Sunday, 30 October 2011

Nature's blessings


Here are some of my favourite photos from 2011 so far ~~~

Black swans at Fairburn Ings, Yorkshire

Bee on blackberry blossom

Fungi in the woods

Very large fungi in the lane at the top of my road

Cricket in a poppy field

Bee on blossom

Fungi in woods in Gloucestershire

Fungi on Crook Peak, Somerset

Fungi on Crook Peak, Somerset

Fungi on Crook Peak, Somerset

Fungi on Crook Peak, Somerset

Fungi in woods in Yorkshire

Beetle on grass in Gloucestershire

Some kind of monster fly in the garden

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Rosehip Syrup

1kg rosehips
1kg caster sugar
a big sieve and a clean cotton cloth


This recipe takes a while to complete but it is a delicious syrup full
of vitamin C when it is finish. It can be used as a topping for ice
cream or waffles etc or can be diluted to make a soft drink.

Wash and chop the rosehips.
Put 2 litres of water in a big pan and bring to the boil.
Add the chopped rosehips and bring back to the boil.
Remove from the heat and cover and leave to infuse for half an hour.
Give it a stir from time to time.
Line a sieve or colander with muslin or use the very strong kitchen towel I mentioned in the Sloe Gin recipe.
Strain the rosehip mixture over a very large bowl.
Set the strained juice aside and put the rosehip pulp back to the pan, along with another litre of boiling water.
Bring back to the boil.
Remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before.
Throw away the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan.
Bring back to the boil. Continue to boil until the volume has decreased by half.
Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
Return to the heat again and bring to the boil. Boil hard for five minutes.
Pour into warmed, sterilised jars or bottles and seal.

The cooling syrup will seal the jars totally…. like the ones you buy at the shop

Monday, 10 October 2011

Crab Apple and Elder Jelly

1 lb crab apples
half a pound of elderberries
1 lb sugar

wash fruit and remove stalks..... cut crab apples in half
put in large pan and cover with boiling water
boil for 30 mins
squash the fruit against the sides of the pan when it is soft while boiling
strain through a sieve lined with strong kitchen towel or use muslin

boil the juice and add the sugar
test by putting a teaspoonful on a cold plate ... leave for 5 mins .... and push with spoon or finger... if the jelly 'crinkles' it is at setting point

leave for 15 mins...... then pour into warm sterilised jars.... place lid

because of all the pectin in the crab apples there is no need to add any extra

hope you like it :-)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

my religion

I just found this lovely quote from The Dalai Lama

"This is my simple religion
There is no need for temples,
no need for complicated philosophies.
My brain and my heart are my temples,
my philosophy is kindness".

Isn't that beautiful.  I will take that on as my mantra.

Could you ever meet a more amazing soul than the 14th Dalai Lama (real name Tenzin Gyatso)

Elderberry Vodka

this year I've made 5 litre Kilner jars of it ~ this should make around 3 litres of drink.
here is my recipe

1 pound of elderberries
1 bottle of vodka
half a pound of sugar

take all the berries off the stalks as the stalks are very bitter
wash berries
place in a kilner jar
add sugar and vodka to jar
fasten the lid down

place in a dark cupboard
shake once a week for a couple of months
strain and bottle in clean glass bottles
try to leave it for 2 years before drinking.... although I found it very palitable as soon as it was strained and bottled lol

tastes like port wine :-)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sparkling and Blooming in October?

We have had the most glorious weather all week here in North Yorkshire, with temperatures reaching almost 29C (unheard of for summer ... never mind late September!).  With weather too lovely for sitting indoors I've been working on a piece of crochet seen on the lovely Lucy's blog Attic24.  I'm new to crochet and have only crocheted square and oblong stuff.  But when I saw this Blooming Flower cushion cover I just HAD to give it a try.  Lucy's instructions are so clear that even I managed to work it out lol. 

Of course it needs a light pressing.... but I am so thrilled with it!!!  I've almost completed the back, which doesn't have the petals.  When I've finished it I'll post a picture as this one doesn't do it justice at all.  Take a look at Lucy's lovely creation here.

The week was rounded off really well with a weekend at Gorton Monastery Mind Body Spirit Fair organised by BSSK.  This takes place in Manchester..... so it is a two-hour drive for me but it was broken up by driving over to a friend's house first (about an hour away) and then driving together, over to Manchester. 

We did several workshops on the Saturday but didn't have much time for looking around the venue or talking to people.  But we found time to sit outside and eat lunch in temperatures of 29C (in October??)..... while listening to Terry Oldfield and his wife Soraya produce some wonderful music.

I stayed overnight with my friend and then we decided to go back to Gorton again Sunday for a mooch around.  My friend spotted this quartz crystal self-healed cluster.... and bought it for me.

It is just so gorgeous and I can't help looking at it all the time :-)

Here is a close-up of the fabulous self-healed part of the crystal.

I have such lovely friends.  I am so blessed.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Sloe Gin

1lb sloes or 450g
8oz caster sugar or 225g
1 litre gin (just cheap stuff is best)


1. First the really boring bit:- Use a clean pin or needle to prick the skin of the sloes all over, and put in a large sterilised jar. Told you it was the boring bit (but it is worth it).  A friend of mine washes them and then puts the sloes in the freezer overnight.... she swears that it improves the taste as well as saves the boring pricking of each berry.

2. Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.

3. Store in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry and shake every other day for one week. Then shake once a week for two months.

That is it!!! Easy eh? just save your empty gin bottle and strain the sloe gin into a jug and fill the empty bottle ;-) .... I use that really strong kitchen roll and a sieve to strain...... you know the one that changed its name recently showing you just how strong paper can be. or.... if you are posh you might have some muslin

Some say that the sloe gin will now be ready to drink, but I think it improves a lot with keeping for a year….. if you can wait that long! I am drinking sloe gin from 2007 sloes and it is wonderful.

I’ve tried making it with vodka…. but gin is better.