Jocasta Innes, author of best-selling budget cookery classic, The Pauper’s Cookbook and over sixty other titles on cookery, interior decoration and lifestyle, is giving a free talk for fans at the Eastside Books bookshop on Brick Lane on Saturday June 13th between 12 noon and 1pm. She will be making dishes for visitors to try – some will feature great local ingredients from shops on Brick Lane like the well-known Taj Stores, a few doors down. Come along for a convivial chat about food, tasting session and book signing at Eastside Books in Spitalfields!
Happy Christmas !
Jocasta Innes made some home-made pomanders for Mimimyne to sell at the Eco Design Christmas Fair last weekend, which were a hit with shoppers! They are an Old English traditional gift, used for room scenting and natural moth repellents. If you’re stuck for last minute gifts, try making one of these using the following instructions! You will need a small orange, some cloves, a knitting needle or toothpick (to make holes), ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (optional, if you want to scent the fruit), masking tape and a length of pretty ribbon if you wish to hang it up. Take the orange and decorate with cloves, making a hole with the pin and studding the cloves in close together (but not so the holes touch) in a regular pattern. Ideally, they should cover the surface of the fruit to help preserve it indefinitely. If you want to hang it up, use the masking tape to mark off four strips of orange undecorated in a ‘cross’ pattern from top to bottom of the orange (take this off when you have finished studding in the cloves). This is for your ribbon, so imagine you are wrapping a round parcel and you will see what I mean! Dry in an oven at a low temperature, for an hour. If the surface is covered densely with cloves, you can then roll your pomander in cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice once a day for a week, to add to the lovely Christmassy smell. The orange will shrink to a smaller size, so do not fasten the ribbon on until you have baked it.
With the credit crunch, we are all feeling a little cash-strapped and so I have asked Jocasta Innes, the doyenne of thrifty living (she is the author of classic cooking on the cheap bible, The Pauper’s Cookbook) to allow me to publish some DIY Christmas tips from her book of the same name as my present to Mimimyne fans! I’m her daughter, and as this book was published in 1975 I can remember a lot of these tips being researched in the family home. I am choosing excerpts and adding links and materials that are as green as possible, although my mother always reused and recycled a lot more eco friendly craft and art materials are available nowadays!
“The Tree and Tree Decorations (from DIY Christmas by Jocasta Innes)
Spray walnuts gold. When dry, cut a wire loop, insert both ends into the hole at one end of the nut, twist round, then bring the loop round the nut and twist again to make a small loop to hang it on. Gilded nuts are traditional, and always look charming.
Brass Curtain Rings
If you have any large brass curtain rings, or gilt bangles, use these to frame a shiny bauble, or even a sparkling brooch or earring. Hang the centrepiece from a thread or wire loop, and finish off with a red ribbon bow.”
Mimimyne says it’s very difficult sourcing eco friendly metallic gold paints on the web. So far what I’ve found is a water-based metallic craft paint from decorating direct – it says it is non-toxic and water based paints are more eco friendly. More suggestions welcome! Compostable ribbon is available from Little Cherry at 4.99