Ginger Beer from The Book of Puddings

Considering one of the books I am conserving for my major project is a recipe book, I have been dying to try some of them out! Unfortunately due to all the project work, I haven’t had time until now! So this weekend (along with a fun day out) I set about making some ginger beer from The Book of Puddings. The plan is also to have some of this at our end of year show – so it was important to try it out first!

The recipe in the book

The book has two recipes for ginger beer on the same page, one written by the author and one from a newspaper she had cut out and stuck in. Considering I was only trying out a small batch, I have gone for the newspaper recipe that makes one gallon, rather than two.

Having bought myself some bottles (Lakeland, £4.99 each – fabulous!), and some yeast and cream of tartar, I set to work (thankfully a fellow student pointed out that this was a baking powder and not the cream tartare that goes on scampi, otherwise this ginger beer could have had a very different flavour!).

All the ingredients and bottles laid out!

I’ve written out both recipes here, as the writing is not that legible so small.

2 lb sugar
2 oz cream of tartar
1/2 oz tartaric acid
2 or 3oz bruised ginger
2 pennyworth essence of lemon dropped in the suer
2 gallons of boiling water poured on the ginger alone

Add the other ingredients when mainly cold, add 2 tbs of yeast on toast and let it stand for  12 hours

Bottle and in a few days it will be ready to drink

For one gallon:
1oz of bruised ginger
1lb loaf sugar
one lemon
two tsp of cream of tartar

Pour on 1 gallon of boiling water and when nearly cold add large tbs yeast speed on toast
Strain and bottle next morning

First was to add a bruised ginger to lemon, tartar and sugar. Not being familiar with ‘bruised’ ginger, I bashed it with a hammer a few times, though I may have been a bit over zealous. Also the loaf sugar was replaced with caster sugar, as I forgot to get this at the supermarket.

“Bruised” Ginger – Maybe I did get a bit excited with the hammer…
Sugar, Lemon, Cream of Tartar and Ginger

I realised from the instructions in both recipes that the yeast had to be spread onto toast, and that the fast action yeast I had was not quite the right stuff. I tried reactivating it with a recipe from Mikes Brewery, but I’m not that sure how well it worked, it was more of a liquid than a cream. However, not to be deterred, it went onto the toast, and into the mix!

Reactivating the yeast – not too sure if this worked
In goes the toast…
… 24 hours later

24 hours and much anticipation later, I sieved and bottled it. Then for the sampling! I think it is supposed to sit bottled for a few days, so I will be sampling some more soon to see if that’s even better!

All bottled!
Sampling the brew!

Well its a bit sweet, so I do think it needs time to sit.

Some days have passed, and it is still a bit sweet, and considerably reduced in quantity, as I omitted to tell The Man that it needs time to brew, and he has been merrily drinking it away!

I might try with some better yeast for the show and proper loaf sugar to see if it makes any difference.

Rediscovering the fountain pen (and other favourites)

I recently hit a big landmark birthday (sigh… the wrinkles are coming), and, being blessed with the love of The Man, who knows me so well, I got one of the best presents ever – a brand new Montblanc fountain pen! A thing of pure exquisite beauty. So whilst enjoying the delights of my newest pen, I started to reminiss about the other pens I have loved in the past, and had a rummage in my stationery cupboard to find said pens! And, after a thorough clean, I have got most of them working, with the exception of one – so here they are!

Black Parker pen with 14K nib and black ink

Red Parker pen with blue ink

Montblanc Meisterstuck with with 14K nib and green ink

Blue Sheaffer pen with turquoise ink

Silver Waterman pen with blue ink

Waterman nib in pieces – how sad!
fILOFAX pen for Mini and Pocket organisers

Yard-O-Lead pencil in rolled gold

Sheaffer biro in electroplated gold

Pencil, made in Japan

Very thick pencil, made in Japan

uni POSCA thick pen with light blue ink

Despite all these wonderful pens, my handwriting and spelling is still embarrassingly horrendous – so apologies if you can’t read any of it!

What’s your favourite type of pen?

More new tools!

It was my birthday recently, and along with a beautiful fountain pen from The Man (which I LOVE), I also got this beast from my lovely folks! This is sure to make my diary manufacture a breeze!

The Beast – I might name it that!
Turns this….
…into this…
…and therefore this!

Aren’t I the lucky one!

There’s nothing like new tools!

I have been remiss in my writing and musings and am ashamed! However, after a lovely weekend seeing lots of friends and visiting Dorset and Devon, I have returned with a new boost of energy and am determined to get back on track!

Whilst in Dorset, The Man and I had a peruse through a great little market in Bridport, which I think is there every Saturday. It was the sort of place that has excellent tool stands – stands that sell all the tools you will never find anywhere else, and indeed I bought three items that I haven’t found in any other tool shops – amazing! So here they are and the contact details for everyone else who also can’t find them!

Architects ink pen - £3.00
Head of architects pen

A friend told me this was an architects ink pen, which sounds about right, as I knew it was an architects tool. I will be using it for paper repairs – when dipped in water the nib will hold the water and it can be dragged across the tissue to make an accurate water line to tear across. Up until now I have been using a japanese water pen, which is good though not so accurate. I’ll need practice using this though! This was £3.00 from Topper Antiques, unfortunately his website does not seem to work, but he can be found on 07779534170.

Archimedes Drill - £2.50

This is something that I know all my colleagues will want as it was a tool used by our board attachment instructor to bore holes into the shoulders of books to form joint tackets. I think hers was from Italy, so great to find them here – it’s called an archimedes drill and I will be using it with the micros drill set below. Both of which came from Andy’s Tool Shed, Andy doesn’t have a website, but does have an email address and is now expecting lots of calls!

Micro drill set - £3.00

The pH of Filofax Paper

Well today I sidetracked a little from my Essay book, to do some pH testing on Filofax paper. I had discussed this briefly with Steve from Philofaxy, and decided to try both the cotton cream paper and white paper. For accurate testing, I sampled five sheets of each and am showing my results below.

20120216-201307.jpg

Cotton Cream
1: 7.6
2: 8.1
3: 7.9
4: 7.7
5: 8.1
Average: 7.9

White Paper
1: 7.2
2: 7.5
3: 7.2
4: 7.0
5: 7.3
Average: 7.2

So in conclusion, both papers are very close to pH neutral which is encouraging. The Cotton Cream is a little more alkali at 7.9 than the white paper.

Neither of them are verging on the acidic side which is good, and the white paper I have used is from 2003, so it has kept acid free for a substantial amount of time.

All in all – very encouraging!

20120216-201313.jpg

More Stamp Paper

As promised some time back, I have now made some more stamp paper, the last one was a sort of practice run, this is what I had been planning. I have made them a lot bigger, A2 in fact, and YES they took a REEEAAALLY long time to make!

Pinks, Purples & Reds
Oranges, Yellows & Browns

The plan is to scan them in high quality and then get them properly printed on a nice archival paper. That way I can use them as book covers, end papers and all sorts of wonderful things! I also won’t have to cut these ones up! I might even put these on my wall as they look quite nice in real life – even if I do say so myself!

Greens and Blues

I have some more in the pipeline, those will be subject specific, a you seem to get so many of the same thing in these bigs bulk packs of stamps, so I am thinking ones with, animals, birds, transport, flowers and maybe a small one with insects!