We awoke to find that snow had fallen through the night - not a lot of snow - but enough to make the world look beautiful and certainly enough to cause problems on the roads. As the day grew lighter the snow grew heavier. The gardens were transformed into a winter wonderland.
Definitely a day for sitting by the fireside.
Time to pull out my favourite recipe books...the old, dog-eared and tatty ones which have probably done duty in five or six kitchens before they ended up loved and cherished in mine.
There is a huge vat of vegetable broth simmering on the Rayburn, the bread has been baked, the kitchen is warm and filled with delicious aromas. No need for food recipes then, but how about some good old-fashioned home cures for those pesky sore throats and colds?
Linseed Tea ~ a remedy for sore throats and colds. Take half an ounce of linseed, wash it, and put it in a saucepan with a print of cold water. Simmer for half an hour. Add half an ounce of liquorice and a quarter of an ounce of sugar candy. Strain and drink a little at a time.
Treacle Posset ~ Warm a pint of milk, and pour into it a tabespoonful of black treacle. Boil for five minutes. Drink it hot. It is very good for a cough.
Cough Mixture ~ To a pint and a half of water add a pound of black treacle, two ounces of liquorice and boil for half an hour. Add a pennyworth of paregoric*, a pennyworth of aniseed, and some oil of peppermint. When cold, bottle tightly. One tablespoonful every four hours.
* paregoric - a camphorated tincture of opium
Raspberry Milk ~ No draught is more agreeable to a feverish patient than a dessertspoonful of raspberry vinegar mixed in a tumbler of cold water. It should never stand in any metal or glazed vessel for the acid would act upon the surface to an injurious extent.
Raspberry Vinegar ~ Put two quarts of white wine vinegar and two quarts of fine freshly picked raspberries. Let it stand three to four days. Then strain, and to each quart of liquid add a pound of sugar. Put both fruit and vinegar into a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bottle when cold. Take two teaspoonfuls for a cold. Blackberry vinegar may also be used.
Honey Cough Mixture ~ Put into a bottle 4 ozs pure cod liver oil, 1oz of glycerine, 4 oz honey and the strained juice of 3 lemons. Shake well. This mixture should be taken three times a day, after meals.
Perhaps you have a few aches and pains?
Liniment ~ A drachm of oil of cloves and two drachms of amber, with nine drachms of camphorated oil. Mix together and rub on the chest or between the shoulders.
Old-Fashioned Sulphur Salve ~ Mix equal parts of home-made lard and flowers of sulphur to a smooth paste. This very simple ointment is ready for use immediately, and has always been a wonderfully quick cure for most affections of the skin.
Farmhouse Herb Salve ~ This salve is excellent for all sores and bruises, and is particularly good also as a veterinary aid for softening the udders of newly-calved cows, or for sore teats. Its healing properties are remarkable.
You will need 1 lb home-rendered lard and 1 good handful of each of the following: elderflowers, wormwood, groundsel. Cut the herbs into 1 inch lengths. Put into and earthenware pot with the lard, and bring to the boil in the oven. Simmer for half an hour. Then strain into pots and tie down when cool.
This salve can be made from dried herbs, but it is better to use them fresh.
***Do not try this one!*** A cure for lumbago was to carry a little bag of quicksilver in your pocket.
'Reviver' for Blue Fabrics ~ Take an old saucepan - iron or enamel, not brass or copper - and fill it full of ordinary green ivy leaves. When as many as possible have been pressed into the pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. After boiling for 20 minutes, stand the pan by the side of the stove and simmer for 3 hours. Strain off the leaves and to every pint of liquid, add 1 tablespoonful of liquid ammonia. Put into a bottle and cork, and for safety, label "Poison" . It keeps indefinitely.
Spread the garment to be cleaned on a table, and with a cloth (preferably a piece of old blue serge) sponge, giving extra attention to the most soiled patches. Press with an iron afterwards.
...this next one could be particularly useful while we have so much snow around...
Waterproofing Boots ~ Melt two parts of bees-wax with 1 part of mutton fat. Thoroughly blend. Rub on soles and uppers. More easily applied if slightly warmed.