Last Saturday we decided to make the most of the break in the weather and have a walk around the fairly new Conrhenny Community Woodland. Near the Creg ny Baa Pub on the outskirts of Onchan, the woodland is open to the public and currently offers a good sized carpark, graveled walking paths and even a couple of picnicking areas in addition to its grounds, which are work-in-progress. The park is on the site of a former tree plantation but large areas which were once planted with close-set pines have

Poking around in a hedge the other day I happily discovered some bright yellow crab apples [update: they actually they turned out to be Flowering Quince which are very similar and related]. I’d never seen them that colour before so I collected them from the branches and came home to do a bit of internet research. It turns out that there are a few varieties of yellow crab apples out there, all modern cultivars, and they are as excellent to cook with as their wilder cousins. Some of the many

For me, rainy Sundays are for baking, reading and tying up any loose ends around the house. The Melon & Ginger Wine that I started at the beginning of September finished up with its fermentation this week so getting it prepared to lay down was on my to-do list. I could tell the wine was finished fermenting by the lack of tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the surface of the wine. Another indication was how the water in the airlock went slack, indicating little or no pressure from

This is the second time I’ve visited the Manx Food and Drink Festival and though it was great in 2010, it was even better this year. Much was to be had over the 24-25th of September including demonstrations and tastings from local producers, on-site competitions and shopping and even celebrity chefs. This all set in a new and beautiful venue with generally good weather made for an eventful and delicious Manx weekend. While last year I attended as a casual spectator, this year I was on hand as stand-coordinator and

I just love the smell of this soap. I whipped up an experimental batch yesterday using kelp powder and tiny pieces of dried bladderwrack then scented it with rosemary, tea-tree and ginger essential oils. When breathed in it really clears the lungs and invigorates the mind and I can tell that this is going to be wonderful to use in the dark days of winter. Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed often found growing on northern seasides and has anti-aging properties when used on the skin. Studies have shown that

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