Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Brr! Just a short one today, folks, as my fingers are too cold to type for more than a couple of minutes. [Even now, I find I’ve inadvertently struck a “wrong” key!] 

The Chilean volcano continues to get up noses. Literally, in some cases! Still, it did add to our moonglow the other night…

But it’s difficult to adjust camera settings in the dark. And cold. And on sloping ground. What an excuse-fest!


I have another small amusement for you. Not too difficult this time!

My first is in P. Like swimming!

   My whole sounds like a recent figure of speech.    

Answers in the comments, please.


And now, for all the thirsty masochists…ginger beer.

For this, one must begin with a “live” plant. Like this:

In a screw-top jar big enough to hold more than 600ml/1 pint combine the following:

8 sultanas

juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp lemon pulp

4tsp sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

600 ml cold water


Leave this in the jar (lid screwed closed) for 2 or 3 days (longer if in cold weather)

When fermentation begins, that is, when it starts to move, begin feeding it. Give it a name, if you like! Every day, for one week, add 2tsp ground ginger and 4tsp sugar.

It will bubble and swirl and keep you entertained.

After  a week of feeding this “thing” you can make and bottle the ginger beer. (I’m digging into the dim recesses of memory now, so it might be a good idea to seek out other recipes for comparison!)

But as I recall … add 1200ml(2 pints) boiling water to 1kg of sugar and stir to dissolve. Add juice of one lemon to the plant and strain through muslin into the sugar-water. Squeeze cloth dry and add 8.4 litres (14 pints) cold water and bottle in clean air-tight bottles. Keep for 3 days before opening.

Your muslin strainer will have a rather unpleasant lump of sludge after you’ve squeezed all that ginger-y goodness through it. Scrape half of it back into your (washed) screw top jar, add 600ml cold water and commence to feed as before.

Now, it goes without saying (or should!) that all equipment must be super-clean. Sterilise the bottles. And, whatever you do DO NOT, EVER, LEAVE  THE BOTTLED BREW IN A HOT PLACE! If you do, be prepared for a visit from the bomb squad…

One hot day, The Man requested some ginger beer to take to work, ” because the other chaps asked where I’d got my refreshing brew.” So I put a dozen bottles in a box and gave strict instructions that it be put in the fridge at work. sigh…

What do they say about men and instructions? The box was left in the workshop, a big ol’  galvanised steel barn of a building with no air-con and a thermometer close  to bursting  its tube. Man! 12 exploding bottles of ginger beer covers a big area.Noisily. And messily.

About the bottle caps – I used a small device that fitted over the crown cap and was struck with a mallet to seal the cap. A bit scary since whacking it too hard might shatter the bottle and not sealing it properly would mean an air leak and wasted brew. But it is possible to buy a capping device that’s operated by a lever-thingy, which, so I’m told, exerts just enough pressure to seal the cap, but not so much force as to crack a bottle. Hmmm

I got the ginger beer bug, along with the home-made bread craze, from my neighbour. She learned, the hard way, that at the height of a Queensland summer, protective clothing is advisable…

Happy days!


















Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

21 thoughts on “WHAT IS THIS?

  1. very happy days indeed! Opening a bottle was always a little tense, us kids half hoping for the excitement of exploding ginger beer, with the glee it gave us at an adults expense, but also kind of hoping that there would be enough left to have a glass..


  2. Y’see, you said put it in the fridge. But you didn’t say WHY 🙂 har har


  3. That ginger beer sounds fantastic. I have a gallon of Skullcap infusing at the moment, but that’s a different thing entirely!


    • Yes, I read about your skullcap. Is it scutelleria? Or something else?I have scutelleria rambling all through the side garden(after years of losing it in hot dry spells!), but never heard of its being used in anything.Common name here is skullcap.


  4. ps: I need a good herbal nervine after the spider incident this afternoon, lol.


    • Yep! I think I’d be looking for a “stiffener” after that! Years ago, when The Man and I were first together, he came inside one day , held out his hand to me with a bloody great wolfie on his palm! He was between me and the door and I almost passed out. Poor fellow didn’t know I was “a bit scared by spiders.” 😉
      But I got my own back when I showed him a big weta.


  5. Cold? Come to Greensboro. 96F Friday; a little cooler today at 89F and then back to the 90’s all next week. Blech.

    Hmm, the picture looks like thistle blooms, sort of, but the stems are odd looking. Maybe Protea which I want but can’t grow here in North Carolina?


    • Well, those pretty little thistle-like flowers are not really what I want you guess. “The odd-looking stems” are the quiz.
      Keep guessing!

      email me to ask about suitable protea. I suspect it’s because of your snow/frost and you want the “king” type.


  6. I have no idea what the answer is to your riddle. But I love the exploding ginger beer story


    • If I’d printed what was said this blog might have been flagged!
      I recall a night when a bottle of cider was opened in a newly-painted kitchen. The wife stormed out, yelling that she wasn’t coming back until everything was spotless!


  7. Phew. In time!



  8. Well, is Christopher right? It looks awful lot like your photo.


    • YES! I knew(hoped!) a crossword-y person would get it!

      Those are indeed pneumatophores (new metaphor was the somewhat convoluted clue) of mangroves. They’re a means of getting oxygen to the roots (and, thus, to the rest of the plant) of plants growing in heavily saline, muddy conditions.

      And I should probably say, for people who may still; be wondering about the P. Like swimming…it’s an old joke: the p is silent , as in swimming!


  9. Clever Christopher and well done you for great clues.Yes, I remember the sound of Grandpa’s ginger beer exploding and the comments of my mother and grandmother. We had a cool place under the back stairs which was usually the perfect environment but one really really hot day – Kapowie!


  10. i’d have never gotten the riddle, but loved the recipe for ginger beer! not that i trust myself to attempt it – i shall be on the lookout for a happy little microbrewry that keeps a few pints on hand!


    • The legal limit for alcoholic content is, I think, 2% but our stuff may have been a tad higher than that! Certainly, ours had far more “grunt” than the wussy commercial kind. 😉


  11. I haven’t tasted ginger beer in ages. Maybe I’ll get brave and try making a batch. Your exploding ginger beer story made me laugh. It also reminded me of the time I was staying over at my friend’s place. I woke to the sound of homemade beer bottles exploding. Luckily I was much younger, because I’d have had a heart attack otherwise.

    It’s good to visit your blog again. It has been an age, but better late than never, right? I hope all’s well there … winter there, summer here. LIfe carries on … I’ve developed a rather bad knitting habit.


    • Hello, Kate! Yes, we do fall in and out of touch sometimes. And why is knitting a bad habit? Do try the ginger beer; it’s much tastier than the shop kind. And my next post features “odd” food!


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