Rowanberry and Apple Jam

September 17, 2009

Rowan berries are very flavoursome and make excellent jams. However, make certain that you pick ripe rowan berries and only select plump ones, as these will have fruity sweetness as well as rowan bitterness. Fruit that are only bitter are no good for jam making.

250g rowan berries
250g apple, cut into chunks
250g sugar
water to cover

Pick over the rowan berries, remove any stalks then wash and add to a pan along with the apples and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer then allow to cook gently for about 30 minutes, or until the rowan berries are soft.

Take from the heat and pour into a sieve held over a bowl. Press the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon (the rowan skins and seeds will be left behind). Transfer the fruit purée into a clean pan. Add the sugar and about 40 ml water and bring to a boil.

Cook for about 30 minutes then test for the setting point by spooning a little of the jam onto a plate that has been chilled in the fridge. If the jam forms a skin when you move it with your finger then it’s reached the setting point. If it does not then you should continue boiling for 5 more minutes and test again.

Allow the mixture to cool a little then pour into cleaned, sterilized jars that have been warmed in an oven set to 120°C for 10 minutes. Top with a circle of wax paper, seal securely then allow to cool before storing.


Hedgerow Jam

September 17, 2009

Hedgerow Jam

Traditional Ingredients 250g rose hips 250g haws 250g sloes 250g rowan berries 450g crab apples 450g blackberries 450g elderberries 125g hazelnuts, finely chopped sugar (weight varies, see below) 20g butter

Method: Wash the fruit well then combine all the fruit (apart from the elderberries and blackberries) in a pan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the fruit are soft (about 30 minutes). Now pulp the fruit with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Pass the pulp through a fine sieve to remove the seeds then weight the pulp. Combine the pulp with the blackberries and elderberries in a pan along with the chopped nuts. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes then add 900g sugar plus more sugar equivalent to the weight of the fruit pulp you measured. Stir to combine then cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the butter and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly, stirring all the while for about 10 minutes Test for setting by placing a plate in the fridge. Spoon a little of the jelly onto the plate, allow to cook then move it with your fingernail. If a crinkly skin forms then the jelly is ready. If not continue boiling for 5 minutes more and test again. Skim the surface with a slotted spoon then ladle into sterilized jars that have been warmed in an oven set to 110°C for 15 minutes. Allow 1cm of head space then secure the lid, allow to cool and store.

Kitchen cosmetics…

September 1, 2009

a 5 year plan…

September 1, 2009

Hmmm.  This is something I’ve heard mention in the career field but not so much in the “5 year plan for my life” sense. So… the plan is to plan the next five years of my life, starting with where I want to be at in 5 years time, 4 years time, 3 years time and the countdown continues until I know I have pinned down a coherent plan for tomorrow 🙂 Need to do some reading up on this one. Wow, the internet is soo addictive.


September 1, 2009

Natural Remedies

September 1, 2009

Homemade Cough Syrup

Coltsfoot, Slippery Elm, Horehound (expectorant & demulcent), Thyme (expectorant), Marshmallow (demulcent), Anise, Eucaplytus.

Make a  tea using 1 ounce (6 teaspoons) of dried herb to 1 litre of water. Place the full ounce of dried herb into the litre jar and fill it to the top with boiling water. Cap tightly. After 4-10 hours, decant your infusion, saving the liquid and squeezing the herb to get the last of the goodness out of it.

Measure the amount of liquid you have (usually about 3½ cups). Pour this into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until the infusion is just barely simmering. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (pour it out of the pan and into the measuring cup now and then to check). This step can take several hours; the decoction is not spoiled if it is reduced to less than half, but it is ruined if it boils hard or if it burns. Keep a close eye on it.

When you have reduced the infusion to less then two cups, add 1.5 cups of honey and bring to a rolling boil. Pour, boiling hot, into your jar. (Sterilize the jar by boiling it in plain water for a few minutes just before filling it.) If desired, add some vodka to preserve the syrup.

Allow the bottle of syrup to come to room temperature. Label it. Store it in the refrigerator or keep it in a cool place.

Adapted from

Whispering Earth

Nature patiently waits and we have only to turn back to her to find relief from our suffering - Dr Bach


trying to live as lightly as possible on our beautiful planet


Lines from a linguist

The Arid Land Homesteaders League

Pioneering The Modern Urban World

the Nest

Art + Writing + Food

Landed in Leitrim: setting roots, growing trees, living off the land

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

One Woman, Three Acres.

Beyond the Dream!

Landed in Leitrim: setting roots, growing trees, living off the land