Rosy Jam

I’m being pampered with a guest post from Jacky (and so are you)

I am a home edding mum who loves all things of a foraging/self sufficiency nature.  Actually, my love borders on obsessional!
Recently, my foraging adventures have combined 3 of my favourite things: roses, foraging and preserve making!
I took the sprogs with me on a little excursion (along with my field guide, Richard Mabey: Food For Free handbook!) to a nearby public right of way footpath that is festooned with wild rose bushes.
We collected a quantity of pretty rose petals (about 2 mugs full when packed in) … leaving the rose centres intact for the future hips, of course!
We brought them home and sorted them out, liberating any critters that had the misfortune of hitching a ride home in the bag.
Then we, or rather I, as the sprogs had now taken up electronic devices, dissolved 2 cups of sugar in half a cup of water and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.  The rose petals were then tumbled inside the liquid and stirred for 30 mins.
Cool slightly then pour into sterile jars.
As you can see from the picture, you may either leave the petals in or remove them.
If you leave them in, they float to the top and look pretty as a picture!
All you need to do now is either drizzle the rosy gorgeous loveliness over fresh pancakes, ice-cream or hot, buttered toast!  It is the most delightful jam I have made to date.
Hope this inspires some of you to try nature’s bounty that is both fresh and free!
JJ x

And You Know I’ve Tried A LOT of Brownies

Simple Homeschool has a post that fits Connie’s journey to culinary competence. Here.

When she began asking to cook (age nine or younger) I found it hard as:

1. she didn’t want help

2. she didn’t want recipes

3. my kitchen is MY KINGDOM!

Also she made grimace inducing food, it felt wasteful. I was negative and anxious.

I coped by nixing certain ingredients, demanding she clean up before and after and shutting the door and walking away (returning only to place dubious cake mixtures in the oven)

First her baking became edible. Then delicious. She never wrote anything down but seemed to remember which amounts and combinations went well. Then she began using recipes. Age 11 she could make a three course dinner for six. Age 12 she bakes the best brownies I have ever tasted.


Let The Fermentation Begin! – Elderflower Champagne, A Tutorial.

This is so simple and cheap, each year I make three batches and pop it into up to eighteen plus, previously drained (gulp, gulp, gulp) clean (I use sterilising tablets on them because it’s so easy) wine bottles. Store it upright, to prevent pressurised leaking, and feel free to start glugging it back chilled, anytime after six weeks. It’s delicious. Thanks to Angela and Sandra for passing it on.

1. Put one and a half pounds of sugar in a big bowl and drench with two pints of boiling water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add six pints of cold water.

2. Add the rind and juice of two large lemons. Don’t worry if the pips fall in, you’ll be straining it later. (Yes, that is a potato peeler)

3. Add two tablespoons on white wine vinegar (I’ve used cider and even malt at a push)

4. Add four large flower heads or six small (after slicing off the chunkier bits of stem) I can never resist chucking in a couple more. See those thunder flies? Technically, this wine is not vegetarian.

5. Stir well and leave covered for 48 hours stirring occasionally.

6. Strain (I use an old muslin resting in a plastic sieve) and pour into bottles leaving an inch gap at the top. Screw down well. Leave in a cool place. You’re done. Well done.

Something to drink whilst you’re ringing out your bobble hat.

Several water authorities announced drought conditions and imposed hosepipe bans. Like a spell, this has presaged in daily downpours of monsoon intensity. Time for “Anna Rock Punch”. Ukrainian Anna wore her immaculately coiffered grey waves pinned up. She embroidered her own exquisite folk blouses, smiled all the time and made interesting things to eat.

She put a rose hip tea bag in a cup with a spoon of honey and a small splash of cider/wine vinegar. She poured on boiling water and stirred. It’s so easy and so comforting, I make it when I want to cosset myself but can’t be bother to grind beans and rinse out cafetieres.

Never ring out a woollen bobble hat. Blot with a towel and reshape flat.

The Alcoholic Preschooler

Our usual brand of brioche is “Harry’s”, last week we bought “Pasquier” instead. Most found it an ordeal to swallow even a mouthful, the only one not revolted by the taste was the four year old, J. Everyday I’d cajole him to eat as much of our brioche mountain as he could get down. I’ve now looked at the ingredients. The bizarre, medicinal flavour we hate is down to the Rum in it.

The English are teased for queuing but I’ve always thought “How else is a civilized person going to wait their turn for a bus/toilet/Neil Diamond ticket?” Now I know. I am buying some, admittedly unconfidential, stamps at the post office when a lady enters with a cheery “Bonjour!” She positions herself on my right, if not thigh to thigh, at least elbow to elbow. A second lady enters, Bonjours and slides up against my left. We stand together like books on an overfilled shelf. As the post office Madame starts to pass my change over the counter, lady number one leans forward and begins her transaction. I have to turn sideways to get out.

If You Are Coming To France Please Bring Your Own…..

  1. Baking Powder. It’s nonexistent here.
  2. Oats. Of a price higher than rubies. In England we feed it to horses.

Shops don’t open on Sunday and all but the most jumbo supermarkets shut for a couple of hours to lunch. Thanks to Tesco “24 hours” I had come to believe that shopping at two in the morning for a 42” flatscreen, some pesto and bath salts was a universal human right, burning eternal. For the French, it seems, shopping is what you do to get something you need, it hasn’t yet evolved into a hobby in it’s own right.