Twinsane’s Weblog

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Posts Tagged ‘Wine making’

rosehip not medium

Posted by --- on Monday 17 November, 2008

I transfered the rosehip must from the bucket to a demijohn tonight via a nylon seive as per the recipe. According to Mr Berry, it should be a medium wine – which I like – an SG reading results in the specific gravity being 0.990 or very dry – which I don’t like. I added 30g of sugar (no idea why; seemed like a good idea at the time) and repeated the SG reading with the same results.

Still continuing to try to revive the nettle wine, I have added more nettle wine must to the starter bottle. I had to relieve the pressure in the starter bottle over the weekend as it looked almost ready to burst. When the bottle is almost full and still fermenting, I will add it to the must and see what happens. It is still fermenting but very slowly.

The mead, marrow and youngs kit are all going at a steady pace now. The peach is still going bananas!

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My big news

Posted by --- on Saturday 21 June, 2008

Tomorrow – or rather today –  is a BIG DAY. I see my L.

In April (the day before his 20th birthday) he went to visit his girlfriend and hasn’t been back since. It’s a long story and one that I don’t want to pour out online but it looks like he’s left home… I think… if I ask him he says he hasn’t and is just spreading his wings a bit but he has now rented a room and is no longer with his girlfriend. He talks of getting a job there or going to uni. He’s met lots of new people and it sounds like he’s having a great time; I wouldn’t change anything but I miss him so much. I sobbed for weeks. I cried so hard I could hardly stand or breath sometimes. I couldn’t talk about him to anyone and he would come into my head at the most inconvenient time – standing on the playground waiting for the twins, in a queue in Asda etc – and my eyes would fill, a huge lump would form in my throat and tears would spill down my face. This has only stopped this week and mainly because I only gloss over him when I think about him (if that makes sense) If I actually think about him and that he won’t be here anymore, bouncing about and chatting and laughing with me then it kills me again – just writing it has set me off. I’ve lost my son, my friend, my confidant, I miss him telling me about his day, his dreams, the new people he’s met, the new experiences he’s had. I’ve watched him turn into this amazing man and I’m so proud of him! But now, I think, he’s gone.

Then out of the blue, he texts me and says that he will be quite close to home on Saturday (which is also Litha – the summer solstice which is another story about wanting to go to Stonehenge but that can be next year) and can we go and see him. I would love to and am going to but at the same time I think it will set me off emotionally again – not that that will stop me! I think it will be hard for the twins too. Poor K can’t speak to him on the phone without sobbing and crying so hard he can’t talk (not that we’ve talked much – twice). J handles it better but said tonight “When you say L, you do mean my brother L don’t you? Are we really going to see him? I thought he’d left for good. I don’t think he’ll ever come home and I never thought I’d see him again! I can’t wait till tomorrow now!” He’s asked me to take some of his work to show people for interviews which all points to his new life away from us. He will also be with a new friend and the friend’s parents which I will find really hard to cope with. Not because I’m jealous of them but because I’m embarrassed about myself. I’m so big now. I don’t look at my reflection anymore but I went to buy new clothes for tomorrow and went into the changing rooms. It had a full length mirror and I was devastated by my reflection. I have an image in my head – not that I actually picture myself often – but it doesn’t compare to reality. Its about 10 years and 5 stone out of date… I really need to do something but I don’t know what. I looked up my points for ww ( I used to go so have all the books etc) and as before, I don’t eat enough to make up my daily points allowance. If I tried to match it I would gain weight I’m sure! I have been cutting down on things and have lost almost a stone but that’s not going to help my self image for tomorrow is it? Also, I’m told that the parents of L’s friend are quite wealthy, well travelled and a higher social class (posh was the term…). We have never travelled, aren’t in poverty but not well off and are working class. With my confidence at such a low level, I’ll just feel as if I’m not good enough, out of my depth and feel as if they’re judging me. I’m not unintelligent and I know that they probably wont be but that won’t help as I’ll be judging myself harshly in their eyes and probably unfoundedly as I’m sure they aren’t that shallow. Oh well, scared as I am, I want to see L so I’ll be there no matter what.

My other news for this week is about teeth.. yep teeth. A month or so ago one of my molars, in fact after the mistakes of a previous dentist, one of my few remaining molars, had a huge piece drop out. With my characteristic love of dentists I decided that as I felt no pain, I’d ignore it. Then the pain started. I’ve had a run of bad luck with dentists who seem to make mistakes with my mouth. They’ve pulled out wrong teeth (yes plural), perfomed major (and I mean major as in 5 lots of surgery under general anaesthetics to correct a facial injury I had as a child) operations that left me eating out of a straw for months on end and then lost all of my notes and left dentistry so that I can never have normal teeth due to the damage done to the roots. I had one dentist attempt the removal of an infected tooth with an abscess without anaesthesia with a nurse pinning me down, I’ve had fillings put in that have covered the teeth beside the one filled so that I can no longer floss, fillings that have eroded my gum line as they were over filled.. and more… Anyway, my confidence in dentists raises nothing about zero. I’m not saying there are no good/nice ones but those I’ve seen have been in situations that I can’t see them regularly. My last dentist was supposed to be specialised in people with dental phobias but made you feel like he wasn’t interested as he was far too busy. Ok whine over (though with dentists I’m only just starting!)

