Apple leather

A first attempt that worked out really well. 6 apples peeled, cored and chopped then simmered in as little water as I could get away with. I added a squirt of lemon juice and a spoon of sugar then puréed it all before simmering off as much liquid as possible. The paste then went into the dehydrator in a thin layer for 10 hours before being snipped into snack bites. Lasts well in a tin.

Soft amaretti biscuits, oh yum

Simple recipe, as good as any I’ve tried before. Hint, make only this size batch, unless you have the willpower not to devour them all straight from the oven!

2 egg whites whipped to soft peak, 100grams sugar, 100 grams ground almonds, pinch of salt, tablespoon amaretto or almond essence

Pre heat oven to 150 degrees and line two baking trays. Mix the dry ingredients together, then gradually mix in spoonfuls of the egg white gently so you don’t lose the air. Finally add the amaretto or essence. Teaspoons of the mix should be well spaced across the baking sheets before cooking for 15 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire tray, if you can. Can be stored for a short while in a tin, if you must. The batch pictured here are slightly over cooked but still soft inside and delicious. Some recipes suggest making smooth little balls so they look more like the commercial biscuits.

Upcycled bookmarks

I just couldn’t bin the 20 year old x-rays found in a clear out, so decided to turn some into bookmarks.

The sheets feel like heavyweight acetate. They cut and dry emboss well but there is a lot to use up.

This turned into a labour of love as I decided to paper piece die cuts on top of the embossed x-rays sheets. I used a bookshelf themed stamp, die and embossing folder set that came free with a crafty magazine years back, so all round thrifty crafting.

As you can see, I also made more conventional card bookmarks in a fun crafty morning.

Easy Peasy Mint sauce

Copious amounts of mint have been dried, frozen and made into tea already but still there is an abundance to be used. So mint sauce is today’s kitchen craft.

Chop leaves finely (don’t blend or it will be a purée) and steep in boiling water for a couple of minutes to tenderise them. Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar and a pinch of salt, scale up this mix so you have enough to cover the leaves.

Drain the leaves and rinse in cold water to stop them ‘cooking’ then put them in the jar/ saucer before pouring over the vinegar mix. Ready to use in half an hour, will keep in clean jar for weeks.

Liven up peas, potatoes, carrots, chicken and of course goes well with lamb.

Custom laminated pouches

Need to protect those crucial documents…

No need to buy protective pouches. If you have access to a laminator you will just need two laminating pouches to make your own, custom sized pouch,

Cut one pouch, ie both sheets, to the size of pouch you want. In my case this was a tad bigger than my folded letter (which was weirdly folded when posted out).

Separate the trimmed sheets and flip them so the inside faces out.

Place the trimmed sheets neatly inside the other pouch. Position them centrally as you will trace excess plastic off later. (With smaller projects you will get skilled at reducing wastage).

Laminate the pouch as you would usually. When it emerges, trim around the inner pocket leaving a narrow margin. Cut one short end off to access the inside of your pouch.

I used a hole punch to create a tab but this isn’t necessary. Some people re-laminate the finished pouched to seal the cut edges but I don’t find this necessary.

Easy Elderflowers

A generous bag of elderflowers transformed using the easiest syrup recipe with the spare flowers soaked in gin and a little sugar overnight to flavour and lift a simple gin up a level.

Use for cordial, over ice cream, in yoghurt, on fruit tarts or to lift a white wine or cava up a notch (if it lasts that long).

Diy gift wrap, when a bag isn’t big enough

A roll of white paper, neglected stamps and ink. You could also diy wrapping paper by stencilling, splattering, writing or adding stickers. No need to buy and much more personal.

I assembled the stamps on the biggest acrylic block I own ( not that big but am in a no buy mode) and rotated them irregularly.

I think monochrome looks classier and will also use blue washi tape to secure. A coordinating gift tag to finish!