Art / Eat / Grow / Make / nature

30 Days Wild: Day 25 – Go Wild On a Sunday

Sunday is a day of rest.  Luckily, I was able to take advantage of this, and had another leisurely day of sleeping, waking feeling refreshed after my busy week. My first #RandomActofWildness was catching up on Rainbowblooms, sharing my rainbow-coloured flower photographs from this week’s adventures.

Then, it was time to check on my ever-growing drinks cabinet. I’ve been posting regular reminders on Twitter for people to check their elderflower champagne. Sadly, I hadn’t thought to warn people to get ‘drink babysitters’ while they slept. When I undid the redcurrant fizz, it got excited.

Very excited.

So excited my partner came into the kitchen to see what was going on. Just in time to see the redcurrant fizz hit the roof.

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He is better on a stepladder than I am, and a very kind person for cleaning up the ceiling and floor while I cleaned the work surfaces.

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Do not underestimate the power of yeast. This goes doubly for hot days. Remember to check your fizz regularly: Think of the Kitchen.

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I now have six different types of fizz in progress:

  • Elderflower and rose petal.
  • Redcurrant and honey.
  • Lemon balm and lemon.
  • Blackcurrant.
  • Ginger and Pear (made from a syrup I made in the autumn and forgot about, but discovered today and realised still tasted good but could easily be ‘fizzed’.)
  • Elderflower and apple (made from elderflower cordial and some cloudy apple and elderflower juice I had in the fridge – I thought I’d experiment with topping up a yeasty bottle with it to see what would happen. So far, so good…)

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There are also numerous fruit and flower spirits including:

  • Peach and apricot vodka.
  • Elderflower vodka.
  • Elderflower gin.
  • Elderflower and gooseberry gin.
  • Wildflower vodka (with mallow, clover and elderflower).

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And then there’s the foraged fare I have left over – or still ‘seasoning’ – from Autumn, including:

  • Blackberry vodka.
  • Blackberry gin.
  • Elderberry port.
  • Blackberry and elderberry port.
  • Blackberry and apple vodka.
  • ‘Purple’ (aka, hedgerow spirit: all the purple leftovers I had, which included elderberries and blackberries along with hips, haws and a bit of vanilla, if memory serves).
  • Satsuma peel, honey and spice brandy.
  • Banana rum.
  • Blackberry brandy.

Add in the blackcurrant, lemon balm and redcurrant cordial, and it’s quite a cocktail collection.

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It was beginning to take over my kitchen, so I decided it was time I had a ‘cocktail cabinet’. This took the form of a foraged low table with a shelf that someone had thrown away. It was missing a plank of wood at the top but still looks perfectly acceptable. I’m hoping that having a shelf above them will help minimise the ‘explosion factor’, if any of the fermenting drinks get over-excited again.

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After sorting out the drinks, it was time for dinner – in the form of Fridgetata. This is one of my favourite, ‘simple suppers’, that also works for breakfast, lunch, and the middle of the night when you crave a snack.

I added finely sliced onions to a frying pan with a tablespoon or so of sunflower oil, chopping them, ‘minimum waste’ style*, by leaving the root and skin in place to give me a ‘handle’, meaning I could cut all of the onion rather than throwing the base away.

I saved the skins for making dye in the future (or adding to an insipid looking stock or sauce. They add a lovely brown depth, though don’t use too many or it can be bitter.) I set the onion root aside for the compost.

I haven’t currently got a composter as I don’t have a garden but all my 30 Days Wild gardening and playing with fairy and dinosaur gardens has made me realise that I still use a lot of compost. I also hate waste, and a compost bin is a great way to use up old teabags, along with a lot of food waste (not meat or dairy).

I have different plans for my coffee grounds, which I have been straining through my ‘old tights and plant pot’ coffee strainer (to save my drains from being blocked by coffee grounds – I have fresh coffee every morning). I have nearly a full plant pot full now, and a little more investigating to do before I confirm what I’ll use them for, but there are a few options to consider…

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But back to the fridgetata… After chopping the onions, I fried them until they were soft and beginning to brown, then added roughly chopped spinach, coriander, and mizuna from the Transition Loughborough allotment. It had wilted slightly in the fridge, but that just meant it was easier to get in the pan. I added some baby broad beans then put the lid on the pan to speed the cooking process.

