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Showing posts from August, 2011

Seaweed salt soap - and my icy cold hands

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I went to pick seaweed with my cousin and mother the other day.  We timed it carefully since we wanted to pick a particular kind of seaweed, Pamaria palmata.  Dulce is the common name in English, but we call it Söl in Icelandic.  Dulce has been used for ages here as food.  They are very nutritious and are sold as snacks and some people used them in green drinks.  This is why we were going to collect some, because my cousin uses them in her nutritious morning drink and it is rather expensive at the shops.  Self sufficiency appeals to me, even if I don't really eat that much of the stuff.

Dulce grows at the very lowest point of the beach where there is movement of the sea most of the time and in order to pick it we had to wait for the lowest tide of the month and we were fortunate that this month it happened to be a Sunday.

We only had to drive about an hour from the city to find a nice place to collect seaweed.  There are these two really cute tiny villages with tongue twisting n…

Fairy candy - Strawberries

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Strawberries are Fairy candy.  Or they could be Goddess fruit.  Definitely they are otherworldly good when you grow them yourself.  Much sweeter and juicier than store bought no matter if they are imported or grown locally.  I think it's because they are picked just a little too soon so they don't get damaged in transport.

This summer I got a bowlful of my own homegrown strawberries for the first time.  A whole bowlful!  I've had a crop of strawberries before, but it's always been one or two at a time, but not a full bowl of fully ripe strawberries, deliciously red and sweet and juicy.

I have two varieties of strawberries.  Some nameless one I bought in a garden center (they never seem to care about named varieties here) and a named variety that I grew from seed so the name was on the packet, but I have since forgotten it (but I think I have the empty packet somewhere).  The seeds came from Denmark and the flowers are pink and the fruit is large and dark and juicy. …

Gift from the gods, brought by the butler

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Filipendula ulmaria - Meadowsweet is a lovely medicinal plant.  It is well known as a natural painkiller as it contains salicylic acid, the ingredient in aspirin.  The plant is however, unlike aspirin, quite gentle for the stomach and is used to treat heartburn since it neutralizes stomach acids and it is used for peptic ulcers.  It is anti inflammatory and as such it works well for rheumatic pain.  It is also astringent and a urinary antiseptic.  It is even gentle enough to treat diarrhea in children.

It's name in Icelandic is Mjaðurt, which means Meadplant.  Mead is a drink that the vikings drank way back when they were delusional enough to think Iceland was inhabitable.  There are no surviving recipes for mead, but it was probably alcoholic and some think it was made with honey, but it is fairly obvious that Filipendula ulmaria was used in it.

I got the idea to make a drink from Meadowsweet when I had finished the Rhubarb "champagne".  I was sure that it would make a …

My favorite books about soapmaking

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I buy books.  A lot of books about all sorts of things.  If I get interested in something, the first thing I do is to buy a book about it.  Or even better, two books... or more.  So I have a few books about soap making.  I love all my books and I am always so grateful to the authors that they took the time and made the effort to write a book to share their knowledge with me and many others.  I would like to share a few of my favorite titles and books about soapmaking are first in line.  I have to say beforehand that I do not know any of the authors.  I have only bought their books and read them.  I haven't read every book there is about the subject, but if I see a book about making soaps, I look it over thoroughly and buy it if it interests me.  What are your favorite books?  I might be missing a few!

I think my absolute favorite book about making soap must be Anne Watson's simple little book with the big title: "Smart Soapmaking: The simple guide to Making Traditional …