Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Latest In A Long Line of Eccentrics

I was thinking today about how I am the latest in a long family line of eccentrics. My grandfather, for example, used to think that a double-barrelled shotgun down a mole-hill was a good mole-control technique. My grandmother sent my brother and I out with pickled onions to put down mole-hills, also to deter them. She also used to share around the chocolates whilst we watched television by clutching the box and throwing them at you like grenades during advert breaks. My parents are still alive so I shall not embarrass them by any details.

Today I had a half holiday. Instead of lounging around watching television (which would be tricky since I have no (working) television,) I picked rosehips to make rosehip syrup. Blame Wartime Farm for making me think of this!

I used the recipe from Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables, first published 1929, the copy I was using is the second impression of the thirteenth edition, from 1979.

I like how rose hips look. Like red jewels.
The recipe below is half of what is actually documented in the book, as I only managed 1 lb of rose hips after 1 hours picking!

1 lb ripe rose hips
1/2 lb sugar
2+1/4 pints water

The following method is recommended if a syrup with a high vitamin C content is required.

 Extracting the juice
Have ready 1+1/2 pt boiling water, preferably in an aluminium (I wouldn't use aluminium pans personally due to possible health scares around these) or unchipped enamel pan. Mince the rose hips in a coarse mincer (I used a food processor/magimix),

 place them immediately in boiling water and bring this again to the boil. As soon as it re-boils remove the pan from the heat and leave it for 15 min, then pour into a scalded jelly bag and allow the bulk of the juice to drip through. Return the pulp to the saucepan, add 3/4 pt boiling water, re-boil and allow it to stand without further heating for another 10 min, then strain as before.

Adding the Sugar
Pour the juice into a clean saucepan, and boil it down until it measures about 3/4 pt, then add 1/2 lb sugar and boil for a further 5 min.

Bottling and Processing the Syrup
Pour the syrup while it is hot into clean, hot bottles and seal at once. (I put it into yogurt pots and freeze it and defrost what I need each time - once opened it only keeps for a week or two in the fridge)

Why don't you join me in my Land-Girl eccentricity?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two weekends inspired by Mr Peyton

The first: chocolate swirl buns. Mr Peyton's sweet bun dough, with the addition of 25g of dark cocoa powder (and 25% less yeast, as I use fast action dried, and he uses regular dried). Rolled out flat, spread with Mr Peyton's pastry cream recipe (surprisingly easy) and chopped chocolate. Rolled up like a swiss roll, cut into slices. Baked.

The second: English muffins. These are three batches in the making. The first had WAY too much yeast (sorry Mr Peyton, but they were disgustingly bitter) - the second had the perfect quantity of yeast, but I hadn't quite got the hang of cooking on a cast iron skillet. This, the third batch are mine. All mine. Sorry!

So thank you Mr Peyton!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Privilege We Have

For a seasoned (sinful) worrier, such as me, this hymn holds great balm and sober reminders laced into its lines.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded
there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship
will be our sweet portion there.

Joseph Medlicott Scriven

Oh may we bring all to Him in prayer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A New Name (book review)

Dedicated readers of my blog (all four of you) have probably noticed "A New Name" in my blog reel/side-bar. I forget how I came to be a regular reader, but I am so grateful that I did. Emma writes honestly about her own struggles yet still points faithfully to Jesus. She is one of the best Christian writers I have ever (not quite yet) met.

Emma has written a book by the same title. It is subtitled "grace and healing for anorexia," which substantially underestimates it. Emma boldly and bravely explains her own struggle with anorexia, walking us through her testimony, through her childhood in a non-Christian family, battling with anorexia and OCD as a teenager, then through a relative honeymoon period to her second struggle with anorexia as an adult. We see snippets of her life, enough to understands the depths of her brokenness, but not so much that it feels intrusive or voyeuristic. More than this, woven delicately and beautifully through are the lessons she has learned, the wisdom she has gleaned, and the encouragement to find our own grace and healing.

Mental health problems (not just anorexia) will affect 1 in 3 of us personally. Contrary to the damaging things I have heard, Christians are not exempt from this. Both in the church and out of it, mental health is still a massive taboo. Emma boldly steps out and raises her hand to say, "twice in my life I've had anorexia that nearly killed me." And it is her willingness to tell her story and to be real in such a public way that makes her book so powerful. You see, it's not just her story, it's all part of the story that Jesus is writing. As she explains, "Jesus Christ calls himself a Doctor for sick sinners. And I am both. I'm sick - helpless in the face of a condition that overpowers me. I'm also a sinner - deliberately choosing my way over his. Despite this, he loves me just the same. So this is not just 'my' story. It's the story of his work in my life" (p15-16 A New Name, Emma Scrivener, IVP, 2012.)

It is precisely because it is more than just her story that I would so heartily recommend this book. Her description of her character with its foibles and flaws laid bare, her gentle tone, her advice and reflections will ring bells with all of us. Her appeal to us to put aside our shame, to be real, is a challenge to our hearts. If more of us take her lead, and own up to being the wounded, vulnerable, damaged sinners that we all are, I feel certain the church will be the body that the Lord intended it to be. Whether or not you have experience of anorexia, or mental health problems, Emma's book is an excellent read, well-written, with appropriate moments of humour and sobriety. Read it!