Just a quick post tonight, as its late and I am exhausted. Its been a busy day at the cottage. The baby fed, quite literally, all night and I woke with a sore back from twisting around her slightly in bed. Thankfully I feed her lying down an night, so I managed the odd doze. I awoke late, so Charlie was late for school and, because I'd had to wake her abruptly (and she hadn't had enough sleep either,) the baby was grumpy. Just as I'd poured myself the first cup of tea of the day, Jonny appeared and said he'd missed the school bus. 15 minutes later I'm driving us all the 15 mile round trip to school.
I've tried to work today, honestly I have, but the darkness and the horrible, cold rain has conspired to prevent me from being too motivated. I cut up some paper, and finished my hand and footprint tiles, which I will share with you another day. I am pleased with them. Then, right on cue, Florence woke up and I spent most of the rest of the time baby wrangling. Or baby wrestling, as my friend calls it. Florrie's a big, heavy baby now who won't sit still. She's prone to suddenly arching her back and flinging herself around. Wrestling is an accurate description.
Still, the baby went into the sling and that gave me chance to work on the next stage of the Christmas alcohol - home made Limoncello and Blackberry vodka. I spent a relaxing couple of hours mixing up sugar solution, sterilising jars and pottering about.
The now sweetened lemon vodka will now retreat back into the fridge for a week to infuse some more, before I strain the lemon zest out and bottle it.
Here's the recipe in case you fancy having a go. There's still time before Christmas
6 small unwaxed lemons
1 litre bottle vodka - cheap will do
750g caster sugar
750ml boiling water
1. Wash and sterilise a large Kilner jar by putting into a cool oven for 10 mins (gas mark 1/ 140 degrees C)
2. Wash the lemons, then grate the lemon zest finely, taking care not to take the pith (ha!)
3. Put lemon zest into sterile jar and pour over the vodka. Secure well and store in a cool, dark place for one week. Shake everyday - it looks like a snowstorm of yellow snow (nice)
4) After a week has passed, measure out the sugar into a large bowl. Add freshly boiling water and stir carefully until the sugar dissolves. You can tell when the sugar has dissolved as it goes clear, and if you put a spoon into the mixture, you can't see or feel any granules on the back of the spoon. Stir the lemon infused vodka into the sugar syrup.
5) Wash the Kilner jar, along with another of the same size, and sterilise both. Pour the combined mixture of lemon vodka and sugar syrup into the jars. Store for another week, shaking every day. Strain the Limoncello through a clean muslin cloth and decant into pretty, sterilised bottles.
Store in the freezer and drink neat, use in cocktails or pour over ice cream.
The blackberry vodka is proving to be more of a challenge as we've gone a little off piste with this. We wanted to use the blackberries left over from the railway jelly, so we bundled them into a demijohn and added vodka. I've been keeping notes. I'll share them with you at a later date.
I also wanted to share this little dude with you. Well, dudette. It's Cactus Jacqui!
How I enjoyed making her! The pattern was free, enjoyable to crochet, and I made her up in a night! a perfect project. You can find the pattern here.
Cactus Jacqui is part of a gift I've made for a handmade Secret Santa. I need to post her tomorrow, hopefully the postman will deliver her safely to her new home on the other side of the country.
Well. That wasn't quick, was it?! Thanks for hanging out with me again, though, its always fun.