Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Making hazelnuts/cobnuts/filberts edible

Hazelnuts, cobnuts and filberts all taste similar and offer a natural package of multivitamins and minerals that make them worthy of being fit for a king or queen. They are, however, extremely bitter and so have lost their popularity except in various ready prepared foodstuff favourites. It is easy to make this nut sweet, mellow and magnificent and once you know how, they can become part of your daily nutrition of excellence. All it takes to sweeten the hazelnut (cobnut or filbert) is a little heat. Either place them on a baking tray in the oven for ten minutes on a medium heat or under the grill or stir them in a pan on the top of the stove. The heat slightly roasts the nut and sweetens the flesh. I always leave on the brown skin but this is easily removed if you prefer an extra sweet nut – place the cooked nut into a tea-towel or clean cloth and gently roll the package on a hard surface with your hands. The outside brown flesh all falls off leaving just the fleshy inner nut, clear of the skin and they are ready to eat and enjoy. They may be added to cereals, cakes, chocolate, eaten by themselves .. so many choices.

See below for the vitamins and minerals that each nut is packed with.



Close-up of hazelnuts

Hazel nuts in a wooden bowl

Hazelnuts - Kentish cobnuts and filbert nuts all taste the same

Hazelnuts spilling from a bowl

Hazelnuts - Kentish cobnuts - filbert nuts

Hazelnut, Kentish cobnut, filbert – all look and taste very similar – so much so that it would probably take a professional chef to be able to tell them apart by taste alone.

A little note to add why hazelnuts or their cousins should be part of your daily diet – here is what they contain in alphabetical order:

Minerals – calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, zinc and quite a few other trace amounts of other minerals not listed here.

Vitamins – Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K, other tiny amounts of various vitamins.

Ten large hazelnuts are only 80 calories and yet they help to maintain a good and sensible weight as they are slow to digest keeping a person feeling satisfied for hours.

“Bananas in the morning catwalk dread;

bananas in the evening beautifies the head!”

I have always loved and eaten bananas all my life. A banana baby, a banana child and a banana woman. There is little that I do not know about this satisfying, sweet, vanilla, ambrosia berry.

Bananas emit so much radiation that they set off a Geiger Counter when approached. They are noted for the large quantity of potassium that are packed within their skins and are a useful tool for reducing blood pressure naturally. An asset for both constipation bound patients and also ones who may be temporarily suffering from diahorrea. Amongst other useful additions to the diet the banana berry contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12 or Folate, C, E, K, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Manganese, Selenium, Calcium .. and so the list goes on making it a very nutritious food. Bananas

Bananas – variety Cavendish, which is a sub-group produced from a wild variety from Asia called ‘musa acuminata’ and the seedless ‘triploid’ (from three sets). This means that the Cavendish variety of banana is always cloned from a parent plant as it always produces seedless fruits.

Bananas in a bunch

Banana bunch

The most amazing sight is to see an ape take the skin off a banana for it removes it from the bottom blunt end pulling down towards the stem. This most likely is the correct way to peel the fruit as it takes off the ‘inner string’ or the correct name for this ‘Phloem Bundles’ that run from bottom to top of the fruit. A bunch of bananas when pulled off the plant is called ‘a hand.’

It is often found that if a person is allergic to latex they often cannot eat bananas.

The best bananas I have ever eaten are those grown in The Windward Islands: St Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent – all of these bananas are sweet, creamy textured, a milky rice pudding satisfying type of banana.

Never eat bananas early in the day if you have an important meeting as they make the tummy bloat and grow by several inches. They are also slow to digest and so a distended stomach may last for twelve hours or more. Bananas are best eaten in the evening when the body’s digestive system is working more quickly.

Words of wisdom from the old and wise:

“Bananas in the morning Catwalk dread; bananas in the evening beautifies the head.” Anon

Old bananas when they are slightly over-ripe may be peeled and chopped then frozen. Once frozen, mash them up or whizz them round in a food processor and they make a delicious and healthy ice-cream!

Random Ramblings Globe

And just for fun my Blogspot animated gif ..

Random Ramblings - Kloggers Globe Animated Gif photo RandomRamblings-Kloggersglobe.gif

Haggis/protect the wild haggis/haggis secret recipe

No matter where you may live in the world, there is the chance that a tiny portion of Scottish blood may be running through your veins. So there will also be a hunger and quest deep within that you will probably never be able to quench. The Scot’s mist that is woven into your soul is particularly melancholy at the beginning of each year. It is the month of January that brings with it the hunting season for the wild haggis in order for them to be laid onto the dinner plate, ready for the festive celebration of Rabbie Burns Night on the 25th.

