Saturday, 3 September 2011

Pre-School Detox, here we come, and no, it's not wee i'm drinking.

Oh, but i've been a lazy arse this holiday. Laying in until 7, letting the kids stay up till 8pm. Lolling round in pajamas until lunchtime, and sitting chewing the fat with friends while their and mine ran round screaming, flinging mud. Sometimes with an unreasonably early glass of wine. So this week is detox week. Detox from that enjoyable lack of time pressure, and practice hauling me and mine out of bed again, shovelling breakfast down them and shouting "Come ON! COME ON!". Back to the grind and no drinking on a schoolnight. Because i'll have to be up at 6 and out of the house by 8 which is no fun with a hangover, even a mild one (although i've never tried it still drunk.....) Plus, (whisper it) the 6 weeks off the 8 mile round walk to playgroup and back twice, sometimes 4 times a day, along with generous self servings of wine has resulted in my arse being not only lazy but bigger.
So, it's probably a good thing i'll be back to spending the whole day walking back and forth in drizzle soon. But really, what am I going to drink? Non alcoholic beer is shit, just as calorific with no pay-off in fun.  And I hate fake alcohol drinks, as much as I hate that vegetarian bacon that pretends to be bacon. Just don't even pretend, because we all know you really, really, want to get drunk/ eat pig. You can't fake it. So I have decided on proper detox drinking, drinking stuff that will not only taste nicer than non-alcoholic wine or beer, but will actually detox me by helping me. Alright, some have sugar in, but hey, I can't have NO FUN AT ALL.

First up is mint and lemonbalm cordial. This is delicious with tonic water and would probably be really, really lovely with gin, so i've made enough to last me out my month in purgatory,leaving some over for a gin fest afterwards. It is simplicity itself to make.

Get yourself 50g of mint and lemonbalm. I did 30 g mint, 20 lemonbalm. Smoosh it up with 300g of white sugar with  a pestle and mortar if you are feeling like you'd need a PROPER drink DAMMIT, or use a processor till you get mint/sugar pesto. Pour over 300 ml of boiling water, stir, leave till cold. Then sieve out the minty stuff, leaving you with a liquid in a pan, stir till any remaining sugar is gone, then bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Bottle, and cool. Add to tonic water and drink. Lovely. Lasts for a month in the fridge. My nan, and most similar recipes, added green food colouring, because, in truth, the cordial without it looks like wee, but I didn't have any, and I don't care what I drink. It's doing me good. Mint is great for stomach calming and menstrual pain, as well as being handy for stopping wind. Fab! And the lemonbalm is anti-viral, lowers blood pressure, and acts as a calming herb, being slightly soporific. It's also noted for its' anti-histamine properties., If , like me, you are hypothyroid, note that lemonbalm is known to reduce TSH levels, and as such, can be handy on those days when you know your synthetic thyroxine just isn't doing its' job.  And when you're done, don't throw away the green mush, which will have some sugar granules in it, most likely. Use it for a facial mask and then scrub, as mint and lemonbalm are good skin toners, and the sugar will be a gentle scrub. There, i've saved you money, and given you the chance to trick people into thinking you're drinking wee.

Next up is Tangerine Barley Water.This is packed with vitamin C and also has the added benefit of barley, which not only lowers cholesterol, but helps weight loss (apparently). Drinking barley water is an old cure for skin problems. It contains a lot of selenium (which is good news for autoimmune disease sufferers, as selenium is indicated in helping to reduce the severity of autoimmune attacks), and pretty much all your niacin requirements for a day. This drink tastes yummy with tonic water or plain water, and I imagine would make a lovely variation of the gimlet.........Ah. Gin. How I miss you and it's only been a few days.
This recipe makes a slightly concentrated version of barley water, so you don't need to use much. It keeps for a month after bottling, and all the usual precauations apply with regard to bottling stuff. Don't kill yourself with bad hygiene.

You will need 3 juicy tangerines, 1 juicy lemon. Take off the zest and put it into a bowl. Then squeeze all the juice into another bowl, and strain to remove pith and pips. Meanwhile, boil up 85g of pearl barley, boil for 2 mins, drain. Add 1 pint of clean water, bring to boil, and add thr zest. Simmer for 45 minutes. I like to add a cardomon pod to the water too, but this is optional. Then, you want that barley water, so strain it into a pan, and don't , like I did the first time, tip it down the sink in an idiot moment. Add 300g of sugar to it, dissolve. Then add the juice from your tangerines and lemons, bring to the boil, boil for 2 minutes, and bottle. Easy!

And it doesn't look as much like wee.

So, I embrace the sober life, for a few weeks at least, and if I don't lose some of my arse I shall be most put out.


Jan said...

Both of these sound delicious ,Describing your walks to and fro re the school walks reminds me of when my children were young Jan xx

solnushka said...

I really enjoy your blog. I aspire to a herb garden, but sadly have to make do with a few windowboxes. Still, I am so going to make these drinks. Or at least I am when I have found out what lemonbalm is.

Fenwitters said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies! Jan, I spend all day walking when it's term time. But without it I would be the size of a house. I do enjoy the walk to school though, we have a good chat on the way.
Solnushka: it's the one that looks like mint but smells of lemons. Hard to kill. I used to live in a towerblock, and had a windowbox, but the only herbs that did well were oregano, marjoram, mint, lemonbalm and rosemary, ones that didn't mind pot conditions. And forgetting watering.