I softened all the leaves, until they were wilted and glistening,  stirring a few times to ensure they were well mixed, then beat together 6 eggs and poured them over the mix, only remembering to season afterwards.

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I stirred it around in the pan to make up for my forgetfulness and mix it in properly, then left the pan over a low heat with the lid on, so the egg could set without the bottom burning.

After a little while, I turned the heat off and just let the egg cook in the ambient heat of the pan with the lid on: a good way to reduce energy costs.

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Finally, I sprinkled it with some cheese I needed to use up, and put it under the grill until it was melted and delicious.

The joy of fridgetata is that it’s an instant anytime meal. It’s lovely cold, cut into wedges straight from the fridge; is great for picnics or lunchboxes; and is comforting when warm and served with simply boiled new potatoes with butter and finely chopped fresh mint. (Alternatively, add grated or thinly sliced potatoes to the mix for a ‘one wedge meal’: I usually do but had run out of potatoes.)

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When I was breaking the eggs, I realised half way through that I needed egg shells for a craft project I’m planning, but ideally wanted them halved the other way. So, with the help of a heavyish knife, I broke my eggs end-to-end rather than through the widest point.

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It worked surprisingly well, and I’m excited about the arty opportunity it opens up… I’m saving the rest of the egg shells to smash finely, then dye different colours to create egg shell mosaics (and test out different home-made foraged dyes). If the idea of  crafting with egg shells appeals, remember to wash the egg shells immediately after cracking the eggs, for ease.

I ended day 25 of 30 Days Wild feeling relaxed, happy and energised for the week ahead. Even without getting outside, I felt connected to nature through the bounty it provides.

