Astbury Women’s Institute.

Our October meeting was held on the 4th and Margaret Pearson welcomed us all in and we went straight into
song with Jerusalem as usual.
A good turnout of close to 40 members congratulated all who received Birthday Buttonholes made by Sheelagh Steele and they included Cynthia Garside, Val Gordon and Sandra Collins. Congratulations and a special Bouquet went to Yvonne Walker as she and her husband had celebrated their Golden Wedding.
Last meeting’s minutes were read followed by Catherine Pedley running through the financials. Last month also saw Astbury WI take part in the WI Quiz and everyone had a great time, although we didn’t win.
A day trip to Liverpool has been planned for 8th November: the coach will leave at 9.15 from Astbury Village Hall seats are being booked up. There is also a Coach Trip planned to Chester Cathedral on 6th December and a shopping trip for those who wish to do some Christmas shopping. Names were being placed on a list for this popular
On 10th December there is the Annual Carol Service which will be held at Swettenham Church at 2.00 pm, followed by coffee and mince pies. It is a lovely start to the festive period.
29th November will be our Christmas Party night which is being held at Congleton Golf Club and will be superb festive fair – turkey and all the trimmings, plus entertainment from ‘The Songsters’. This event has
been fully supported for the last few years and everyone looks forward to putting on their finery and having a good evening and natter and some dancing.
Our Speakers were Tom and Lynne Morrison from Berry Fresh Bakery in Malpas who came to speak to us about how they started in business and now make superb chutneys, jams & marmalades. A very interesting series of events that led up to the couple running their own business had started out with Lynn loving baking, and making her first Victoria
Sponge at the age of 7 . . . later on Lynn went on to say that when she was made redundant from her job she started selling cakes and cup cakes Tom her husband wanting to help said, ‘ What can I do to help?’
He started to make jam so the jam and cake seemed to go together and that’s how it all started. Tom loves to make traditional flavours but has since branched out making rhubarb & raspberry jam and he also makes several different
types of chutney.
He went on to give some interesting facts about jams – the earliest recipes can be found in ‘Culinary Matters’ dating back to the 1st Century in Rome; Joan of Arc always ate quince jam before a battle, as it was said to give her courage; Marie Curie not only investigated radioactivity but also experimented making jam in her spare time; no history of jam would be complete without mentioning the role of the WI in the First World War in food production and in particular preserving jam when Women’s Institutes across the country were allocated sugar by the Board Of Agriculture to preserve fruit.
Jam versus marmalade . . . the differences lie in the amount of sugar added. Jam has whole fruit or fruit pieces whereas marmalade fruit is passed through a sieve or crushed. UK marmalade is citrus fruit; jam is any other fruit.
Berry Fresh Bakery went on to tell us that they make over 40 types of flavours of jams etc. and sell them mainly at food festivals and the local Treacle Market in Macclesfield and specialist farm food outlets, but not shops. Tom makes approximately a dozen jars each time he makes jam.
The talk was wonderful to listen to and afterwards we all enjoyed tasting the jam, marmalade & chutney. Glenys Whiston gave the vote of thanks and mentioned that the talk had evoked childhood memories from the past when perhaps most of us picked blackberries in hedgerows when we were young.
Our competition was a jar of chutney and the winner was Kathleen Knowles. The Raffle was drawn and then God save the Queen was sung before everyone left for home.
Our next meeting will be on 1st November and it will be our AGM plus pie and pea supper. We welcome old and new members: if you are interested in joining Astbury WI either pop along to our monthly meetings or get in touch on 07769 933887.
Kate Burrow