Monday, 26 September 2011

Cigarettes and alcohol. Without the cigarettes. With some hawthorn

Do you know what happened to me over the weekend? I discovered I was allergic to alpaca. Anyway, we will briefly acknowledge my pain (group hug) and move on (what the hell am I going to do with the alpaca laceweight? Lucky I kept that Ventolin!). So, today I have been foraging.
Nice weather for foraging and competing with Squirrels
Yes! Inspired by the herbal hedgerow walk, I have been looking for hawthorn berries and rosehips, to make hawthorn tincture and rosehip syrup. I also had some blackberries hanging about, from the veg box and our garden, and thought I would make blackberry vodka with these, because, Nigella and me, we’re very similar, you know, apart from her house might be be the tiniest bit posher (joke).
I'm really almost positive this is hawthorn
Foraging makes me slightly nervous. I’m always worried I might pick something that is actually Deadly Nightshade masquerading as something harmless. Also, I always think someone is going to come and tell me off for fiddling about with trees and I will find myself in front of a magistrate trying to explain myself incoherently (‘OK look. I’m a hedgewitch, right, and I went on this walk, right, and they said if I picked hawthorn it would root me and protect my heart and I’ve been working on opening up my heart chakra recently and I thought…’). I think there’s something deep within me that thinks something is only really permissable food if it’s wrapped in plastic and sold in Waitrose. I think there are a lot of people who think this, because whenever I go into Cambridge there are lots of people in M&S buying fruit for twice the price of the market stalls less than 5m away, indeed, I do it myself when I am being undynamic. When I am being dynamic though, obviously, I go rooting round trees with a bag being intrepid.
Hawthorn tincture, candlestick, blackberry vodka, leftover garlic, plum and apple chutney and a bit of cardboard used to catch a big spider
Anyway, this is how I made the blackberry vodka. I used about 350g blackberries, and half the weight of sugar, and put them both in a big Kilner jar, then covered with a 70cl bottle of vodka. I made the hawthorn tincture just by covering hawthorn berries in brandy, but, I could not submerge all the berries because they float, so I am worried that might cause problems. We will see. I’ve not made the rosehip syrup yet and it sounds scary as it involves straining through muslin (or tights, depending on your level of domestic goddess-ness. I will not be able to palm my rosehip syrup off on people now as they will be thinking worrying thoughts about gussets. I bet Nigella doesn’t go straining syrup through her gusset, do you? Remember though: it’s only slutty if you wear them afterwards without rinsing them first).

I’ve got a book recommendation. In one of my previous posts, Vivianne recommended James Wong’s Grow Your Own Drugs, and I suddenly remembered I had actually got it – I bought it ages ago when it was hugely reduced and then I buried it under a pile of books. Well, I dug it out and it is great, so thanks Vivianne for reminding me, and it is a good book for those of you who may have leanings in this direction. Also, I seem to remember Mumma Troll actually went to one of his talks once and really enjoyed it, so, yes, James Wong. Look, it said in the Guardian today that it’s the end of capitalism, and you’ll need to know this sort of thing soon, you know. So when the post-oil society arrives, you all stick with me. I know how to make soap and knit socks, and Partner says if he put his mind to it he’s convinced he could kill a chicken (not one of yours, though Aunty Kath!).


Nana Go-Go said...

Hello. I found you through Ravelry (CelticCreative) and glad I did. It`s fun here! You should pop over to my friend, Betty at BettyTheWoodFairy. She`s an absolute whiz at the rosehip syrup and lots of other things. Wouldn`t mind the recipe for your Apple Chutney if you`d care to share. Have a good week.

Vivianne said...

So wotcha making from the book ? Throat sweeties for the winter maybe ? :-)

Alittlebitsheepish said...

Blackberry vodka is excellent, and what is it with the attack of the huge spiders? Everyone seems to be suffering from enormous eight legged beasts

Stitched Together said...

My other half refers to my knitting and sewing as my post-apocalyptic skill set.

resa said...

Straining through muslin is not scary, but please learn from my mistakes. Never be impatient - yes that looks like a truly tiny amount in the strainer but if you add more in one go it won't stay in very long. Also, a baking sheet with a decent sized lip on it beneath your jar (or whatever you're straining into) is awesome because when all is said and done you can retrieve whatever might have been lost and put that in the strainer as well.

MariaS said...

Aw. Big group hug about the alpaca... But if you need to destash the yarn, you can always try the Posh Yarns group on Ravelry - there's a special destash thread, and things seem to get snapped up fairly quickly.

Just a thought!