With the signs of Spring being in abundance and the children now off school for the Easter half term break I have been feeling rather creative. This creativity has taken the form of making Easter bonnets, preparing afternoon teas and even a bit of egg blowing.
Note to self when dying eggs, make sure that you wear the gloves as well as the children. I was using cold dye in a fabulous shade of flamingo pink and after instructing my girls and their friends about the importance of wearing latex gloves I then removed my gloves to answer the telephone and then proceeded to plunge the blown eggs into the dye… without my gloves on. So this morning I have lovely pink tinged fingernails and a certain pink glow to fingers.
As the sun shone yesterday I had the girls out in the garden with some of their friends making Easter bonnets and enjoying a very civilised afternoon tea, by far the best entertainment was watching the children huff and puff as they tried to blow eggs ready for decorating.
To blow eggs
Prick eggs top and bottom with a needle. You need a larger hole at the bottom of the egg. With a straw blow the yolk and white out of the bottom of the egg into a bowl.
Wipe the blown eggs over with a piece of damp kitchen towel and then you are ready to begin the decorating stage.
If you’re working with very small children, make a small hole in the bottom and let them shake the egg out.
Decorating the Eggs
I have used a variety of things to dye the eggs with including beetroot juice and onion skins. I really love using natural dyes as the results are always a surprise, but as I had a selection of children varying in ages I decided to opt for some cold dye as it’s a quicker process. I mixed the dye up in jam jars and allowed each child to dip their blown eggs into the solution. From the same dye its amazing how the results differed.
In addition I allowed the children to choose to do appliqué eggs by cutting out fabric shapes and attaching with PVA glue or to create collage eggs by gluing on scraps of fabric or pictures from magazines. Finally seal the design with a coat of PVA glue. The trick with these types of eggs is to ensure you have an empty egg box at the ready…I find the plastic ones work best for craft projects.
Once the eggs are decorated and fully dry; use a glue gun to attach a loop of ribbon to the base of the egg for hanging.
A branch left either natural or sprayed with silver paint or ice white works well as an Easter tree. Simply pop the branch in an old plant pot filled with sand and stones. Tie ribbon on some of the branches and decorate the tree with the blown eggs.
Decorating the tree can become a great, family tradition, especially if the children make their own decorations.
Well, back to the egg blowing so until next time I bid you a fond farewell from a sunny West Wales.
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen