Strawberries and fizz

July is when we indulge ourselves with strawberries and fizz at our summer party.

Unfortunately some of these photos are a little blurry but hey, that’s just what happens when our president drinks several cups of cava in quick succession!

A fantastic selection of food was brought by members and there were bottles and bottles of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic fizz and 20 punnets of strawberries from Holts, our lovely local greengrocer.

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Fun With Fungi

Jesper Launder came to our October meeting laden with freshly picked fungi and invited us in to the magical world of the mushroom.

Jesper is a medicinal herbalist by trade and his scientific explanation of the different kinds of mushroom was beautifully balanced with his superb storytelling skills.  He transported us around the world in a time machine by telling us stories of how mushrooms have been used for a multitude of purposes including lighting fires, sharpening knives, and antiseptic. It was utterly fascinating.

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A fine selection of gin for the Hebden Bridge WI.

We were blessed on Monday night with a delivery of Gin from Joe at Pennine Cheese & Wine in Hebden Bridge.  Joe ran through the history of the spirit before letting us loose and giving us a blind taste test.  He’d chosen four Gins for us to try; Fifty Pounds from London, Cold River and Aviation from the US, and Zuidam from The Netherlands.

Joe from Pennine Cheese & Wine talks through the history of Gin.

Even as a fan of Gin I was skeptical as to how much difference there would be between the four options, but would you believe it, the taste, clarity and strength of the different varieties was evident.  After tasting and making sure we had the captured the essence of each of them (this sometimes required having more than one mouthful) we were able to start arguing as to which we thought was the best.

Generally speaking the Fifty Pounds and Zuidam were the overwhelming favourites, but of course there were those that disagreed and blagged an extra shot of the Cold River or Aviation before heading out into the cold to walk home.

Written and posted by Amy

Brilliant Brews

A selection of brews from Haworth Steam Brewery

We decided to celebrate Christmas with a bit of beer this year, so we invited Andy Gascoigne from Haworth Steam Brewery, just over the hill from us in Hebden Bridge.  Andy owns Gascoigne’s pub in Haworth and is the only steam brewery in the UK.

Andy joined us at our December meeting and talked us through the brewing processes for his beer as we opened bottles with gusto.  He gave us the lowdown on the brewing industry both here and abroad and revealed industry secrets… it was a great insight.

Andy addresses a full house.
When do we start drinking?

Andy’s working on a range of Continental style beers and after many requests we’ll be taking a trip to Gascoigne’s once he’s selling it over the counter.

Andy stayed with us for our festive treat: pies and peas.  We gorged ourselves on delicious local produce: pork pies from The Porkery in Halifax and vegetarian and vegan pies from Drive By Pie in Mytholmroyd.  Alison from The Deli in Hebden Bridge supplied us with trifle.  Whilst eating we took the opportunity to catch up with folk and make new friends.

The queue for food.
Patiently waiting for pies.
Hands full.
The Porkery supplied a range of pork pies.
Decimated trifles.
Making new friends.
Catching up.
Letting the food settle over a chit chat.


Written and posted by Amy

Cheese Please

Sandra and Karl from Pextenement Cheese

We were absolutely thrilled to welcome Sandra and Karl from Pextenement Cheese to our meeting last night.  They told us about the history of Pextenement Farm in Eastwood, just 3 miles from our meeting and carefully explained the different processes for making their cheeses.  Their hard work and dedication to their business shone through and we were delighted to be given an opportunity to have a taste test of their full range.

The range of cheeses
Devils Blue Rock is similar to Stilton
Pike’s Delight is a delicious hard cheese
Pexommier is similar to Camembert
East Lee, Pextenement’s soft cheese is available with or without garlic

Knowing their is such a passionate food producer so close to us who produces such wonderful cheeses is so exciting.  We’ve offered to be their guinea pigs if they need any taaste testers for new ranges.  Let’s hope they take us up on our offer.

We wiped them out of cheese
Getting stuck in to cheese


Written and posted by Amy

December meeting update

What a great start to a meeting! A glass of festive fizz given to every member as she came in the door!

