The weather may be cold outside, and in our case here in England at the moment - freezing with snow, but January is the month in which I like to plan creative projects for the coming months. As well as my passion for Interior projects for myself or for clients, I love to plan what I want to grow in the kitchen garden, what I can then cook with the results, and what further developments to our landscaping we are going to do. What better time to immerse oneself on a cold winter's evening than with seed catalogues, beautiful blogs and especially, inspirational books......I can't get enough of them and could easily get completely carried away on Amazon if I allowed myself to!
A new year's gift to myself recently, was this beautiful book 'Gifts from the Garden' by Debora Robertson. Debora is the associate food editor of Red Magazine and works for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage. She also writes her lovely blog: lickedspoon.blogspot.com.
Packed with inspirational projects using plants and produce that can be grown easily in your garden, it is filled with inventive ideas to make beautifully presented, delightful homemade gifts. Ranging from preserves, liqueurs and edible treats, to fragrant firelighters, table decorations and gorgeous homemade body scrubs, bubble baths and moisturisers. Simple and original gift ideas, costing very little but created with love, care and thought - these are the things that I personally love to give and especially to receive myself.
It is hard to choose a favourite project from this wonderful collection, but one that particularly caught my eye was how to make a 'Trio of Tisanes', with the lovely idea of writing out instructions for making the tisane on a gift tag and packaging it up beautifully. For a very special gift, Debora suggests adding a pretty teapot and tea cup, or perhaps also a pot of honey to sweeten and if you are feeling particularly generous, a tea strainer too. With recipes for Energising, Calming and Digestive blends, there is something for all tisane lovers. With my New Year's health drive I have grown to love this delicious healthy choice and shall be making all three, but for now I shall leave you with the recipe for the 'Energising' tisane, which is suggested as the perfect, uplifting remedy to combat that late afternoon slump......I'll drink to that!
25g dried peppermint leaves
5g dried marigold petals
5g dried ginger
2 pieces of dried lemon grass roughly chopped
2 strips of dried orange zest, pared
Dark coloured glass jars, pots or airtight tine
Muslin and string (optional)
Make your blend and tip into a dark-coloured jar or an airtight tin to help preserve the flavour. Alternatively, cut some circles of muslin, spoon a couple of teaspoons of the blend into the centre of each one and tie into bundles with string.
Allow a generous teaspoon of the blend per person and one for the pot. All herbal teas will keep, stored in a cool, dark place, for a couple of months.