Thursday, 17 September 2009


Hello, I hope that you are all having a good week, it's been a very busy one for me so far! Following Sunday's berry picking with Miss P, I decided that we still needed more. So, on Tuesday evening, Alan, Miss P and I went berry picking. Unfortunately, the weather was not as nice as on Sunday. It was grey, cold and windy but I was out on a mission and the weather was not going to deter me.

Saved from the bed of stinging nettles. It was my turn next, Miss P and Alan insisted on it! Sorry, no photo!...thankfully ;-))

Miss P got stuck in to it and did a fantastic job

There were plenty of lovely looking hawthorn berries

The best elderberries were high up so a step ladder was required to pick the very juicy looking ones

Removing the berries from the stems (Fiddly job!)

The first thing that I made is ELDERBERRY LIQUEUR
1/2lb (450g) Elderberries
1 pint (600ml) vodka (Alternatives are Gin, white rum or brandy) needs to be a minimum of 40% alcohol
4oz (115g) Sugar
Put the the elderberries in a jar, add the vodka & sugar, seal the jar tightly and place in a cool dark place for 2 to 3 months. During that time shake the jar gently to mix the contents.
Strain the berries away and pour the liqueur in to a bottle.
Just multiply the amounts above if you want to make more.
Elderberry (Also known as Sambucol) has antiviral properties.

Next on my list was a ELDERBERRY THROAT GEL
Vegetable gelatin
Fill a small kilner jar with ripe elderberries, then cover with diluted vegetable gelatin.
Leave in a warm place for 2 weeks. Strain through muslin, squeezing well. Pour into a sterilized bottle.
Adults: Take 2 tsp, 3 times a day for coughs and sore throats.
I didn't have a kilner jar left at that time so had to put it an ordinary jar, will shortly be transferring to a kilner jar.

This recipe is from the book GROW YOUR OWN DRUGS by James Wong. Some of you may have seen the series on the BBC. Being in to natural remedies, I found the series and the book really interesting and full of great recipes for health remedies and beauty treatments.

I also made and blackberry & Strawberry compote made using Vanilla sugar. I will be having some with granola, yogurt, ice cream and in a sponge cake.

My next post will include what I made with the hawthorn berries. We did not manage to pick enough decent sloe berries so have frozen what we have and will try and find more at the weekend.

I went out for a walk this morning...

I had hoped to see the cyclists from THE TOUR OF BRITAIN go by but I missed them by a few minutes. By the time I had reached the top of the lane, they had just gone by. All that was left was a long queue of traffic trailing behind them.
Alan got up very early this morning to get a good spot in Frome (Somerset), the starting point of STAGE 6 - FROME to BIDEFORD. He has been taking 3d photos of the start and finish.
(See below for a link to some of the photos!)

So nice to see so many butterflies in the garden this morning.

It is a beautiful day today, I do hope your day is a good one too.

A bientôt!

Isabelle x

UPDATE: Here are some 3d photos of the event taken in FROME yesterday. Don't forget that you will need a pair of 3d glasses (red & cyan) to obtain the 3d effect when viewing them. More photos will be added to the website soon including ones taken in BIDEFORD.


Florence and Mary said...

I brought my mum Grow Your Own Drugs but have yet to follow any of the recipes in it!

Victoria x

Michela said...

Hi Isabelle!
Fantastic picture, especially the butterfly's one!
Your recipes sounds interesting, thank you for sharing!

KC'sCourt! said...

Thanks for sharing the recipes, I must try and buy that book! I'm quite wary of Elderberry wine though, mum made some in the seventies never to be forgotten! I never never drunk any if that is what you are thinking........

Susie's country cottage said...

I have Grow Your Own Drugs. Thanks for reminding to check it out now that so many things are ready in the hedgerow. The elderberry liqueur looks very interesting. I have just made some sloe and damson gin so might give this a go too...hic!

Hen said...

That compote looks yummy, I love that sort of thing, especially with natural yoghurt and granola, like you say. I'm impressed you took step ladders with you as you're right, the best stuff is usually out of everyone's reach!
Hen x

Rural Revival said...

My grandmother used to make elderberry pie. My absolute favourite! I wish I could find some growing here.

Riet said...

LOvely pictures and those recipies look very good.
Have a nice evening

Les Cotrions said...

Waw Isabelle what a nice country living!!! Your receipes are faboulous...I'd like to taste them!!!
Big hugs and take care


marigold jam said...

All looks delicious. I've been meaning to go out for some elderberries for a syrup that is good for coughs and colds (maybe also for swine flu too!) but so far I haven't done it. We will be watching out for the cyclists near us tomorrow - hope we are luckier than you were!


Kim said...

Hi there, just found your blog and it is lovely. I remember making cordial (and wine) with elderberries when I was little, my dad was always brewing up something, and it has left me with a passion for outdoor forraging! The grow your own drugs book is good, I got it a while ago - it will be interesting to see what you do with the hawthorn berries!
Kim xx

Floss said...

I've picked all the others in my time, excelt the hawthorne berries - I can't wait to see what you're going to do with them! We are having a good year for sloes here, and Ben has put a lot of them into other jams to add a bit of 'bite'.

Clare said...

The elderberry liquer looks like it 's going to be fab.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Hi Isabelle,
I love Miss P's pink boots and the hawthorn berries are so lovely. The state I come from (Tasmania) has lots of hawthorn bushes. I've not heard of this book but I shall look out for it. That sort of thing is so fascinating. Another lovely post which makes me long to live in the country. xx

The Garden Bell said...

I got so caught up in the wonderful pictures.. So is this delish looking stuff good for... By the color alone... soothing the soul.

Lululiz said...

I am still puzzling about the hawthorn berries, I so want to know what you have done with those.

Love the photo of the butterfly, its beautiful.

Annie x said...

LOVED part 1 and 2 of these posts!! what a lovely way to enjoy your day x
Your photos take me there with you..just Lovely!
Annie x

Duchess of Tea said...

Hello darling, please forgive me for not visiting your lovely blog this week… life was very hectic at Rose Tea Cottage!!! Hopefully things will calm down this coming week.

Have a sweet and lovely weekend.

Love & Hugs
Duchess ♥ ♥ ♥

Lisa said...

Elderberry throat gel sound smuch nicer than an over the counter remedy.

Rubyred said...

Great recipes! Can't wait to see the Hawthorn one! Have a great day!
Rachel x

Anonymous said...

How nice of you to share the recipes, I have enjoyed your post.I can see you have had a lovely family day out. best wishes Julie.C

koralee said...

Once again so so lovely...thanks for sharing!

Sylvia said...

My name is Sylvia, I'm from Belgium. I found your blog through Monica (The White Bench).
I also like vintage things, at the moment I have one cat, Moesj. Reading your blog I noticed that your favorite writer is Agatha Christie ? I read all her books.
Glad I have found your blog.

Have a nice weekend,
Sylvia (Cosiness)

Stephenie said...

What a pretty post.. The pictures are just amazing.. I just love that picture of the butterfly on the flower..

BERTIE x said...

Hello Isabelle, I've been looking at my elderberrys and wondering what to do with them. Thank you for sharing, I'm going to get out there and start picking.
Bertie x