Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Socks for sanity

When work's been a stressful mix of deadlines and personality clashes, when the walk home with heavy legs seemed to take twice as long as usual, when my knitting's gone wrong and I've had to rip back some tricky work I'm thankful for reliable, safe, comforting sock knitting.

Ahhhhh, most refreshing.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Vimto Wine

The wine making is going well; we've just bottled some white grape juice wine made using cheap Tesco grape juice which has turned out at a mighty 13% abv and have started off two more gallons today.  One is a Chardonnay kit from Wilkinsons that we've used before and which gave excellent results and the other is more of an experiment - say hello to Vimto wine.

I saw a recipe for Ribena wine here and fancied trying something similar so I've substituted Vimto for Ribena.  Apparantly it makes a strong wine and is a bit like sherry.  The yeast has frothed up and started bubbling already and I only put it in an hour ago.   

If you fancy joining me in experimental Vimto wine here's the recipe:

600ml Vimto cordial (use the regular one, not sugar free)
1kg caster sugar
1 sachet of wine yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Water to top up to the neck of a one gallon demi john

Mix together the sugar, Vimto and enough water in a large saucepan to make it all less gloopy.  Boil for 10 minutes; this boils off the preservatives in the Vimto which would otherwise prevent fermentation.

Leave to cool until luke warm.  Pour about 500mls of the mixture into a jug and tip in the yeast and yeast nutrient.  Pour everything into the demi john, fill with water up to the neck and take a reading with a hydrometer so you can work out abv later on.  Fit the air lock and leave in a warm place.

That's what I've done so far.  From here on in I believe it's a case of leaving it to ferment for a couple of weeks then tasting it and checking the abv until you're happy with the sweetness and alcohol content, at which point you kill of the yeast.  Once I find out how it goes I'll finish off this recipe.  At this point the hydrometer reads 1.07 which might be too low as I've added a lot of water, but I'll find out given time.  I don't know how it will turn out but the whole thing's only cost around £2.50 to make a gallon so I won't be heartbroken if it goes wrong.  

Friday, 1 March 2013

I love my freezer

I've been off work all week feeling crappy with a nasty infection and taking so many antibiotics, painkillers and other assorted pills that it's a wonder I don't rattle when I walk.  It's been a painful week (when you actually want to blurt out "Wah, I want my mummy!") but has had the unexpected side effect of money saving.  Usually we do a big online shop once a month and for the rest of the month if we need anything I get it in my lunch break as I work in town; fresh meat from the market and other stuff from a near by supermarket.  This week though the furthest I've been is the doctors and back, and Mr CB has a temporary job at the moment, doesn't finish until 5.15pm and by the time he's walked home it's 6pm, so no chance of shopping there either.

So this week we've been living off freezer supplies and dry goods and it's been fine.  I'm glad I had so much squirreled away in the freezer, it's saved a lot of hassle so I've been able to rest.  I've also found things in there that I didn't even know we had, so there has been a good deal of surprise food on our plate this week.

Here's to the stockpile; I knew it would come in handy (eventually!)