So, yes pain… I’ve been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen which is no longer working. I dont want to go to the last dentist I registered with so went about looking for another. The UK dentist problem is well documented but I was lucky to find one accepting new patients and less than 10 miles away. I rang, registered and was told the earliest anyone can see me is August..! No that’s not a typo. It’s now June and I can go in 7 weeks. The pain relief is no longer working and tonight I took codeine and wine… seems to be taking the edge of but last night I was up till 4am with it, managed to fall asleep. Woke at 7 with my face throbbing, took more pain killers and tried to sleep again. Our local hospital have a service that will see you if you are unable to register with a dentist but I went before (one of the good dentists – the other was at Stafford hospital and if I could find out who he was and where he practices I would travel the country to be his patient as he was so good and really put me at east.) and the last time I rang they said that I have had time to register at my own dentist and I should go and find one instead of seeing them. I’m hoping that they won’t react the same this time. I can’t go tomorrow anyway as its my BIG DAY and I don’t think they’re open on Sunday. It means I need to cope till monday and I’m not really sure how. Nightimes are the worst. I’m doing ok right now but thats alcohol and drugs for you, in fact I feel more spaced out than anything (prob why I’m typing so much on here too!) but another 3 days isn’t appealing at all.

OK now I’ve realised that I’m inebriated and waffling I’m going to finish here. Wish me luck with my BIG DAY and a succesful dental outcome wont you? ~x~

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Posted by --- on Saturday 21 June, 2008

I actually got around to syphoning the wine from out of the shed tonight. It’s rice and raisin, very dry and has been there for months as I didn’t know what to do with it! I will update all the info properly when I find my notes. I think it had an SG of .990 after its initial fermentation so I added sugar to make it sweeter and was trying to get my head around C.J.J. Berry’s chapter on Specific Gravity and sugar content. He talks about alcohol content though and I’m more interested in taste than strength – I’d much rather have a weaker wine that is to my palette and I enjoy drinking than one that isn’t as nice but blows your socks off! The wine in the shed still seems to be fermenting as the lid was bowed out with the internal pressure.

I bought a lidded bucket (for elderflower recipes) and some new rubber bungs (for the airlocks on the rice and raisin) from the market today; £3.95 for the bucket and 5 bungs at 30p each. K went to a friends party and J went to work with S (delivery indian take-away) tonight so I made a sugar solution with 1lb of sugar in a jug mixed with enough wine to make up to 1.5 pts. I then added 1/2 pt to each demijohn before topping them up with the racked wine. I’ve no idea why I’ve done this – it just seemed like the right thing to do lol. I’ve numbered them 1,2, and 3 in order of how they were filled – number 3 may have some sediment in it. I then added airlocks, cotton wool to deter the fruit flies and put them back in the shed. Number 2 looked like it was still bubbling away but I’ll check tomorrow.

After fetching K back from the party we spent 2 hours in next door’s jungle trying to get to the elderflowers. The garden is an overgrown mass of brambles, nettles and grass covered bricks, blocks, and fencing. The weeds are taller than I am and it’s quite treacherous under foot but we managed to get enough flowers to make a start on elderflower wine and elderflower cordial.

The recipes I’m using are from users on one of my favourite places: the selfsufficientish forums which I’ll post below.   There are other recipes about such as the one in C.J.J. Berry’s book First Steps in Winemaking, and one at Wiccan tradition . The SG of my wine with the sugar added is 1.115 at a temp of 68.

I’d like to try fritters (and here) but I don’t have any more flowers… 😦

I have an elder in a pot but it’s too small to produce flowers. I will put it into the ground when I can. I will also take some cuttings from next doors plants as this site says they grow well from cuttings.

Elderflower Cordial

An easy to make drink that can be frozen in plastic bottles, leaving room for expansion, so it can be enjoyed all year round. It will keep for almost a month if just bottled, although is best to drink within 2 weeks. To ensure no mould, it is better that you freeze elderflower cordial and it can be enjoyed as a christmas drink.


  • 20 elderflower heads
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 2 tsp of citric acid (ask at your chemist or winemaking supplier)
  • 1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) of sugar
  • 1.2 ltr (2.5 pints) boiling water


Boil a kettle for the water.Fill a bowl or small bucket with all the other ingredients.
Pour the water over the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Skin the surface of the water to get rid of the scum that can arise.
Cover with a cloth (mine has a pillow case over it).Stir twice a day for five days.
Strain though a fine sieve though a fine sieve or through muslin cloth and decant into sterile screw topped bottles.
As with other cordials dilute with 5 parts water to serve .
Experiment with it and add it to some of your favourite spirits. It is really nice as a gin mixer.

Elderflower wine


  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 500mls (1 pint) of elderflowers – to obtain this pick or shake of the elderflowers and place into a measuring jug. Don’t push them down but do shake them down. Be careful not to add any of the bitter green stems.
  • 3.5 litres (8 pints) of boiling water
  • 1.3kg (3 lbs) sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 25g (Half an ounce) yeast


Put lemon rind with the elderflowers and pour over boiling water
Allow to stand for 4 days, stirring occasionally.

Strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth
Stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast
Keep at room temperature to ferment, try not to let it go down to 18c (65f)
When you are sure all the bubbling has ceased, stir the wine and allow to settle for 3 days
Strain again carefully
Put in a demijohn (not bottles)
After 3 months maturing, put into bottles.

other links
lucs winelog

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