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1 September 2014

See Ya August.

August was great. I can't remember the last time we had a prolonged 'summer' here, it was definitely enjoyed. I am really looking forward to Autumn thought. September is going to be a good month, my brother is getting married! I plan on doing lots of yoga and hopefully I can build up strength in my weakling arms. Picking a lot of fruit and making chutneys and jam.

This month I explored a new forest with Eva. The sun was out for a record time. We celebrated Dixons birthday! We finally made a trip to Bundobust; okra fries forever. I went to my first camping festival; Beacons! It rained. Both my trainers and wellies ended up with holes in. But it was amazing. I made a solo trip to Leeds market, I need to go there every week. I started sprouting some beans at home. I made raspberry chia jam. I started a 30 day yoga challenge! I had my hair styled for the first time ever. I also had my make up done, a dress fitting and went to a hen-party! We went apple picking too. Thanks August, you were pretty good!


31 August 2014

Foraging - Take 2

Last year I went on a foraging walk, and this weekend Dixon, Eva and me set out to go and find the apple trees I was shown back then! I could hardly remember where they were, we went wrong a few times. BUT, I actually learnt loads on the walk last year which meant I spotted a load of other things on the way so it totally didn't matter! I was SO happy with some of the things we found. Its still a little early in the year but we found rosemary, red clove, rose hips (that weren't ripe yet!), sea-buckthrone (which we tried, and regret not picking), a tonne of blackberries, mushrooms, horse-radish then, finally, a loooad of apples. The orchard was a lot more over-grown than it was last year, so we missed it a couple of times! Having a 6foot+ Dixon with you when you're fruit picking is definitely an advantage. 

I'll be sharing some recipes soon on what we did with our finds! Dixon really wants to make blackberry wine but it can take years to be ready to drink. We want to give cider a go too! I'm definitely going to make an apple sauce, blackberry jam and I've no idea what to do with the horseradish yet! But I'm sure I'll figure something out. Go nature!

^^ We didn't pick these because we weren't 100% sure what they were! ^^
^^ I spotted the Horseradish bush! And Dixon pulled out some of the root! ^^


21 August 2014

Adventures in Sprouting.

I love lentil sprouts. They are seriously the best addition to any sandwiche. AND, sprouts are so good for you! When germination starts it triggers a change in the enzymes and when the sprouting starts all the vitamins and minerals within are released so your body can absorb them loads quicker. I always assumed it was difficult to sprout at home and had no idea what you could actually sprout... but last week I did a little reading and decided I should give it a go. And you should definitely do it too!

You will need:
    - The grains, seeds, nuts or beans which you want to sprout
    - A clean jar per grain type
    - Gauze for the top of your jar
    - String or an elastic band to secure your gauze

Firstly, get your jars ready. You can buy one, make one or piece one together (I used old jars, garden string and old clean tights for gauze). Rinse your grains using a sieve for a couple of minutes and take out any split/weird looking bits. Make sure your jars are freshly cleaned and sterilised then add your grains. Remember they are going to swell up whilst they soak and when they start to sprout they will fill up the space quickly. I'd say never fill your jar more than 1/5. (My lentil sprouts seriously took over the entire jar within a couple of days).

Then, fix your gauze in place using string or an elastic band and top up half way with room temperature water. You then need to leave them to soak for a while; I found this super helpful sprouting spectrum chart which tells you how long you need to soak and how long you'll have to wait for them to sprout. I soaked mine for a few hours longer then it suggested, just to make sure.

^^ After the overnight soaking! Pretty swollen ^^

Once they're soaked, empty out the water and rinse a couple of times. Then you'll need to find somewhere to prop them on a 45degree angle and out of direct sunlight. I found that a bread-loaf tin worked perfectly. Every morning and every night give them a full rinse, some people seem to vary on how often to rinse your sprouts; but I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry. Sprouting can harbour bad bacteria so be super careful. Repeat the rinsing until your sprouts are big and ready!

What I learnt: For my first attempt I used green lentil and mung beans. The lentils started within a day or two of soaking. I filled my jar about 1/8th with lentils and it still completely filled the jar by the time they sprouted. I ended up with a HUGE bowl of them! Way too many actually... I made a lot of sandwiches!! The mung beans didn't swell anywhere near as much compared to the lentils, they also took an extra day to sprout compared with the green lentils but took up no where near as much space. They're good cooked; in stir-fries, duh!

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