Yesterday saw a wonderful birthday party for birthday herbology girl Karoline! Five eager herbal beavers invaded her kitchen with a motley collection of infused oils, thistle, jojoba, olive, almond, vitamin E and essential oils, as well as gum arabic, powdered sea buckthorn, raisins, ground almonds, oats, brown rice powder, rice papers, cinnamon, beeswax, emulsifying wax, rose water, liquorice, slippery elm powder, dried rose petals, dried lavender, and dried calendula flowers, and bags of lovely glass jars for creams, oinkments, lotions and potions.
Barbara arrived with a wonderful basic recipe (classified) for face cream which turned out to be remarkably simple to make, and turned out beautifully smooth and not in the least ‘claggy’ or oily. Her sample featured frankincense essential oil but we made it with rose water and no EOs at all. Her masterpiece was to use a hand held milk frother, usually employed by would-be home barristas. Instead of whisking like mad with a hand whisk and dropping the aqueous (watery) part in to the oily part drop by drop, Barbara just combined the two, both at a similar, fairly hot temperature, stirring with a metal spoon, then whisked for about five minutes with the milk frother. Amazing results! Shall try at home – first procure a milk frother – and let you know whether it works for me.
We also made raw fruit and cereal bars, incredibly simply, by weighing out and blitzing raisins, ground almonds, oats, brown rice flour, honey, and – this was the second masterpiece of the day – ground Sea Buckthorn powder, which Karoline ordered online from Finland! The flavour of Sea Buckthorn is incredibly fruity and made the whole mixture deliciously tangy, when combined and rolled into a bar shape and wrapped in rice paper.
Joolz and Helen made throat lozenges out of gum arabic, slippery elm powder (not enormous amounts!) liquorice and cinnamon, using honey for the binding element. They certainly did taste like cough sweets or throat lozenges. Joolz made some beautiful pyramidal shapes which collapsed into little blobs (or ‘rabbit droppings’) after ten minutes. These have to dry for a couple of weeks to harden.
We used the calendula infused oil (calendula grown, harvested and dried by Karoline, then used to infuse the oil on a sunny windowsill for a couple of weeks) for calendula oinkment with EOs – I used lavender, such a favourite.
At the end of the afternoon we made a facial toner from a dried rose petal and elderflower infusion (just a pot of tea infused for ten minutes), with a very small amount of organic cider vinegar – enough, however to produce howls of hysterical laughter from Joolz and Helen when they smelled it! The cider vinegar makes the rose infusion go pink instead of brown, so very pretty 🙂 After half an hour or so, the vinegary fragrance had already given way to the rose and elderflower, but the hysteria remained, and we had to finish with a bottle of wine (ingested) and call it a very happy day.