This meeting ended up serving three important functions. One, it was the Christmas party, good for socialising and catching up. Two, it was a lesson in wrapping, very useful for those who had not yet tackled their present pile. Three, it was a chance to help others and put to use the toiletry mountain which had been building up in Amy and Ruth’s car boots, homes, sheds etc over the past few months.

Amy started it off with her top tips for wrapping: getting the paper the right size (simple but effective), using double sided tape, thinking where to put creases and openings to keep it looking neat and pretty, keeping the paper taut, having neat edges and a host of others. She transformed a plain box into a thing of beauty.
We were then introduced to the wonders of ribbon to give our parcels some extra oomph and a personal touch. The first technique was wrapping ribbon round a box like string round a parcel but tidily and with a flat bottom! Then came folding the ribbon into loops each slightly shorter than the one before and attaching it to the box to form a separate bow. Variations include wrapping the box with ribbon going at a diagonal and winding ribbon around a book or magazine to form loops which can be styled as a rosette.
Next, we moved on to the delights of wired ribbon. Amy showed us how to use a short section to make a bud by rolling it around your finger and scrunching its base flat to the box. The fabric on a longer ribbon section was ruched down one side and this was then wrapped around the bud. The whole flower was scrunched ( this led to little moans of distress for ruining something so lovely), and secured with wire. Luckily, the oohs and aahs of appreciation returned as the flower is rearranged to look pretty at this point!The final stage of the meeting was to fill shoe boxes with the toiletries which had been collected over the past few months. The boxes would then go to local women’s charities, for example, a refuge. Members had bought in toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shower gel, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, feminine products and gift sets. One member managed to persuade Asda to donate a large quantity of goodies and the Yorkshire Soap Company also made a donation. Ribbon Circus donated the paper in which to wrap the boxes.
Everyone got very creative choosing their wrapping paper and ribbon for decoration and enjoyed picking a good selection of products for their boxes. In the end over 60 beautifully wrapped and decorated boxes were produced, helped along by fizz, tea, chat and a buffet!

Written and posted by Kate-Em

12th October 2011

October meeting update.

Well, how apt that a man known as Chips should be a sushi making expert! You can insert your own jokes! It provided us with much hilarity. However, name aside, Chips is not a professional sushi maker but has taught himself for the past 7 years. His main research has been in the form of eating, something many of us can relate to. After a brief introduction Chips got stuck into the sushi making demonstration. He showed us how to make rolls with seaweed either inside or out and balls of rice with toppings.

The blue bowl contains specific sushi rice which is cooked for 15 minutes until still slightly firm then seasoned with a couple of tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, some sugar and some salt.

Chips started with making maki. The seaweed is bought in sheets, half a sheet used each time. The seaweed is placed glossy side down on a bamboo rolling mat. With wet hands to combat the stickiness of the rice Chips placed 2 palmfuls of rice onto the seaweed and pressed it to cover 4/5 of the surface. He advised adding wasabi to personal taste and then lined chopstick sized pieces of cucumber on the rice about a quarter of the way down the sheet.
Then comes the tricky bit, rolling the sushi, which Chips made look easy. Holding the mat he used his fingers as a guide to help the front edge of the seaweed sheet tuck in. With a clever knife trick, to cover the blade in water to stop the rice sticking, Chips sliced along the roll. He suggested using colourful ingredients, mainly to impress guests, such as asparagus and avocado.

Next Chips made inside out or California rolls. He spread 2 palmfuls of rice across the surface of a seaweed sheet and sprinkled it with sesame seeds. He then picked it up and turned it over and added ingredients to the seaweed side. These included wasabi, cucumber, avocado, fish sticks and good old mayonnaise! This was then rolled, boldly, by wet hands and then covered with clingfilm. Chips used the mat to shape the rice and then cut through the clingfilm to produce slices.

The final demonstration was on making nigiri. Chips used roasted red pepper chopped into segments and smoked salmon. Chips held the pepper in one hand and used the other, wet, to squeeze a palmful of rice into shape. he dabbed wasabi on the pepper then gently introduced the rice to the pepper. He turned it over so the pepper sat atop the rice and used his fingers to squish it into the correct shape.

