Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A Happy Harvest

A long overdue forage all of 400yards from my house has made me feel very blessed indeed.
I went with my partner with the intention of finding a few elderberries with which to make delicious cold -busting syrup (more of which anon) - maybe a few stray blackberries if we were lucky and this is what we gathered, leaving plenty for the birds and other wildlife who make the place home.

Some Rose hips - I'll show you what they became and how later

An abundance of Elderberries

Hawthorn Berries

 Beautiful Blackberries

and right at the end of our walk we found the most wonderful secret stash of lovely sloes ready for picking

They went straight into the freezer - all the better to yield their juices when payday comes and I can buy the necessary bottle of gin.
A generous harvest I'm sure you'll agree. So what did I do with all this stuff?

The Blackberries were easy - I filled a jar with the squashier ones, topped it up with cider vinegar, covered with a vinegar proof lid and labelled. In six weeks time I will have the most beautiful tasting vinegar which will be fabulous in a salad dressing or equally good  spooned into a cupful of hot water and drunk to fend off colds. The rest were instantly combined with some windfall apples given by my neighbour and made into a delicious crumble which is always a joy.

The Elderberries were painstakingly de- stalked  - I use a fork to do this.
There was enough to make a good few bottles of syrup - invaluable for sore throats and colds too. Either taken by the delicious spoonful or combined with just boiled water and sipped as a drink that beats those powdered over sweet cold & flu sachets by a mile.
John Gallagher from and Mountain Rose Herbs showed me how
The kitchen smelled divine by now.
As for the Hawthorns I tinctured some of them in high proof Vodka to make a wonderful heart tonic and a quick search for Hugh Fearnely -Whittingstall's Haw-Sin sauce recipe which, when my sister said, when she popped in to say hello, "Makes the kitchen smell like posh ketchup!"  The quantity in the recipe didn't yield much but what I did get bottled was very tasty indeed.

The rose hips became rose hip syrup with the aid of another useful and entertaining video

Good old rose hip syrup. Packed with Vitamin C and, as certain generations of British school children will tell you, the only thing that made school Rice and  Semolina puddings edible. Incidentally the darker bottles seen in this picture are filled with Elderberry syrup. If you've never made it I would say give it a go. it works as well with dried berries if you can't find fresh.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

I think I fixed it!

After an enthusiastic start to blogging my best laid plans were derailed by a series of trying events and an error on my page that I just couldn't fix. So I stopped blogging and was about to give the whole thing up as not being for me.
Today after way too long I am able to post again.
This certainly is cause for celebration and maybe even a relaunch.
So here's a few pictures of things I have made since I last wrote.

Here are my Bliss Bath Fizzers

They are made with Rose, Jasmine & Ylang Ylang essential oils and real flower petals, each has a whole rosebud inside.

And here are my Blossom Fizzers

See those beautiful orange Calendula flowers? I grew them and dried them myself and combined them with Neroli, Orange flower water, Ylang Ylang and Frankincense, which I always think of as "Dragonsense" ever since a colleague of mine told me that this was what he little boy insisted he was giving as a gift when he played a Wise Man in the school nativity. I bet that was a cool gift.

These are my Mmmassage Melts

I've been making these a while. I mould them in a silicon cupcake tray and the idea is that instead of a bottle of massage oil you use these little darlings, packed with shea & cocoa butters which respond to the warmth of the room & your body and melt on contact with your skin. Great for sharing.
However, happy customers have told me that they also work as an all over body moisturizer applied to damp skin straight after a bath or shower and recently I was thanked by a lady who has discovered that they work very well on the dry skin on her feet. I'm delighted to have this feedback and also to pass it on.

Likewise with the vegan friendly lip balm in Lime & Grapefruit or Mandarin flavour.

I now know - because you tell me, that as well as being a good all round lip balm it is good on those sore patches you get on your nose when you have a cold and... and...  believe it or not, it works as a cuticle cream too!
Now, I'm not going to ask what it is that compels Old Pit fans to be so innovative and clever as to make these discoveries but I'm delighted that you do - so keep them coming. Enquiring minds want to know...
There is more but it's late and besides, I'm excited to find out if this post is going to work so I'll leave it for another time, hopefully it won't be quite so long...