This tradition of the recognition of Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns) date of birth, his birthday is marked by the cooking of the haggis which is served with neeps and tatties. Neeps are what the Scots call turnips but, in fact, the rest of the British Isles call Swede and turnips in Scotland are called new turnips. Tatties are potatoes. Both vegetables are usually boiled and mashed when served with haggis.

Burns night, at one time was celebrated in mid Summer on 21st July which was the anniversary of Robert Burns’ death.


Haggis - Random Ramblings


If like me, you would like to protect the wild haggis for he is a rare and special beastie, or if you live a long way from Scotland but would like to embrace a little warmth from the Highlands – then here is an especially scarce and secret recipe for you to make a ‘mock’ haggis.

Secret of the ‘Mock’ Haggis Recipe

Lean pork minced or ground finely(250 grammes for two-to-three persons)
Fine ground rice flour (one large metal spoon scoop) 
Butter (one small metal spoon scoop)
Squeezed nuts or nut butter (half small metal spoon)
Ground ginger spice (half small metal spoon)
Ground black pepper (one small pinch)
Finely ground sea salt (one large pinch)
Dried and crumbled sage (half small metal spoon)
Dried and crumbled thyme (half small metal spoon)
Honey (half small metal spoon)

Place all the ingredients into a large jug or bowl and fork together.
When roughly mixed – either pound with the end of a rolling pin or squash the ingredients through the fingers of the hands.
The mixture should go together into a round.
Place the round into an oven dish and gently squash down a little.
Slowly pour about half-inch of water around the little haggis.
Cut into shards one scallion spring onion and sprinkle into the water.
Place a little portion of chicken stock into the water.

Cook half-way down the oven on a reasonably high heat (425°F or 220°C or Gas Mark 7)
Cooking time will vary but should take around 35 to 45 minutes and the top of the haggis should be a crunchy dark brown when ready.



I have a sheep-keep. I came by it one, stifling-hot day as we were out on a walk. Although it was quite small, it stood quite high on a tiny shelf in a shop at the bargain price of £0.99. Ninety-nine pence well spent, I thought.

The keep has a hole in her tummy where the head and top part of her body comes away from the legs and the bottom part of her body. The small centre is for keeping buttons that fall off garments, so that they are never lost. We all know that buttons tend to fly off garments at precisely the time that a person is about to exit the door. As long as the button is in a discreet position then it isn’t missed at least by outside prying eyes and can peacefully dwell in the sheep-keep (button-keep) until returning back home when a needle and thread can place it safely back onto its home.


Sheep-keep for buttons Random Ramblings Blog

Sheep-keep for buttons showing legs-feet

Sheep-keep for buttons - inside the dish

Sheep-keep Random Ramblings Blog

Sheep-keep – the button keep until they can be safely sewn back onto the garment they have fallen from

“Now where’s my needle and thread?”


Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings personal post:

When I first took up blogging seven years ago this year, everything was new. Blogs were new. When I mentioned the idea of blogging to family and friends, there was not one person that knew what I was talking about. “What is a blog?” They all asked. To explain that it was online space that could be either private or public where your interests could be published for either a small group of people or the world to read or look at and maybe comment on was so new, it was alien.

Random Ramblings small scale

I have a wide variety of interests and could have created umpteen blogs to cover everyone of them individually. If I had chosen to take this route, I may have created a monster rather than a pleasure because even a small amount of blogging is time consuming. It is something, as a hobby that you have to love doing. I am not a paid blogger, I simply write my blog for the sheer joy of it.

Kloggers-Random Ramblings

I decided upon the name of ‘Random Ramblings’ for my blog because it opens the door for me to write about anything and everything. It also means that I can ramble on about any of my interests, which encompass almost everything. I can add unusual facts about anything whenever I come across them or when they are winkled out of my mind.

Polly Dot

Of blogging, I will say – it is a most enjoyable hobby that can now be done almost anywhere not just in front of a computer and sat at a desk. I am so grateful to Google, not only in them creating Blogger but giving it to us all for free. Blogger blogs stand alone, which means that they can be used for any activity. Ticking a box instantly uploads them onto the Google Search Engine. Added to this they now have the option of having single stand alone pages with tabs so they may be also used as professional business sites.

Check out the various Random Ramblings links you can follow or join me here too:

    • Random Ramblings …… Polly Dot Google + Page: Google+
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Additional notes:

To have your own interesting hobby/to start your own website/to create your own blog/to write a story/to keep an online diary/to begin your own family photograph album sharing pictures and information: why not become a blogger? Start your own blog? The excitement all begins with just one click of a button!

