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Archive for the ‘brewing’ category

Witches Brew

Hello Everyone :) How are you all on this Autumnal day? I am doing great, and believe it or not, I am loving this cold, wet and windy weather, I absolutely love it when the Seasons change and you can really see and feel the change, and I love Autumn and Winter, they are my favourite Seasons, so cosy and homely, spending your evenings at home, by the fire, crocheting, knitting or sewing, the smell of home baking wafting through the house, planning Christmas, it is wonderful :)

Anyway, on with my post :) Remember in my last post I said I was going to crochet a Halloween Witch, to sit on our hearth, or somewhere in our sitting room come Halloween, well I did and I love her, may I introduce Winny, The Friendly Halloween Witch :)

I love her stripy stockings and blue hair :) As you can see, she is a friendly witch with a cute smiley face :)

And she loves the warmth, sitting by the fire….

or even on the fire..

Someone saw the above photo on FB, and asked why was she on the fire, lol, I can not imagine what he thought I was trying to convey by this photo, lol, but the truth is I just liked the fire as a background, made it more cosy looking :)

So that is Winny, and she has been put away until Halloween, when she will be making her re-appearance and sitting warming her backside by the fire again, lol :)

Now to the Witches Brew part of this post :) John and I went out and collected an absolute load of elderberries last week, and we have turned them into elderberry wine, which should be ready by Christmas :) I do not drink, so I will not be sampling this, but we have made it before, and everyone who tried it liked it, so we have made more. I may not drink, but for some strange reason I love to make wine, especially with things from the hedgerows :)

Here is the bag of elderberries (about 4lb) with Jack The Cat guarding them :)

And here is my other bag, which I was gradually filling up with the empty stalks as I picked the elderberries off

And to pick the elderberries off the stalks, you need a very high tech piece of equipment

A fork, lol :) I have found this is the best, and quickest way to de-stalk the elderberries, though saying that, it still took me 3 hours to de-stalk 4lb of them!

The recipe required 3lb, so the pound that was left over, I have frozen to use with other things, in the next piccie is the left over elderberries and the book from which we took the recipe from :)

Now that all had been de-stalked, it was time to crush them in the food processor, to release all those lovely juices…

and put the sugar syrup on to boil

once all the elderberries were crushed, we had to boil them up with water

isn’t the colour glorious!

let it cool, add the yeast and sugar syrup and leave it to ferment for a few days. After a few days, it was ready to strain

and to add more sugar syrup to it, then rack it, and leave it until it is all clear and lovely :)

On the day we racked our elderberry, we also bottled our Red Clover Wine, which will be ready to drink very soon…

I love the label we made :)

I have also crocheted 2 more Jack O Lanterns

and I have crocheted a baby blanket, in pink and cream stripes, with a deep picot edge, for our great niece who is due to be born early December, but I have not took photos of that yet, and I am also crocheting a little pink teddy bear for our great nice too :)

Of my Halloween crochet, I have now got some better photos of the things I have made, so I thought I would share them with you :)

I’ll be spending the rest of the day doing the washing, putting clean sheets on the bed, along with an extra crochet top blanket, as it is chilly on a night now, and crocheting the teddy bear :)

Thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving your wonderful comments which I love reading :)

Take care everyone

Bye for now :) :) :) :)

A Food Post

This has been a busy few weeks :) I have been baking, jam making, gardening, doing housework, crocheting, shopping, all kinds really, lol, and I have a lot of photos to show it all, well most, of the things I have been doing, and I do hope you enjoy :)

Like I said, I have been doing a lot of baking, and took pictures when I remembered too, of the things I have baked. I do love to bake, something about it makes me feel so relaxed, so womanly, so wifely, I love it :) And I adore the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through our home, a smell you can not quite beat with anything else :)

Anyway, here are some of the things I have baked :) I did gather our gooseberries from our one year old gooseberry bush and made a crumble with them, served with custard, for John, myself, and Johns parents when they were here, I remembered to take photos of the gooseberries, but not the finished crumble, silly me :)

This is the first time I have tried gooseberries and I love them! Hopefully next year our bush will yield a bigger crop :)

I have done a lot of first times with my baking recently, I made and tried banana bread for the first time..

and enjoyed it :)

I baked and ate kiwi fruit cake and strawberry yoghurt cake for the first time…

(kiwi cake, with kiwi purée on top)

(yoghurt cake)

and did not like them at all, I will not be baking these again! But you live and learn :)

And I have returned to some of my old faithfuls, recipes I know hubby and I like, Eves Pudding, mmmmmm!!! :)

Made with delicious Bramley Apples

Topped with a sponge cake mixture…

Baked until golden brown (please excuse the stab marks, I was testing to see if it was cooked and only had a sharp knife to hand, lol :) )

And served…

With lashings of home made custard

Delicious!!!  I also baked, or should I say steamed, home made ginger puddings, ( I made one for John and myself one day, and 2 for for when Johns parents were here another day, but only took photos of the one :) ) mmmm!!!!!

(more of whats cooking in the other pan later :) )

I have also baked an apple crumble, but forgot to take photos of that, lol :)

Ok, so thats the baking side of this post out of the way, let me see, what else have I been doing :)

John and I went foraging, we love foraging, it really is loads of fun, and the amount of things you can forage and make into something else really is wonderful! We picked elderflowers to make into jam….

the recipe said to leave them to steep for 3 days, which I did, then the day came to make the jam, and the elderflowers looked and smelled vile!!!!

They smelled of rotten eggs!!! Yak, so they were quickly put in the outside bin, and the jam was forgotten about :)

We went foraging again, once on Monday and once on Tuesday, to collect red clover flowers. The reason we had to collect the flowers in 2 days was because on Monday, we were caught in a huge downpour!!! The Heavens opened, the rain was torrential, and there we were, stuck in a park, collecting red clover, lol. We stuck it for as long as we could, but we were drenched in minutes, so we ran from the park, and then walked as fast as we could home. By the time we got home, we were drenched to the skin, literally! It was a hot bath, warm pyjamas ( not for John, only I wear pj’s, lol )  and hot cups of tea for us when we returned home, l0l :) We returned to the park the next day, and thankfully it did not rain, and collected our red clover, to make into delicious wine :)

(our first days gathering)

(both days together )

The demijohn you see in the background has a grape wine on the go :)

We added other delicious ingredients to the flowers,

and have to leave it to stand for a week, stirring daily, then we add the sugar, put in the demijohn and leave it to ferment. I am pleased to say this does smell delicious,  unlike the steeped elderflowers, lol :)

Whilst out foraging, I kept my eyes open for wild roses, but only spotted some in bud, so we took cuttings and they are now standing in water, and when they open I will make wild rose petal jam with them, but for now I went into the garden, cut some of our roses and made garden rose petal jam with them :) And I have to say, I really enjoyed doing it, such an oldfashioned, romantic thing to make :)

I washed the rose petals, removed the white heel from them, then I put them in a pan to simmer for 15 mins

The rose petals completely lost their colour, but the smell was divine, a heady fragrance of roses filled the house :) I then strained the liquid..

Left it to cool, then filled an oven dish with the sugar, to warm in the oven before putting the liquid and sugar in the pan…

Whilst the sugar was warming in the bottom oven, and the jar was sterilizing in the top oven on a very low heat, I added lemon juice to the  murky liquid of the rose petals, and a magical thing happened, the liquid turned into a beautiful reddy pink colour!!!!!

I returned the liquid to the pan, added the sugar, brought it to the boil, and boiled for about 15 mins..

and on the hob next to it, the ginger steamed pudding was dancing around the pan :)

Then, after about 15 mins, it was ready, and I was soooooo excited!!!! This is the first time I have made proper jam, I tried about 3 years ago to make blackberry jam, but boiled it for too long, and ended up with boiled blackberry sweets, lol :)

Anyway, here is the finished garden rose petal jam :)

I love the colour, and I love how it is so clear too :) It tastes and smells like honey, absolutely delicious!!!! I shall be spreading this on toast, adding it to porridge, and sandwiching it between cakes, lovely :)

Phew, so thats the food part of the blog done, lol :) Other things I have been doing include, removing the duvet from ou bed, packing it away in the cupboard, and putting on our bed a thin quilt, and my cluster stitch blanket, as the nights have been so hot, but now it has turned cool again, so I shall be bringing the duvet back out of the cupboard, and putting it back on the bed, perhaps along with extra blankets! This is a terrible summer we are having isn’t it!

I have been reading my favourite magazines….

and went shopping for cleaning tools with a difference, they are covered in roses!!!! I adore these :) ..

(the w.u liquid bottle my dad gave me, as it is the Royal wedding one, lol :) )

It is an absolute delight to clean using these things!!! :)

Right, I am going to do the housework now, change the bedding, hang our lavender from the garden up in bunches to dry, have a bath, then relax, lol :)

I hope you all have a wonderful day, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and leave your wonderful comments :)

Take care everyone, bye for now :) :) :) :)