The weather this autumn has been very mild so far – so much so that the autumn colour lasted much longer than usual. Up until a couple of weeks ago these beauties were still blooming in the garden…
The dahlias are over now – we have left some in the garden, well covered in the hope that they survive whatever the winter throws at us. Mr McGregor has lifted the ones we grew in pots and is drying them in the greenhouse – we hope at least some of them will make it through to next spring….
We were away for Remembrance Sunday and popped along to an ‘Act of Remembrance’ at the local war memorial. It was really well-attended and, as expected, very moving.
When we got home, there were just a few poppies out in our garden – they were gone by the following day…
We have had a good apple crop this year from our old cooking apple tree, so I’ve been able to re-stock our store of apple and chilli jelly (or chilli and apple jelly). I believe the bumper crop is a result of the cold spring – notably the ‘Beast from the East’ and the lovely warm summer. We eat this jelly a lot – it goes well with cheese, meat (we have had it with our Christmas dinner instead of cranberry sauce, and it goes very well with the cold turkey that we eat for days afterwards….) and fish. If, like me you can never get jams and jellies to set particularly well you could add some pectin along with the sugar if you wanted….. I sometimes also add extra lemon juice.
Apple and chilli jelly (pdf: Apple and chilli jelly)
1kg cooking apples – skin on and roughly chopped
600g granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
Makes ~3x450g jars – but this depends on how long you boil it for!
- Put chopped apples including cores, peel and pips into a preserving pan/heavy bottomed saucepan. Add approx 1.5 litres water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins until apples are mushy. When cooled a little, mash with a potato masher
- Spoon pulpy mixture into a jelly or muslin lined sieve over a large clean bowl. Allow to drip overnight. Do not squeeze or press down if you want a clear jelly!
- Measure strained juice and calculate ~600g sugar for every 1 litre of juice. Pour juice into a clean pan, bring to boil and then add sugar and lemon juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil and remove scum. Continue to boil for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reaches setting point. Remove from heat while testing for a set.
- Leave to cool for 10 mins then add chilli flakes and stir. Ladle into warm, sterilised jars, cover with discs of waxed paper, seal and label. Store in a cool dark place and refrigerate after opening. Should last at least 9 months.