Chips then took questions and made some suggestions such as miso soup for a starter, pickled ginger as a palate cleanser between courses and to use a delicate light soy sauce for dipping. He suggested ordering omlette roll first in a restaurant as it has a mild flavour it allows you to taste the house rice and judge the quality before moving on to other dishes. Chips also reminded us to get sushi grade raw fish so that it would be as fresh as possible and reduce the risk of poisoning!

Then the tasting began! There was a mild mannered stampede and everyone was really impressed with the taste of the sushi.
Written and posted by Kate-Em

September meeting update

For many of us a lovely cuppa (or three) is crucial to happily getting on with our day. Obviously, tea paired with cake enables us to get on even more happily. September’s meeting managed to combine both these delights with a talk from Hebden Tea and our usual refeshments.

Okan from Hebden Tea, despite his nerves, delivered an excellent talk about tea (obviously). He introduced black, green and white teas and explained the differences. He spoke about the best way to prepare the different teas including temperature, brewing time, milk or not to milk and what equipment to use. We learnt that loose tea is preferable to teabags, milk should be added to the cup last and that ball shaped tea holders are rubbish, a larger diffuser is better as the flavours can infuse more easily. Okan answered everyone’s tea based queries and we all now know how to make the perfect cuppa.

Okan and his assistant Jacob prepared several teas for us to try. We used tiny beakers like shot glasses and we were instructed to sniff the tea, taste and swill it around the mouth. It was much like wine tasting only with less spitting and no danger of drunken behaviour. The loose versions of the teas were available to sniff. The teas included a black tea, a banana based fruit tea, jasmine tea as an example of green tea and a liquorice tea which was surprisingly delicious. The favourites seemed to be Okan’s version of Lady Grey, AKA Lady Hebden and an antistrain tea which was soothing and balancing.

Okan bought along packets of all the teas that were sampled and several members bought some of their new favourites. We are grateful to Hebden Tea for donating 20% of their takings from this to our WI funds.

The next meeting is on Monday 17th October at Hope Baptist church. The meeting begins at 7.30pm but please come along early if you are joining up as a member.
Our collection of toiletries for local women’s charities is coming on well. We are collecting conditioner in the October meeting so please bring a bottle if you can.
Written and posted by Kate-Em

Welcome to the HBWI blog

And it’s about time, too! This blog is still under construction, but soon it will be full of information for members and non-members alike. We’ll be adding regular meeting and group updates, pictures galore, and lots of cool links and event information and whatnot. Don’t forget to also check the WI Links to keep up to date with other WI events and groups.

We’re only two months old, but we already have 60 members. Whoa! Amy, our faithful leader, is working hard to find a local venue large enough to accommodate the group.

We’ve had two fabulous meetings so far, the first of which was a cocktail making workshop at Moyles (photos by Sarah Mason).

Apo, the charming general manager of Moyles, taught us how to make a Mojito, a Cosmopolitan, and a special Moyles Iced Tea Punch. Afterwards, we all got to try one of the delicious cocktails for free and had a great time shmoozing around the bar.

Apo having a drink with Amy Leader, founder and president of the Hebden Bridge WI.

On the left is Caroline, the treasurer. On the right is Erin, the secretary.

We’ve had many suggestions for smaller groups, which are just starting to form. We’ll provide regular updates on these so all HBWI members have a chance to join. So far we have a book group, a film group, a theatre group, a gardening group, and a coffee group.
We’ve also started swapping things!
  • Bring leftover seeds to a meeting and swap them for something you can use. 
  • Dig out some unwanted clothes to donate, or drop them into Ribbon Circus between meetings.  Members can purchase clothes for £1 per item, and the money will go to fund our WI events. 
  • Have a useful skill to swap? Bartering is a wonderful way to exchange without money. You can jot down your skills at a meeting and see if anyone is interested in trading.
So check back now and then to see what good stuff we’ve added to the blog, and if you haven’t been to a meeting yet, please come along!

Written and posted by Erin