Start your blog here: Click and begin a dream



Several hundred years ago people without means had little option other than to beg for food, shelter, clothing and aid. There was no benefit system in place and the poor, hungry and needy had to rely on the generosity of others to survive. This was a time when women were lawfully beaten, sold, kicked and pushed around. Those who were widowed or had children out of wedlock were in an even more perilous position. If they were not taken in by relatives or kindly neighbours then they were spurned and many were left to wander from place to place as their stomachs and sometimes those of their children became emptier and emptier until often they felt as though they wanted to vomit for lack of nourishment.

Women often were so bedraggled that they wore nothing but rags and were regularly mistaken and feared as they resembled boggleboes or old and bent witches. If these poor bedraggled creatures asked for help they were often refused and could do nothing but mutter as they went on their way. It was often claimed that these mutterings were in fact curses and any old crone was pointed out as a witch. It was claimed that boggleboes were so close to the devil that every curse they made would come true.



Bogglebo - Boggleboes


“A penny, a crust if you please for a hungry soul?”

Even to this day, it is believed that they may come near and ask for a penny or a crust of bread. If a person offers the penny or a portion of loaf they will simply disappear often to be replaced with a cat or other type of familiar. If the bogglebo is refused her request then – watch out – for she may choose to haunt for a very long time and she especially blows a very icy draught!

The Wars of the Roses

It was Sir Walter Scott who first used the term 'Wars of the Roses' as an explanation of the bloody skirmishes, plotting, violence, revenge and lastly murderous war that took place between the two houses of York and Lancaster.

Whenever they are mentioned in films or on television programmes it appears that everyone makes the assumption that it was a war between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Even to this day, the white rose is used to represent Yorkshire and the red rose, Lancashire. The actual event however not only took place over many years but was between two households and their supporters: The House of York and The House of Lancaster. The recordings of disagreements began before 1400 but the first major battle happened in 1455. The then Duke of York owned land and estates throughout South Wales and along the Welsh border but his most passionate and committed supporters were from the Midlands area. The Duke of Lancaster owned land in North Wales and swathes of land and estates in parts of Cheshire and Gloucestershire.

The bad blood boiled over when Richard II a York Plantagenet was overthrown by one Henry of Bolingbroke, the Duke of Lancaster who was also a Plantagenet. He was crowned Henry IV in 1399. The two households plotted and raged between themselves and the crown bounced from one side to the other many times until it landed upon the head of Richard III who was a King of the House of York. Richard went into battle to fight alongside his men to protect the crown but he lost both his head and the crown on the battlefield as it was taken from him by Henry and his supporters from the House of Lancaster. Henry was duly crowned Henry VII but he had a plan to keep the crown by beginning a new house and by using his wile. He had a new design to depict both York and Lancaster and he commissioned it to be both white and red, it would be known as ‘The Tudor Rose’ and it would represent the symbol of a ‘United Kingdom.’ The Royal family would merge and become ‘The Tudors.’

Wars of the Roses - small - 150 - Animated Gif. photo WarsoftheRosessmall.gif
Wars of the Roses animated gif

Men from all backgrounds fought in these battles and 3% of all the males in the land died during this bloody conflict

Crucifixion Thorn, Crucifix Thorn, Anchor Plant, Colletia Paradoxa

A few years ago whilst holidaying in Ireland I came across a most unusual plant. It had juicy leaves like a succulent. It was furnished with spines like a cactus. It was shaped in some places like thick vicious thorns in other areas it appeared to resemble a ship’s anchor. It was both soft and yet firm to the touch almost like a thick animal skin.

I later learnt that there are several types within the family or genus of Collectia. They all originate from South America and each variety has small white flowers when in bloom.


Crucifix Plan t- Crucifixion Plant - Anchor Plant

Crucifix Plan t- Crucifixion Plant - Anchor Plant - close

Crucifix Plan t- Crucifixion Plant - Anchor Plant - body of the shrub

Crucifix Plan t- Crucifixion Plant - Anchor Plant - body of the shrub close-up

The beautiful Crucifix Plant also known as the Crucifixion Plant or the Anchor Plant, which originates from South America and is part of the genus Collectia – they produce tiny white bell shaped flowers. This plant helps to enrich nitrogen in the soil where it grows.

Achieving tranquillity

Wherever a person may reside in the world, the one way to achieve everything of value in life, is to know tranquillity. True tranquillity comes from within. It is part of the soul.

The easiest way that an ordinary person can acquire tranquillity is to understand what makes them feel safe, contented and free. The best way I have found for this, which is surely the most valuable of jewels that a person can ever posses is to find a lovely little garden nook where I can sit and let the world go by. A place where you can hear a trickle of water, a wealth of bird song, scurry of little mammals, the hum and soft swirls of the insects, the sweet and gentle perfume of the flowers and herbs, the tickle of the breeze as it gently caresses your skin. A treasured small space of land where you are in a sense at one with everything. This is the place that heals your very core. It is what some call ‘The Holy Grail’ and it will serve you like the ‘fountain of youth.’

