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One-Stop Remedy Shop For the Self-Reliant


Conniption
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Conniption's Apothecary Shop for The Self-Reliant

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The Master Salve to Heal Anything in Record Time

I grow comfrey and plenty of it so every summer I watch for just the right moment to pounce. Invariably, I walk out one early summer morning and  there it is, positively shimmering with life-force and ready to be immortalised.

Take ten or fifteen of the most beautiful unmarked leaves you can find, in a garden, park or hedgerow, pierce the stems with a needle and thread and hang the entire ‘laundry line’ in a warm, dry place for two weeks. When they are withered and feel more leathery than moist, pack them tightly in a jar and cover them with grapeseed oil, or fractionated coconut oil, any good non-food carrier oil is fine.

By the time autumn rolls around you are ready to make salve.

You need a 4:1 ratio of oil to best-quality beeswax and a small saucepan of simmering water over which you nest a one litre bog-standard pyrex borosilicate jug. Pour into the jug your four parts carrier oil and one part beeswax—an excellent primer is here:

https://www.humblebeeandme.com/a-quick-guide-to-beeswax-liquid-oil-ratios/

then let it melt together slowly while you assemble your volatile oils.

amounts I usually use:

one cup carrier oil
1/4 cup tightly packed grated or shaved beeswax

Remove the jug from the simmering water when the wax has melted completely and add:

three tablespoons comfrey oil and twenty-five drops each of

Lavender essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Patchouli essential oil
Frankincense essential oil

This salve will close up cuts so fast that it is essential you make sure the wound is thoroughly clean before applying. Any non-life-threatening cut should be fully closed up within 48 hours. Where this salve really shines is nettle stings—stops the pain within seconds and the anti-inflammatory effects halts any rash before it starts. It eases bumps and bruises to an astonishing degree, helps chapped lips, nappie rash, scrapes and even itchy bumholes, as well.

Note: I have had one jar of macerating comfrey on the go for around fifteen years; every summer I add a few more withered leaves and top up with oil. The longer it goes the more powerful it seems to be.

___________________________________________________

Thieves' Oil

At the height of the Bubonic plague, four apothecaries and perfumers from Marseilles became famous for robbing the possessions of the infected dead – people were amazed that the thieves were able to touch the bodies and remain healthy. They were arrested in the act and brought before the magistrate who pronounced death by hanging unless they confessed how they were able to accomplish their death-defying crimes. 

They indeed confessed and now we all benefit.

All the uses you can put it to if you’re aren’t interested in robbing the dead:

https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/thieves-oil.aspx

Blend together:

40 drops clove bud essential oil
36 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
16 drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil

Double, triple or halve the amounts as needed.

If you’re too impatient to count it out a drop at a time, I have worked out amounts in measuring spoons:

1 tbs. Clove Essential Oil
1 tbs. Lemon Essential Oil
2 ½ tsp. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
2 tsp. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
2 tsp. Rosemary Essential Oil

Apply several drops to a hankie before you leave the house—good for sniffing like a plague-epoch nosegay, or sanitise your hands as you go. maybe have one hankie for sniffing, one for sanitising. 

___________________________________________________

Best Mosquito Repellent Ever

two parts carrier oil like grapeseed or fractionated coconut oil
two parts birch tar essential oil
one part shaved or grated beeswax

take a small saucepan of simmering water over which you nest a one litre bog-standard pyrex borosilicate jug. Add the oils and beeswax and stir till the wax is melted. Pour into one jar or several small metal tins if you want to give as gifts.

Deeply profound, primordial scent of woodsmoke. People won’t be able to stop sniffing you. Mosquitos, midges and gnats will want nothing to do with you.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mystic-Moments-Birch-Tar-Essential-Oil-100-Pure-100ml-EO100BIRCTAR/322554055637

Note: may permanently stain light fabrics.

