Friday, 25 September 2009

Berries and Stone

Phew it's been a busy week! I have been enjoying the dry fine weather and spent much of Monday and Tuesday gleaning the hedgerows of their bounty. Very well we did too! Sloe gin is now hidden away under the stairs working it's magic, alongside a generous jar of blackberry brandy - just the tonic for a cold night in around the fire. Then it was time for some slightly more vitamin packed syrups so I busied myself stripping elderberries from their stems and gathering rose hips. I gathered rather more than just rose hips during my outing and spent an evening removing thorns from my fingers, nature does find some fantastic ways of preventing you from stealing all her goodies.

The elderberry syrup that I made is great for coughs, colds and sore throats, it's very yummy and should the lack of alcohol disappoint it really is quite delicious topped up with champagne! An autumnal Kir Royale!!!

It's very easy to make you just need to strip elderberries from their stems (I had a kilo), put them in a large saucepan with a few chunks of fresh ginger and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25/30mins until the berries are soft. Strain the liquid through a plastic sieve, squeezing/pressing the berries to get as much as you can. At this point remember that whatever this liquid touches it will stain, it's very purple! Then add 1lb of sugar and 10 cloves for every pint of liquid. Bring this to the boil, stiring to disolve the sugar and boil hard for 10mins. Remove from the heat and remove the cloves. Your syrup is ready to bottle and can be enjoyed in hot or cold water as you would a cordial - yum!

I will post the rosehip syrup recipe over the weekend.

Wednesday was the day I was most looking forward to as I was to meet two great friends in Tetbury, much tea, cake and chatter had been planned, alas many plans do not quite go as planned and Wednesday was no exception. We have been waiting for wooden floor boards for our bathroom and some work surface for our utility room to be delivered - it has taken weeks and weeks so of course a phone call Tuesday confirmed that they would deliver on Wednesday - ARRRRAAGGGHHH, I couldn't say no so, tea, cake and chatter disappeared and I sat and waited and waited and finally they arrived...........

The floor boards were as expected - wooden! But the worksurface WOW, I am sooooo very excited. We have planned the utility to look rather rustic with the stone trough as the sink, so we found a salvage yard who would cut some HUGE pieces of york stone for the work surface, this will sit on some red brick piers - ambitious I agree but if it works it will be just fab. To finally see the work top was like the missing piece of the puzzle I could finally visualise our room -now it was time for Mr H to work some magic and get them in situe......this could take a little while so watch this space!

Mstr B and Miss A decided that they make the perfect outside workspace for all their autumn collections.

Of course this was all too much excitement for Bumble, who dug a perfect Bumble shaped hole and snuggled down in it, a perfect spot for a tummy rub....!

Thursday brought with it my dose of tea, cake and chatter, just one special friend could make this outing so there is still one to be planned! Exploring Tetbury is always fun and on this day the yarn shop was open! Oh it was fantastic, I confess that I did not leave empty handed but you will have to wait to see my goodies, they are already being admired, bundled up and snuggled, the ideas are running wild, once I have tamed them slightly I promise to share!

Have a wonderful weekend xxx


A Bun Can Dance said...

Aha! Hello there!
All lovely yummy stuff and I don't just mean the edibles! I feel the need for some elderberry cordial, that's for sure. The stone worktops are amazing- you will have the perfect rustic dairy style utility room. Glad to hear Tetbury was a success-I was there in spirit!
Much love
Happy weekend
D x

Floss said...

Variously beautiful and yummy - thanks for this! Our younger son and I went blackberrying in sandals last month and collected a fine set of thorns in our toes. We'll probably remember not to do that again next year!

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Your recipe sounds delicious, I too went berry picking recently and made elderberry liqueur & a throat gel. Great fun to make! Elderberry has antiviral [properties, making great to have at this time of the year.
Have a great weekend
Isabelle x

Catherine said...

This sounds so yummy I will have to go a-pickin'!!