Friday, 28 August 2009

Feeling Autumnal

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 Combine with dried fruit - I used an out-of-date packet which was fine, but may have been a tad drier than any I have recently bought.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).


  1. Have you ever made gooseberry wine? Ours is so strong we drink it with tonic water.

  2. I always thought that I didn't like mincemeat--but you have convinced me to give it a try--yum--it looks good--like your kitchen scene too --with kitty perched in the background--need to look up toad in a hole.


  3. Wow that is an impressive Toad ....yum. I like the look of the suetless mincemeat ...could you add a splash of brandy instead of wine?
    I use my old dry fruit in a tea bread, as they have to soak the tea up and it works well...waste not etc

  4. Gooseberry wine is my favourite PT, though I've not made any this year (goosegogs in the freezer though). It turned sparkling one year and was DIVINE.

    "it's me" - please do try this recipe. You can keep adding to it as you have more fruit. Toad in the hole is just browned sausages put in a greased dish, with Yorkshire Pudding (pancake batter) mix poured over the top. A friend of mine calls it Frog in a Bog! but this is the name I give to the TINH when I add some chopped bacon too.

    Angie - brandy will do just fine and I've used it in the past. Dry dried fruit does well in boiled fruit cakes to. I have a recipe for Boiled Pineapple Fruit cake which is gorgeous. There should be a recipe on my original C&C blog (see side bar for link). If not, shout out and I'll put it up on here.

  5. Yum, yum. He really is the batter King now isn't he :) I may have to cook that later as it's my favourite.

    Is it possible to be homesick for someone else's kitchen! I hope Gypsy is ok now, she looks so sweet perched there. 'P' says Hi, and sends kisses to Gypsy :)


  6. Hello,
    Your apple recipe sounds wonderful. I am not sure if this is for a drink... or mincemeat for a pie stuffing? I want to know! It sounds so good. I have a wild apple tree and the apples are not great, they are old fashioned wild. Also can I put a screw top lid on all this?