___________________________________________________

Lip Balm Like Being Kissed by an Angel

15 grams shaved/grated beeswax
20 grams cocoa butter 
47 grams sunflower oil
15 drops rosemary essential oil 
20 drops peppermint essential oil 
Pea-sized drop of lanolin (don’t use much of this or your balm will taste bad)

You know the drill: simmering water with pyrex jug over it, melt all the ingredients together and pour into a small jar you can trust in case you leave this in your car on a summer day :-)

Edited by Conniption
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7 minutes ago, spunko said:

How much of those have you acquired within the past few weeks @Conniption ?

I have a similar amount, at a guess. But I've not bought any extra supplies as rather smugly I already had loads.

I definitely topped up with 1kg each of the spices I use most like ginger, cumin and so on, but I've had those kilner jars for prob ten years. (I make a lot of curries :-D)

Note: the major supermarkets irradiate all their spices and herbs in those stingy little bottles so I recommend going on ebay and buying from a spice merchant in bulk, cheaper and less tainted by the bottom line. If we are going to be culturally enriched we may as well take advantage of it where we can.

Edited by Conniption
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5 minutes ago, Conniption said:

I definitely topped up with 1kg each of the spices I use most like ginger, cumin and so on, but I've had those kilner jars for prob ten years. (I make a lot of curries :-D)

Note: the major supermarkets irradiate all their spices and herbs in those stingy little bottles so I recommend going on ebay and buying from a spice merchant in bulk, cheaper and less tainted by the bottom line. If we are going to be culturally enriched we may as well take advantage of it where we can.

Indeed, although my argument would be that we don't need to be enriched just to be able to buy spices in bulk.

Slopping Pataks out of a jar, is all most of them do.

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27 minutes ago, spunko said:

Indeed, although my argument would be that we don't need to be enriched just to be able to buy spices in bulk.

Slopping Pataks out of a jar, is all most of them do.

There was an asian food shop in Whalley range back in 1991. Feed them, they will come.

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1 hour ago, spunko said:

Indeed, although my argument would be that we don't need to be enriched just to be able to buy spices in bulk.

Amen, Brother.

Quote

Slopping Pataks out of a jar, is all most of them do.

Something about pasteurised food puts me off and it is so easy to learn how to cook Indian cuisine. Here is my teacher, this book changed everything for me:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-India-Britain-Recipes-Kitchen/dp/024114633X/ref=sr_1_3?crid=NBI0BF01YRT6&keywords=meera+sodha&qid=1584543925&sprefix=meer%2Caps%2C284&sr=8-3

Even most Indian restaurants use huge catering packs of ready-made sauces, which leads me to another point that never fails to irritate: most legacy Brits know sweet F.A. about the difference between Pakistani bullshit fast food and proper Hindu and Sikh cuisine. Or for that matter Persians, whom I always quite like as people, and the Ayatollah Iranians—huge diff in outlook, philosophy, hospitality and quality cooking.

But that's enough casual bigotry for one post.

Edited by Conniption
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Coronapocalypse Cookery: The Laziest and Most Satisfying Bread in the World

bestloaf.thumb.jpg.55efb50559666bfe869e46881eac00f6.jpg

Another one-pot, low-tech wonder, this recipe will yield the open-hole structure and backbone of any of the best rustic breads, all it takes is ten times the rising time and one-tenth the labour to achieve.

400 g bread flour, plus more for the work surface
1 g instant yeast
8 g salt
300 g water

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with cling film and let it rest for 18 hours in a warm kitchen, 24 hours in a cold kitchen.

2. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then shape it into a ball with folded side down

3. Generously coat a non-terrycloth tea towel with flour, then transfer the dough seam-side-down and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 230 C. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with a lid on it (black cast iron, enamelled cast iron) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Carefully turn out of the blazing hot pan and cool on a rack or just tear into it right away.

