Someone snapped me at the recent wedding shoot I did for friends , this is me and ad one of the nicest chums I’ve ever met in the workplace.
The Lovely Alison.
Branched out a little for chums wedding drinks
3lb (or 3 x 454g) of Blossom Honey
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
A few solid bits shaved off a whole nutmeg (not ground)
2 tea bags.
All purpose wine yeast
8 pints (1 gallon) water
Wrap spices in a piece of butter muslin and tie into a bag with string (natural coloured – not blue!)
Put water in a large pot and bring to the boil. When boiling drop in the spice bag and the tea bags Remove tea bags after a few minutes, leave the spices in for about 20 mins when the flavour and smell should be pronounced but not overwhelming. Remove spice bag. (If you want it very spicy leave the bag in while you simmer the honey).
Add the honey and stir in well. Continue to allow to simmer for about an hour, skimming off any scum that may form. Don’t let it boil – just simmer.
Activate the yeast in a separate bowl in a warm place.
Cool the honey mixture until it is lukewarm, pour into a fermentation bin and then add the activated yeast and a yeast nutrient.
Let it sit in a warm place for a few days, stirring twice daily, until fermentation is past the most violent stage and it can be transferred into a demijohn for the rest of fermentation.
Keep in a warm place until the fermentation has slowed down and a sediment has built up (about two to three weeks depending on temperature). Rack into a clean demijohn and refit lock.
When it has cleared again and fermentation appears to has stopped (possibly only a week or two), de-gas and rack. Wait for a few weeks more to see whether a second fermentation is going to happen..
Comments: this cleared very quickly. First fermentation stopped only four weeks after start and wine was very clear. Second fermentation then started and was stopped after another three weeks. Needed a lot of de-gassing though. Achieved 16% alcohol.
Mead & Methgelin.
Metheglin starts with traditional mead but has herbs and/or spices added. Some of the most common metheglins are ginger, tea, orange peel, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. Its name indicates that many metheglins were originally employed as folk medicines.
The Welsh word for mead is medd, and the word “metheglin” derives from meddyglyn, a compound of meddyg, “healing” + llyn, “liquor”.
I have no excuse but there has not been a lot going on.
I seem to be the only one in the family that is not visiting hospitals or DR’s at present [touch wood] , Ma Zebra has been in for a while now , having suffered what appears to be another possible stroke, with a few little complications.
Little Bro Zebra is considering stunt cycle riding after a whoops accident, and suffered sliced right hand that need stitches and a whopping gash on his other arm.
Finally the garden is producing some of it’s first tomatoes, the spinach both perpetual and my native kiwi spinach have done well, as has by rainbow bright beet.
I’m giving up on carrots too much hassle fighting slugs to stop them eating all the seedlings, the runner beans, both Enorma and Violette Climbing are now producing crops.
I’m on my second lot of spuds, which I’m growing differently than I normally do, and they seem to fine at present.
Spuds are such low stress.
My basil ahs not really done a lot this year and none of my herbs, thyme or rocket seem to have done anything.
It does not seem top have been as good a year as last year, my red currant and blackcurrant plants whilst growing well in their permanent positions have produces exactly zero berries.
I lost both my gooseberry plants to mildew and lost two of three expensive blueberry plants to a mystery bug and the third whilst it has survived has produced about 1 punnet of berries [ I can see why they are so expensive ] and the leaves seem to indicate I may well loose that one as well.
My mystery seeds that I thought were radish of some sort have turned out to be Kohlrabi , which attract those horrible black and orange lipped slugs , evil things.
My Edamame [Soya bean] have produced a few pods, but I won’t be bothering again.
It all sounds a tad negative really, so on a lighter front my Jerusalem artichokes are about 8 feet tall literally, they dwarf me so when they are harvested I hope I get something for my efforts.
My courgette’s from all over the globe have done well, the Sicilian long whites are huge and yet still tender, the crookneck’s have done rather well, as have my flying saucer patty pan types, both yellow and green ones.
The rhubarb is effortless and growing well, I was gifted some by Matron earlier in the year and she said I should not really harvest any this year, but the plant was just getting huge and has produced so much this year it needed thinning and yet as I thin it just keeps coming back. Even the seeds that I planted have provided happy plants for next year.
The strawberries are now producing there runners for next years crop and all their fruit has been frozen off ready for fresh home made ice cream in the winter months.
My herb gully has flowered and is attracting all sorts of insect life and the bee’s are in abundance, so good to see.
At least I got something right..
Overall I’m a tad flat over this years growing season, and have already starting planting seeds out for my over winter crop.
Garlic is definitely going in as are shallots, which I seem to be able to grow with ease, the asparagus beds will have to wait and I’ll see how they go next season.
I’m having a serious rethink about where I want to take everything.
I have planted some gourds to see how they will do and what sort of things they will produce for some colour.
The garden has kept me busy and for that I’m thankful, I just wish it would reciprocate and give me something back that will fill someone’s dinner plate.
The homemade ciders and wines are racking up nicely for the colder months and I can now turn around 25 litres of cider in under 15 days due to the heat.
So sitting in racks ta the moment I have approximately
20 litres of Pear and Apple Cider
60 litres of the everso popular limited edition 2009 vintage Elderflower Cider
6 pints of Dandelion Wine
4 bottles of Cab Sav [remaining, Bro Zebra, seems to have enjoyed rather too much of it]
4 bottles of Peach Wine
4 bottles of Elderflower Wine
1 Gallon of Elderberry Wine
1 Gallon of Black Cherry Wine
So that aspect seems to have faired well.
I’m looking forward to Autumnal foraging for other foodstuffs for all the homemade products soon.
Apart from the garden, I did a wedding photo shoot last week, something I vowed I’d never do it again.
But I did and again I stressed but it was for chums , they are now in Aruba so no shots on the blog until after I’ve edited them all and they are back and have their copies.
That’s all really I really should sleep.
0411 hrs. Night.