So, think what you most like. Which plants and flowers lift your spirit? What sculptures are enjoyable to look at? Treat yourself to the greatest diamond the Earth can produce a place where you can feel safe. A place to relax. A place to feel the love of life itself gently wrap around you. Find somewhere, either in your garden, back yard or not too far away for you to just enjoy breathing in and breathing out. We are after all living in Paradise!


Achieving Tranquillity Japanese Garden

Achieving Tranquillity River Garden

Achieving Tranquillity Sweet Garden

Achieving TranquillityWater Garden

Achieving Tranquillity Brook Garden

A few examples and aspects of gardens that ooze tranquillity above

The most essential and important thing to always remember is that your own ‘tranquillity garden or space’ must be a little bit of land that is what you find to be your own precious jewel and where you most feel at peace with the world.

Investment of flowers

I have decided to infuse the garden with many more flowers this year for two separate reasons. Firstly, I thought it would be lovely to see (hopefully) many more flowers than there have been in previous years. Secondly, I am hoping that new flowers will attract many more insects some of which could, if I’m lucky, be butterflies.

So far the flowers that I have chosen in my quest for improving the garden are: The Peace Poppy which are otherwise called Papaver Rheas Bridal White – this was a fairly common wild white poppy hundreds of years ago that is also the White Flanders Poppy and is recognised as a tribute to peace. Sadly, I can honestly declare that I have never seen one of these beautiful poppies either growing wild or even in a garden, nor is there another person I know who has witnessed the site of these pure symbols of joy growing where they belong. If I am successful then maybe a few will spread out away from my garden on the breeze to live in the open countryside once more. It would be certainly tempting to sprinkle a few seeds when I visit a new area of Worcestershire. (Perhaps we should all be tempted to grow a new wild flower each year in our gardens to help to re-introduce some of the old favourites that have been lost over time through previous generations carelessness.)

Amongst the flowers I am hoping will germinate is a biennial (these are planted one year to flower the following year – some, when a gardener is truly blessed even last a full five years before they die), a short stocky soft furry leafed foxglove called ‘Foxglove Silver Cub.’ To my new collection of plants to trial growing I have some seeds for Purple Creeping Thyme, Common Thyme, Bergamot, Ladybird Poppies Papaver Commutatum, Caucasian Scarlet Poppy, Peony Poppies Papaveer Paeoniflorum Huge Doubles Mixed Colours, and lastly some wild strawberries. This mix of varieties is to hopefully encourage more bees to visit daily. All I have to do now when the year warms up a little is to plant them and keep my fingers crossed that a small percentage of them will grow and form a lovely show of blooms. (They are all scatter seeds so need now expertise to grow – they just require planting after a shower of rain.) Always remember that anyone can grow poppies and foxgloves and they are the two flowers that enhance any little plot of land.

Flanders poppies - war and peace copy

The wild Flanders Field poppies red associated with remembrance of the fallen and white for the peace that has been so bravely fought for. It is important to grow both of these and appreciate what they stand for.


Bereft of birds

When I was a little girl, my father would take me on long walks down winding country lanes. Every so often he would stop and point to a tree and show me a bird and tell me its name. I would ask him how he knew that the tiny bird was there on the tree? He would simply say “I heard it singing!” I was both enthralled and captivated – it was like a magic trick – to hear a bird, know which branch of what tree it perched upon and to be able to name it too all from its burst of song. My father taught me to love all creatures, to watch them and treasure them and to know that it is a gift to both hear them and see them.

It is now January of a new year but this year we are bereft of birds. Gone are the vast numbers of sparrows and starlings. Gone are the garden visitors the cheeky finches and the sweet tits. Every garden should have its own blackbird and robin, these are both territorial birds and they are noisy in their declarations of which gardens they have chosen to be their homes. Where has our blackbird and robin gone? Not a sign of either bird in this dawn of a new year can be seen.

We have one or two crows, an odd magpie, wood pigeon and ring neck dove. All of these are considered to be large birds. It is worrying to consider that none of the small and medium birds appear to be around. The fat balls hang like remnants from a bygone time in a museum. Even the squirrels have left the nuts alone and the bird seeds have begun to sprout!


Our Carrion Crow - Corvus corone (note the crows in our area often have a little bit of white on their tail or wing feathers) .. you may just about be able to see the lighter spot on this one’s tail feathers.

Happy New Year!

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║ Happy New Year–may 2014 be Healthy & Merry║
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Happy New Year animated gif