Your new best friend, a six or eight quart cast iron dutch oven—Lodge, Staub, Le Creuset are all good brands but many no-name vintage ones can be had on eBay, as well:

do.jpg.e6174c91a129780cc786d0346492da25.jpg

 

Edited by Conniption
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Coronapocalypse Cookery: The Three Great Primavera Plants of Britain, Chickweed, Ramsons and Nettles

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It just sparkles with life force, Chickweed is a powerpack of vitamin C and A and natural anti-inflammatories, good for skin and hair, joints, digestive system, liver and kidneys. Delicious in salads and stands out as the star of pesto, though my favourite use is in spring tonic.

It grows everywhere, but take care not to pick on roadsides or municipal parks since you do not know that it is clean and clear of poisons. I grow it on purpose—seeds are available on eBay, it goes mad in any sort of soil—that way I know it is pristine.

To make a simple tincture, stuff an empty clear liqueur booze bottle with well washed and air-dried fresh chickweed, really pack them in there tight, then pour in the highest proof clear alcohol you can get, anything over 43% should do, the higher the better. Cap it and put it away in the dark, shaking it whenever you remember. When next January rolls around, pour through cheesecloth into a sterilised jar and take as a tincture-one teaspoon to a small glass of water. You will really get a jump on spring and summer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellaria_media

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_ursinum

Wild Garlic, Ramsons, love moist woodland, and it is there or in your garden where you will be guaranteed the safest places to gather. It is widely known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral properties, and has a wealth of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper.

Although all types of garlic have this benefit, wild garlic is thought to be the most effective at lowering blood pressure.

Check for the signature garlic scent by rolling it in your fingers—some people have mistaken Lily of the Valley for Wild Garlic and made themselves ill. The picture below is of my favourite place to gather and showing early growth when the leaves are most tender.

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Ramson Pesto

2 bunches of well-washed ramsons. A ‘bunch’ is what will fit in the circle your thumb and forefinger make, tightly

60 grams of whatever nut you like: pine nuts, walnuts, cashews. I used Brazil nuts for the bowl of pesto in the photo above
One garlic clove
125 ml olive oil

a tight handful of grated parmesan cheese

pinch of sea salt

pinch of pepper

a squirt of lemon

Blitz everything in a food processor or mash in a large mortar or chopchopchop. Then chop some more.

Deliriously garlic. Variations may include toasting the nuts and garlic clove first, or a dash of vinegar instead of lemon.

Ramsons are also great stir-fried, tucked into an omelet or simply steamed and dressed with olive oil.

The third great British green is Stinging Nettle. A mineral powerhouse, I prefer the leaves as tea and the root as tincture, therefore stick with Ramsons and Chickweed as food.
 

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3 minutes ago, sarahbell said:

I think my ramsons have self seeded as there are lots of seedlings appearing next to the patent ones. :)

 

Once they find a spot they like they go wild!

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17 minutes ago, Conniption said:

Once they find a spot they like they go wild!

I have raspberries horseradish and comfrey on my plot. And ribena berries. I like things that can look after themselves.

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Very rare to get wild garlic round here, people from the more northern and western parts will be amazed as it grows everywhere there. You have to be quite selective in the SE and find a damp site normally by woodland.

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Coronapocalypse Cookery: Clarified Butter

I have never understood why people shell out extra to buy cold-pressed vegetable oils, then immediately whack the heat right up to cook with them. Olive, canola/rape, sunflower—they all break down into a harmful substance after about 60 seconds on the heat, ultimately clogging arteries, confusing your gall bladder, making your life an eventual misery.

Our ancestors knew what was good; I bang on about clarified butter throughout this thread and there's a reason for it: It's animal-based so it takes effort to make it break down under heat. It's tough, it's timeless and it cooks beautifully. Select nice, unsalted butter, not the discount kind with a high water content. Three standard blocks should yield half a kilo of clarified butter and a lovely little bowl of browned bits to dress your veg or add to your baking.

Don't fall for the corporate line of the past sixty years that hydrogenated vegetable oils are what you need. It's been a lie the entire time.

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Get a small saucepan with half an inch of simmering water, nest a 2 litre borosilicate jug on top and place three blocks of butter inside.

cb2.thumb.jpg.d04cce747916319c75d3de64370e084b.jpg

Left: almost fully melted but still opaque and with just an edge showing from the top block of butter. Right: Clear as glass and showing the milk solids in the bottom. Now slowly and carefully pour the clear butter oil into the container you plan to store it in.

cb3.thumb.jpg.4668355f538cd2078575bdb4957557a2.jpgDon't throw out what's at the bottom. Tip the simmering water out and pour the milk solids into the pan. Boil off the remainder of the water and when the solids get glue-y start stirring the brown bits off the bottom. At medium heat the entire salvaging of the solids should only take a minute or two, tops. When it smells too lovely to bear anymore, it's probably close to burning so pour into a small bowl and save to dress your veg or potatoes or popcorn or in baking or just spread it like a greedy git on bread or crackers and eat it up.

If clarified oil is the body of the butter, then the the browned milk solids is the soul, the part that makes your food taste so nice.

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Austin Allegro
On 15/03/2020 at 21:30, Conniption said:

Coronapocalypse Cookery: How a Ribeye and the Finest Butter Met Hot Iron and Fell in Love

teess2.thumb.jpg.0286bddac04f8bb151ec38848dbd536c.jpg

It occurred to me that I always cook this like it is something holy and profound, a sacramental ritual of which the most important tenet is to have everything immediately to hand so the meat is never left unattended. This animal gave its life for my nourishment and deserves the full and reverent focus demanded by true gratitude.

It's another low-tech meal suitable for wood-burner or open fire with a grill table and featuring a method dating back to whenever ancient man began to use metal as a cooking surface. 

Wash the steaks, grind lots of black pepper on a plate and press the meat against the pepper so it’s firmly embedded. Then do the same to the other side of the steak. Don’t skimp.

Pop a couple of teaspoons of clarified butter in an old cast iron skillet and whack the heat right up to the high side of medium. Clarified butter is my go-to because the pan can be blazing hot but the oil never starts to break down or burn.

The instant the steak meets the hot metal it says, KEESHHHHHHHHH!—the mating call of good meat. Set the timer for three minutes if the steak is cold, two if it’s cool or if sliced particularly thinly, then plop a generous pat of best quality salted butter (my fave is shown above) on the top side and leave the steak alone. I do not nudge or budge or lift an edge to see what’s happening underneath; it serves me to think of this as an act of faith. 

When the timer goes, slide a steel spatula under and flip it, then watch that topside butter run screaming out the edges, it's beautiful. Set the timer for two or three minutes depending upon the parameters outlined above and start basting.

It's like oiling a piece of fine wood and seeing that beautiful grain pop into high contrast. The browned steak goes glossy and succulent, the very definition of anticipation. When the timer goes again, spatch the meat onto a warmed plate, immediately pour a couple of glugs of scrumpy cider in the pan, deglaze it and pour it over the steak, then wipe out the skillet with a damp tea towel and hang it up.

The meat is hot and red inside and should cut with just a fork. I take a baked maris piper potato out of the oven and bash it on the counter to make it fluff, then salt and pepper it. There's plenty of butter sauce on the plate to sop it in. A salad or broccoli would suit beautifully. 

A perfect meal.

 

Blud, I didn't even bovva to read dat. Wot time is KFC open, innit?

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Re: one of the earlier posts - serotonin is associated with hibernation and torpor in animals, and IBS and learned helplessness in humans.

If it really was a happy hormone, SSRI anti-depressants would work well 100% with no side effects.

It is now thought they also increase allopregnanolone in the brain, which causes the 'good effects'

 

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24 minutes ago, Loki said:

Re: one of the earlier posts - serotonin is associated with hibernation and torpor in animals, and IBS and learned helplessness in humans.

If it really was a happy hormone, SSRI anti-depressants would work well 100% with no side effects.

It is now thought they also increase allopregnanolone in the brain, which causes the 'good effects'

 

Just as there is a difference between viitamin D in a pill and the vitamin D produced naturally by sun on skin, same goes for serotonin produced naturally by the body versus a synthesised one-size-fits-all pharmaceutical product.

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Heart's Ease
On 18/03/2020 at 16:30, Conniption said:

Coronapocalypse Cookery: The Laziest and Most Satisfying Bread in the World

bestloaf.thumb.jpg.55efb50559666bfe869e46881eac00f6.jpg

Another one-pot, low-tech wonder, this recipe will yield the open-hole structure and backbone of any of the best rustic breads, all it takes is ten times the rising time and one-tenth the labour to achieve.

400 g bread flour, plus more for the work surface
1 g instant yeast
8 g salt
300 g water

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with cling film and let it rest for 18 hours in a warm kitchen, 24 hours in a cold kitchen.

2. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then shape it into a ball with folded side down

3. Generously coat a non-terrycloth tea towel with flour, then transfer the dough seam-side-down and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 230 C. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with a lid on it (black cast iron, enamelled cast iron) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Carefully turn out of the blazing hot pan and cool on a rack or just tear into it right away.

Your new best friend, a six or eight quart cast iron dutch oven—Lodge, Staub, Le Creuset are all good brands but many no-name vintage ones can be had on eBay, as well:

do.jpg.e6174c91a129780cc786d0346492da25.jpg

 

Bread maker bread has gone down a treat. But my goodness, this is something special.  Got my timing for second prove out of whack because of life and it's still come up trumps.

IMG_20200327_112940929.jpg

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Austin Allegro

Question on cooking with olive oil being bad for one. I thought this was why the Mediterreanean peoples had good health?

Or do they just use olive oil for salad dressings etc and cook with butter?

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6 minutes ago, Conniption said:

Just as there is a difference between viitamin D in a pill and the vitamin D produced naturally by sun on skin, same goes for serotonin produced naturally by the body versus a synthesised one-size-fits-all pharmaceutical product.

There isn't though, commercial vitamin D is produced from sheep lanolin 

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1 minute ago, Austin Allegro said:

Question on cooking with olive oil being bad for one. I thought this was why the Mediterreanean peoples had good health?

Or do they just use olive oil for salad dressings etc and cook with butter?

Overall, 'The Mediterranean Diet' is a myth, designed and executed in the best Edward Bernays fashion to sell... more olive oil. It was also around the time that margarine companies were adding a dash to their product (think Olivio) as a stalking horse to push that hydrogenated shit as a healthier alternative. This man...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancel_Keys

...pretty much kicked all this off. Despite a few good insights, his love for that part of the world influenced him to a questionable degree and started the western world off on yet another nutrition guilt: namely the 'all fats are bad fats' craze of the eighties and nineties.

this bloke explores the entire question in greater depth than I ever managed and though he comes out as a cautious supporter by the end he still supports stronger fats/high heat supposition by the end:

https://deniseminger.com/2011/12/22/the-truth-about-ancel-keys-weve-all-got-it-wrong/

Good nutrition is an ever-shifting target with nearly infinite variables.

 

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25 minutes ago, Heart's Ease said:

Bread maker bread has gone down a treat. But my goodness, this is something special.  Got my timing for second prove out of whack because of life and it's still come up trumps.

IMG_20200327_112940929.jpg

Now that is a loaf to be proud of! With good yeast, bread is a loving, forgiving medium for the most part and a conversation between hands, heart, intent, will, flour, water and magic. Good magic. x

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I've been adding NAC + selenium + molybdenum to my daily vitamin/mineral regimen. It's mucolytic and increases glutathione which is depleted by Coronavirus (apparently). I take it when I drink alcohol too to protect my liver. I order it from America as it's about half the price from Iherb. 

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