Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Following on from Yesterday

Several people asked about the Cider Vinegar recipe. First I have to say I've never tried it before so have no idea if it will work or not.
It comes from this book

The Recipe

This was a messy job, seemed to end up with bits of apple everywhere!

I started of by taking out the cores and pips and chopping, then put the bits through the grater on the food processor and then into the liquidizer jug and finally into the straining bag.
I left it to drip then squeezed out as much juice as possible.

 Poured the juice into a big kilner jar added a couple of spoons full of the pulp and then a sachet of cider yeast. Which said "sprinkle on top leave 15 minutes and then stir".

Then Wait and see what happens.

I took a photo of the fruit cakes yesterday and forgot to add it to the blog post so here they are, looking and tasting good.
I'll add the recipe to the separate recipe page.

And while finding this photo, I also found a photo of my Big Spend at a car boot sale last Saturday, a total of £1.20 for 3 childrens activity books to put away for later and two small lock and lock storage tubs which I thought would do for storing a half onion in the fridge - instead of wrapping with cling film

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

This Week

I'm back to writing lists to try and remember all the things I want to do.

Picking up apples
Those windy days last week didn't do the apples much good at all. I've already picked up lots of cooking apples, peeled and sliced and cut off the bruises, dipped them in salt water and put 3 big bags full into the freezer.

A job for today is starting to make cider vinegar
Also using windfalls with the bruises cut off - a mix of eating and cooking apples

Yesterday I made fruit cakes
 I like fruit cake to be light and soft, Colin liked fruit cake to be firm and solid. The Victorian Christmas cake recipe on the separate recipe page is what I used to make for Christmas and with less fruit for the rest of the year and it's quite a heavy cake. So I tried a new recipe that I'd photocopied from somewhere sometime. I offered youngest daughter a piece when she was here and she knew straight away that it wasn't the usual fruit cake  and said it tasted like a shop one and that's what I prefer.
This amount is 1½ the recipe and makes 2 loaf fruit cakes (so I could use my loaf-tin liners prize for the cake I entered in the show in August!)
Quick and Easy Fruit Cake
12oz softened butter (I used Stork for cakes)
12oz dark muscovado sugar
1½ tablespoons black treacle
4 large eggs
12oz SR flour
3tsp mixed spice
2 tsp baking powder

Mix all the above together then fold in 3 grated eating apples and 15 oz mixed cherries and sultanas,
Divide into 2  loaf tins and bake in a preheated oven  for about an hour at Gas 4 ( 160 ° C fan oven) until a skewer comes out clean.
Freezes well.

I must cut back the lavender

There are 3 indoor  hyacinth bulbs that need planting

I bought some ericaceous  compost to top up the Camellia in its tub

All the pots I washed last week need putting away and the rest need washing.

The field is covered in twigs after the windy weather and I need to pick them up and put them to dry.

That will do for a start

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Monday, 24 September 2018

The Elder Tree

 English summer begins with elder flowers and ends with elder berries

Autumn is definitely here, and except for the ones I turned into syrup all the Elder berries have been stripped by the pigeons. I researched this post a few weeks ago and it's time it was published.

The Elder page from the Readers Digest Book of Trees
Elder takes up 4 pages in the little book "Discovering The Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker. With so many sayings and superstitions attached it's an important tree in the countryside.
The book says
"The ambivalent character of Elder makes it at once beneficent and malevolent; kindly and spiteful"

These are just a few of  the Elders effects that have been recorded around Europe.............
  • It is thought the Elder is inhabited by Lady Elder or the Elder Mother and her permission must be asked before the tree was touched.
  • To burn elder wood brought death and disaster and if elder was added by mistake to a fire already burning the fire would promptly go out.
  • Elder growing near a well taints the water.
  • Elder used in a cradle would make the child pine away
  • Elder used as a meat skewer would make the meat bitter
  • Whipping an animal with an elder wand stunted its growth
  • The scent of elder flowers will poison anyone who falls asleep under the tree.
  • Adders are attracted to the tree roots of the elder
  • Food cooked over an elder wood fire would not be fit to eat
  • A pregnant woman who stepped on elder leaves might suffer a miscarriage
  • Witches conjured rough weather by stirring a bucket of water with an elder twig
Enough to put off anyone who had any thought of using Elder!

But on the other hand there were counter charms that could be used to evoke the  Elders positive character
  • Elders planted around a property would keep witches away
  • Drying clothes on an elder bush would bring good luck to the wearer 
  • A twig of elder in a riders pocket would save him from saddle-sores
  • Elder leaves picked on the last day of April could heal wounds
The folklore book quotes from a much earlier book "Adam in Eden"  by William Coles published in 1656

There is hardly a disease from the head to foot but it cures. For headaches, for ravings and wakings, hypocondriack and mellancholly, the falling-sicknesse,catarrhes,deafnesse, faintnesse and feacours.

 My sources

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