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Cordials and Baskets and a Very Good Event

We had a great weekend at an SCA event, GNEW (Great NorthEastern War) XXV. We only day-tripped up for Saturday (beautiful weather!), but we had plenty of time to visit with friends. My husband and I each taught a class, and I submitted two entries to the potables contest. One entry was a mellowed "Balmarie" cordial of lemon balm and rosemary from much the same recipe as in this LJ entry, from December of the same year. So, a year and half old and that was definitely in its favor. The other cordial had barely been finished for a week, still very raw but drinkable (people liked drinking it :-)). This was my own variant take on a "Uisquebathe" recipe. Those were called "Irish" cordials, and this one kept the dates and raisins and cinnamon but substituted gingerroot for the licorice root. So I called it:

Ginger Irish Cordial

5 c. brandy, 80 proof
3 Tablespoons diced gingerroot
1/4 c. raisins, chopped
6 pitted dates, chopped
2 small cinnamon sticks, broken
1-1/2 c. of a simple syrup of 1 c. water to 2 c. sugar (with half raw sugar and half white sugar)


The flavorings and alcohol were put in a glass jar and allowed to sit for 5 days, stirred each day. The solid material was strained out and squeezed through a nylon coffee filter and unbleached paper coffee filters. A sugar syrup was then added in the proportion of just under 1:2 parts of syrup to liquid.

The class was on coiled baskets of an early Norse style. Of course I had to teach baskets, since that's my current enthusiasm, but I was very nervous about what type of basket to make and whether we could get through enough instruction and work in a single hour to make it worthwhile. Woven baskets are easier to start, but harder to finish, so I went with coiled and tried a few versions ahead of time:

Sample Baskets

The basket to the right is what I taught and luckily most seemed to get the hang of it. There's a link to the handout (with the instructions) from the full page description at deviantArt.