There has been a slight feel of Autumn in the air since the end of July - I've never known it so early - and though we have had a few days with good hot sunshine, there has been a lot of wind and today REALLY feels like Autumn is here to stay, with a stiff breeze, scudding clouds, prancing branches and now rain. I am hoping against hope that we will have an Indian Summer next month, or else winter is going to seem a very protracted affair this year.
I managed to get some outside painting done - a job abandoned by my son who has discovered he hates painting! He must take after his father then . . . I also turned some of the Discovery mountain into Country Mincemeat for Christmas. My husband bought me a BIG box of Discovery apples for just £2 at the greengrocer's at Abergwili, but there is a limit to how many I can safely eat and still leave the house! I am thinking of making apple wine with a few more.
Take sweet apples (though I have used windfall cookers in the past too) - even the ones which are getting a bit old and wrinkled from storage will do - peel, core and chop. Combine with dried fruit - I used an out-of-date packet which was fine, but may have been a tad drier than any I have recently bought. Sprinkle on demerara sugar, ground cinnamon and ground cloves and add a little home-made wine if you like (I added a slosh of Crab Apple Wine). You may add some finely-chopped (and well washed) orange and/or lemon peel if you wish. I mixed mine in a bowl, but in the past I usually put straight into my earthenware jar as I am cutting the apples up, layering with the sugar, spices and dried fruit. I also usually add chopped dried apricots, but you may add whatever fruit you wish to the mix. Even without the wine, the mixture will become moist and winey and believe me it smells DIVINE. It will keep a year in the earthenware jar, which is best kept in a cool place, though having said that mine lives on the bottom shelf of a little table in the bay window. I have a recipe which calls for suet too, and is stored in jars, but this one is a lovely old-fashioned recipe and keeps very well. You will make it year after year, I promise.
Here are two books I couldn't resist at The Works today. They are full of lovely ideas and I can't wait to try a few on the short grey days of winter.
Finally, the photo my son took last night of the Toad in the Hole he made for tea. Note the height the batter has risen to (he is now officially our Yorkshire Pudding maker, as his are like skyscrapers - the secret is in a thinnish mixture apparently).