Random Acts of Wildness So Far…

  1. Spread the word.
  2. Start a weather/pain diary.
  3. Look at the clouds.
  4. Photograph wildflowers.
  5. Look for urban nature.
  6. ID a butterfly.
  7. Find a fledgling.
  8. Feed a swan.
  9. Collect feathers.
  10. Stake out a foraging site.
  11. ID birdsong.
  12. Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
  13. Plant a virtual seed.
  14. See new life growing.
  15. Feed the ducks.
  16. Protect an animal from a predator.
  17. Reflect on nature.
  18. Look closely at your lawn.
  19. Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
  20. Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
  21. Show your houseplants some love.
  22. Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
  23. Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
  24. Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
  25. Add a nature event to your diary.
  26. Look closely at a friend’s garden.
  27. Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
  28. Find a plant that looks like a bug.
  29. Watch a bee.
  30. Read a nature-based research paper.
  31. Get overawed by nature
  32. Watch the dawn.
  33. Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
  34. Try a nature meditation.
  35. Raid and repurpose the recycling.
  36. Go on a wild date.
  37. Go litter picking.
  38. Protect the soil.
  39. Make nature art.
  40. Watch the sunset
  41. Turn your desk wild.
  42. Water your plants.
  43. Celebrate World Environment Day.
  44. Take part in the plastic challenge.
  45. Watch nature videos.
  46. Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
  47. Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
  48. Take a closer look at foxgloves.
  49. Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
  50. Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
  51. Dress for the weather.
  52. Connect with a local nature lover.
  53. Look at a puddle closely.
  54. Rescue a plant.
  55. Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
  56. Photograph wet leaves.
  57. Welcome new wildlife to the area.
  58. Make a bottle garden.
  59. Make a wild bouquet.
  60. Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
  61. Tend a garden.
  62. Feel the wind in your hair.
  63. Collect leaves for crafting.
  64. Grow a tomato.
  65. Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
  66. Admire an insect.
  67. Photograph something blue.
  68. Make a nature video.
  69. Go on a flower pot hunt.
  70. Wear nature-inspired fashion.
  71. Vote for nature.
  72. Plan a windowbox walk.
  73. Celebrate World Oceans Day.
  74. Go wild in a graveyard.
  75. Love lichen.
  76. Be amazed by moss.
  77. Find fungi.
  78. Stock up on wild supplies.
  79. Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
  80. Find something new in nature.
  81. Grow your own food.
  82. Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
  83. Look closely at cuckoo spit.
  84. Plant something pollinator friendly.
  85. Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
  86. Look for bugs.
  87. Let your garden go wild.
  88. Read the weather.
  89. Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
  90. Use an eco friendly search engine.
  91. Repurpose plastic packaging.
  92. Use biodegradable glitter.
  93. Collect flower petals.
  94. Find the perfect feather to make a quill.
  95. Add fairyland magic to your home with a fairy doll made from recycled materials.
  96. Use feathers as home decor.
  97. Wear nature-inspired jewellery.
  98. Watch the moon.
  99. Go for a dawn walk.
  100. Invite people to a wild cocktail party.
  101. (Try to) put up a bird box.
  102. Make a bug habitat.
  103. Take a bug’s eye view.
  104. Follow an ant.
  105. Take a macro shot of the earth.
  106. Plant strawberries.
  107. Plant a bird seed garden.
  108. Collect rainwater for the garden.
  109. Think about light pollution (and turn off garden lights when not in use).
  110. Create a kitchen herb garden.
  111. Put out a bird feeder.
  112. Photograph flowers in the dark.
  113. Go for a canal walk at dusk.
  114. Forage for your supper.
  115. Make flower tea.
  116. Make a floral face wash.
  117. Press flowers.
  118. Craft a story with wild finds.
  119. Read William Morris’s nature writing.
  120. Fill your pockets with pine cones.
  121. See fledglings fly the nest.
  122. Look through the leaves.
  123. Find a ladybird baby.
  124. See a seed you sowed grow wild.
  125. Pay attention to a warning sign in nature.
  126. Find ferns.
  127. Find a flower fairy.
  128. ID a wildflower.
  129. Find nature art.
  130. Made floral cocktail ingredients.
  131. (Try to) rescue a wildflower.
  132. Make a daisy ring.
  133. Make a bottle garden and get back to your roots.
  134. Follow an ant.
  135. Check for evidence of wildlife, in the absence of any obvious creatures.
  136. Collect a feather to ID.
  137. Find wildlife in the clouds.
  138. Find a plant that looks like an alien.
  139. Find a solution for a waste problem that annoys you.
  140. Research nature-based citizen science.
  141. Look at nature through a window.
  142. Make something that you need instead of going to the shops.
  143. Learn a new nature word.
  144. Share a happy nature memory online.
  145. Make a natural face mask.
  146. Make a herbal remedy (check for any side effects, particularly if you’re on any medications. Medications don’t always mix well with herbal remedies and many people forget to check this. Read up about all the ingredients you’re using to be on the safe side,)
  147. Share nature-themed style that you love.
