ramblingtart » sharing stories and art with the world from Australia

Masthead header
ramblingtart bio picture

Brambly Hedge: Lemony Syllabubs

I adore good illustrations.

My bookshelves are filled with books featuring the exquisite renderings of artists old and young, dead and alive, Russian and British. I love them all.

As a wee lass, my favorite illustrated books were from the brilliant  Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem. I would curl up in a cozy nook holding the books close to my face so I could take in every detail of the amazing world she created. From the lush hangings on a canopied bed and adorable mice to the intricate workings of the Store Stump and finely wrought berry bushes, I was mesmerized.

I’m still in awe of her work. The attention she pays to every swoosh of fabric, fold of petal, and groove of woodwork is truly magnificent.

I could never hope to match her prowess in this area, but in homage to the years of inspiration and delight she’s given me, I thought I’d illustrate this blog post with my own humble doodles.

Throughout her books, Barklem highlights simple events in the lives of her mice: a winter ball, a young girl getting lost, a wedding. In each one she features the old-fashioned foods they loved. Everything was made from scratch using the ingredients found in the woods, meadows and fields where they lived: Chestnuts, berries, dandelions.

They roasted apples over open flame, baked lavish cakes, and brewed their own flower wine. I was enchanted by all of it, but especially by something called syllabubs. It was a strange and wonderful word to this Canadian girl, but I had absolutely no idea what it was. A cheese? Soup? Some sort of drink?

Finally last week I researched it and found it was none of the above. It is, in fact, a lovely, airy concoction of cream, some sort of alcohol, and sugar. I was surprised and delighted and last night I made my very first syllabubs.

I whipped heavy cream and agave syrup until soft peaks formed.

Zested and juiced a lemon,

measured out white wine,

and blended them into the cream, whipping it again until soft peaks returned.

Topped with a sprig of fresh mint it was a lusciously light and perky dessert, a splendid follow-up to a dinner of Lime-Walnut Crusted Flounder and Irish Mashed Potatoes.

Next time I want to make a posset. 🙂

Did any of you read Brambly Hedge? Is there a dish you were intrigued by as a child?

Lemony Syllabub


1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2-3 Tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup chardonnay or similar white wine
Juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
Fresh mint leaves to garnish


  1. Whip cream and agave until soft peaks form.
  2. Add wine, lemon juice and zest and beat until soft peaks form again.
  3. Spoon into glasses or small dishes, garnish with mint leaves and chill until ready to serve.

Email to a friend Work with me 69,109,97,105,108,32,109,101em liamE Subscribe by email Shop

{lauryl} - Oh my goodness, we LOVED the Brambly Hedge books! I was a little too old for them, technically speaking, when we discovered them, but I still pored over those gorgeous, detailed illustrations. This is the second time this year that someone has mentioned those books on a blog. Makes me happy. 😉

RamblingTart - Ohhh, that’s great, Breanne! I hope you get your own set too. 🙂

RamblingTart - Oh Jacqueline – how you make me grin! 🙂 That’s so amazing that you have and love those books too!!! 🙂 Girl, we are true kindred spirits. 🙂

Breanne - The pictures were always my favorite part of Brambly Hedge right along with the food desciptions! I hope to own my own set someday, =) Lovely post!

Jacqueline - Hello, Ms. K! Holy WOW — I love that you love Brambly Hedge! I have ALL the books. They’ve been family favourites forever! The kids and I would get completely lost in the intricacy of the Store Stump illustrations. And even as a grown up, I’d fantasize about inhabiting that world. You’ve inspired me to track down my box of favourites, still packed from the move, and have a look for old time’s sake.

RamblingTart - Aww, thanks, Susan. 🙂

susan from food blogga - What a sweet post. And I just love “wee lass.” 🙂

RamblingTart - Thank you SO much, Tangerine! You are such a wonderfully creative soul that it makes me happy that you like my little drawings. 🙂

RamblingTart - Ohhh, that’s so great, Lauren! 🙂 I wasn’t sure if anyone would identify with my love for this series and I’m so glad it delighted you too. 🙂

RamblingTart - Thank you so much, Elra! 🙂 Yes, the syllabub is so refreshing and light. 🙂

RamblingTart - Oh Val, I LOVE that you posted the poem!!! You are such a dear kindred spirit. 🙂

RamblingTart - I’m so glad you like them, Mary! 🙂 Yes! I changed my blog recently and I’m figuring everything out but love it!! 🙂

Tangerine Fairy - Adore the illustrations! Especially the cake 🙂

So happy you like my wed. flower posts..thanks for following..have a great day 🙂

Globetrooper Lauren - Oh my goodness! Brambly Hedge was my absolute favourite book as a child! And I still have it (well, my mum is looking after it for me).
I loved the pictures, so many details so that you could re-read it a thousand times and still pick up on new things.
Good memories, thanks for your post.

elra - They are beautifully illustrated Krista, I like them too. Syllabub looks refreshing!

bellini valli - I always enjoy coming over to your home each morning. It puts a smile on my face and this morning is no exception. I love your whimsical drawings and a reminder of our childhood and the Autumn Story,

Ease your whiskers, rest your paws,
Pies and Puddings fill the stores.
Sweetly dream the night away,
Till sunshine brings another day.

😀 Val

Mary - What a charming post and lovely way to produce a syllabub. Your illustrations are delightful. Have you changed your blog layout? It looks very bright and inviting. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

RamblingTart - Ohhh, those are fabulous, Jamie!! You made me grin so big this morning. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement about my drawings. 🙂 I WILL keep going!

Jamie - What about a grump? Or a slump? Love all of these names! The best though are the French Pets de Nonne – Nun’s Farts. Ah yes. And this syllabub looks scrumptious and a cool summer dessert. And I LOVE your drawings! Keep going, sister!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *