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.
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.
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.
Do not underestimate the power of yeast. This goes doubly for hot days. Remember to check your fizz regularly: Think of the Kitchen.
I now have six different types of fizz in progress:
- Elderflower and rose petal.
- Redcurrant and honey.
- Lemon balm and lemon.
- 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…)
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).
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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…
*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.