  148. Buy a nature-related book (I’m donating all June profits from my book, Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature to the Wildlife Trusts.)
  149. Trade links with another nature blogger.
  150. Listen to the dawn chorus.
  151. Make an indoor night garden.
  152. Made dinner for a hedgehog.
  153. Use solar powered lights to reduce the amount of electricity you use.
  154. Give nature a libation (pour a bit of drink on the ground and thank nature for all it provides).
  155. Go on a mini-beast hunt at night.
  156. Photograph a snail.
  157. Look into the shadows.
  158. Take a different view.
  159. Find the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
  160. Drink elderberry port outdoors.
  161. Get involved with Britain in Bloom.
  162. Find out more about Transition Towns.
  163. Eat food that would otherwise have been wasted.
  164. Admire a blue sky.
  165. Make your business greener.
  166. Watch the sun through the trees and see how it changes as you move (or move your camera.)
  167. Photograph a blackbird.
  168. Have a 30 Days Wild fail – and learn from it.
  169. Make a bug (boutique) hotel.
  170. Craft a natural scene from your #30DaysWild finds.
  171. Forage for edible wildflowers.
  172. Set off down an unknown path.
  173. Hug a sapling. Baby trees need love too.
  174. Find a tree with a face.
  175. Admire a tree stump.
  176. Forage a friend’s garden.
  177. Grow the amount of nature you have indoors.
  178. Make a herbal hair tonic.
  179. Look for bats.
  180. Make a herb vinegar.
  181. Put water out for wildlife on a hot day.
  182. Make rose cordial (and experiment with other edible flowers.)
  183. Make a herbal oil.
  184. Make leaf paper.
  185. Get food from a community allotment.
  186. Have a barbecue.
  187. Watch a stream flow.
  188. Look into a fire.
  189. Create an outdoor air freshener by throwing woody herbs on the fire.
  190. Watch the stars emerge at dusk.
  191. Create your own nature magazine, booklet or scrap book.
  192. Light a candle in the dark.
  193. Go outside wearing your pyjamas.
  194. Celebrate Summer Solstice.
  195. Think about the impact you have on nature.
  196. Collect herbs by moonlight.
  197. Listen to the wind in the trees.
  198. Study a slug.
  199. Burn natural incense.
  200. Make herb salt.
  201. Watch a daisy open up.
  202. Make herb ice cubes.
  203. Get involved with a gardening community.
  204. Share food or drink with other people.
  205. Weed the garden.
  206. Make blackcurrant or redcurrant cordial.
  207. Make borage gin.
  208. ID a ladybird.
  209. Make your own Summer Punch (vodka, fruit, edible flowers and herbs)/
  210. Start a herb garden.
  211. Cook using a wild ingredient you’ve never tried before.
  212. Share your wild recipes.
  213. Re-use a Lucozade bottle..
  214. Press elderflower stalks left over from cordial making to make tiny trees.
  215. Love lemon balm.
  216. Read the science behind a herbal remedy and see if it stacks up for you (tips on research can be found here. If you’re after something more in-depth, read The Research Companion by the brilliant Petra Boynton).
  217. Opt for eco cleaning.
  218. Make a dinosaur garden.
  219. Go meat free.
  220. Watch a nature TV show.
  221. Look at nature photos when you’re stressed.
  222. Relieve the pressure.
  223. Learn about yeast.
  224. Make a recycled funnel from an old plastic bottle.
  225. Dissuade unwanted wildlife from your home.
  226. Befriend a bug.
  227. Get surprised by wildlife.
  228. Burn herbal incense.
  229. Sniff Mycobacterium vaccae.
  230. Track your growth.
  231. Listen to nature-inspired music.
  232. Share your favourite nature bloggers with other people.
  233. Watch the slipstream.
  234. Be inspired by someone’s recycling idea.
  235. Notice the light through the trees.
  236. Look at the way the wind affects things around you.
  237. Talk to your local restaurant about recycling flowers (and other waste).
  238. Have a drink in a pub garden.
  239. Compare man-made magic with natural magic.
  240. Notice the shadows at night.
  241. Have an explosive nature experience.
  242. Clean up the mess you’ve made.
  243. Upcycle a found item, rather than buying something new.
  244. Chop an onion the ‘minimum waste’ way.
  245. Save onion skins to make dye.
  246. Start a compost bin.
  247. Make Fridgetata.
  248. Take a new approach to a familiar experience.
  249. Collect egg shells for egg shell mosaics.
  250. Learn about a local farm shop.

*I got the onion-chopping tip from chef, Tom Rea, who I helped write a book – and who has recently opened his own pizza takeaway and farm shop in Kingston (Brighton). The food is so locally sourced that most of it is grown on site. Tom is currently testing whether people will opt for their milk over supermarket nationally-distributed milk as it’s a little higher in price, but is locally produced. 

If you live nearby and want to support local farmers (and chefs), put your money where your mouth is and shop at a farm shop in beautiful countryside with almost inevitable horses and dogs nearby, and freshly made pizza to take home with you, rather than a supermarket full of crowds, with fluorescent lights, and excessive packaging. It’s entirely up to you which you prefer, of course… (Oh, and if they are selling meringues when you go, buy them. They will be the best meringues you will ever taste.)

Find Kingston Farm Shop here. It’s surrounded by lovely countryside and is well worth the drive if you’re in a nearby city.

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