Sunday, 30 October 2011

Apples and rosehips

Last Saturday Matt and I picked some tasty apples en route to The Museum of English Rural Life (a fascinating little place in Reading town which is packed full of countryside curios). We then joined in their Apple Day celebrations - learning how to press juice, sampling many different varieties of fruit, purchasing local cider, watching apple-and-spoon races and being thoroughly entertained when a friend attempted the longest apple peel competition! Afterwards we headed to Oxford to partake in the mini beer festival Oxtoberfest, where I drank cider. Which I probably would have done anyway, but I used Apple Day as an excuse...

On Tuesday I went for a long walk in the rain and collected about a kilo of rosehips. If nothing goes wrong they will eventually become rosehip wine - my brew is currently glug-glug-glugging away in the kitchen... I think this is my sixth homebrew. I've previously made mayblossom wine, nettle beer and haw wine, as well as a couple from kits. I've had no disasters so far, and the haw wine I made last year was actually very good indeed. I'm hoping the rosehip will turn out well too as the recipe is very similar (it's from Roger Phillips' Wild Food).

Monday, 24 October 2011

Gathering and crafting...

In those early days of autumn when the leaves are just beginning to change colour and the morning air has the first hint of an icy blast, it's wise to start making plans for winter. For me this means hanging thick curtains, digging out my bike lights and thinking about Christmas presents. When you make your own gifts you really do have to plan ahead. Last year I spent the whole of October, November and December knitting, crocheting, jam- and liqueur-making...

A few weeks ago I collected sloes. I use vodka for most of my liqueurs but this year I've decided to make traditional Sloe Gin. I collected these before the frost because I was worried they'd all be gone if I waited!

In the depths of my kitchen cupboards I also have summery jars of Blackberry Vodka and August Liqueur, slowly mellowing and becoming more festive.

My next task is to think of something nice I can make for my non-alcoholic family members. Perhaps a jelly of some kind - crabapple, quince, rosehip...?