout. He is ready super-relaxed in his new palace, I can see!

    • katechiconi says:

      We are yet to see some of the truly relaxed behaviours we’ve learned about, but it’s true, he’s already very settled considering how short a time he’s been with us.

  11. claire93 says:

    our Gibbs, though not a greyhound, also sleeps on his back with legs in the air, unashamedly exposing all his “bits”.

  12. kymlucas says:

    Love the photo of Mouse sleeping with legs in the air. Sounds like a delightful routine. And I know I would never have to patience to de-pith kumquats. Good luck with the jam.

  13. Steph says:

    We call Mouse’s pose “insulting the angels”! Shinee Whippet is good at it too. Best of luck with the marmalade!

    • katechiconi says:

      Just now he has brought his bony self into the bedroom and is occupying at least a third of the bed without shame or apology. I will count myself lucky to have any room at all once the Husband has gone to work… it’s those long supermodel legs of his.

  14. I am so glad you got Mouse ~ Sounds like he is going to be a great companion and add lots of joy to your home … hugs

  15. Terri says:

    It looks like Mouse has settled in so nicely. Too funny, the roach pose. I never heard that name before or Steph’s. He is such a beautiful dog. I have been puppy sitting my sister’s dog for the week. I had forgotten how much personality dogs have. I’ve had cats for the last 40 years and last year I had to find a new home for my last one because of health issues. Now I’m able to have a pet again and I’m thinking I may get a dog. Good luck with the cumquat marmalade.

    • katechiconi says:

      He really is beautiful, but he’s quite modest about it, no diva behaviour. For quiet, gentle, docile and affectionate dogs who don’t shed or need lots of exercise, you can’t beat a greyhound, I think…

  16. Dayphoto says:

    I love kumquats! YUMM! And I ADORE that beautiful black MOUSE

  17. Glad to hear that Mouse has found it so easy to train you… I’m sure he thinks you are a very good girl.
    I’d give the pip skimming at the end a go with the cumquats… even if you leave a few in, they will be easy enough to remove when you’re spreading it on your toast.

    • katechiconi says:

      Slight change of plan with the cumquats; I’m going to make jelly rather than marmalade, which removes the whole issue of fiddling about. You just cut each fruit in half and that’s the extent of it. Mouse considers this a reasonable plan, as it leaves me more time to give him strokies…

  18. anne54 says:

    Obviously any food is Mouse’s favourite, even cumquats! I am so pleased he has brought so much joy to your house already.

    • katechiconi says:

      I haven’t offered him anything ‘human’, as I don’t want him to start begging or expecting to be fed from the table or our plates, but he has quite varied tastes – one of his favourite snacks is carrot sticks. I doubt he’d enjoy cumquats, and I really don’t want him anywhere around where I’m working with boiling hot jam! One of my favourite moments so far was him doing ‘zoomies’ around the back yard this morning, charging around at top speed in sheer joie de vivre, ears cocked and tongue hanging out.

  19. What a lovely, Mouse-happy routine. And yes to your jelly plan, sounds very wise.

    • katechiconi says:

      Mouse is definitely happy with routine, especially when it involves being fed. The jelly has dripped overnight, and I shall finish the process today. Cumquats (or at least these cumquats) aren’t very juicy so it’ll make less jelly than other fruit, but it should be intense!

  20. I’m going to sleep with a smile tonight seeing how you two are training each other so well. Does my heart good to see a happy dog and a happy family together.

  21. rutigt says:

    We always said Bobbo looked like a skeleton in the dessert when he was sleeping. All four legs up in the air!

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