Jam Jar, Homemade, screw top

SUMMERS END and a recipe for apple jelly

It always takes me by surprise, summers end.  One day, glancing at the sun, you notice it has become softer, lower, and less intense.  The garden takes on a slightly tired look, the hum of bees diminishes, and the constant grass cutting becomes a distant memory.  It is slightly sad, another season over, another one beginning.

Autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness sneaks in, and if you are lucky you get one or two of my favourite days – the quiet misty ones when you can literally hear a pin drop, with a hint of a hazy sun.  I call them the days of a perfect stillness.

Wondering along my lane, I spy hazelnut cobs, blackberries and crab apples –this is food for the gods and there for the taking.  I love picking apples without a care for the perfect flawless round – it matters not.  They make the most glorious apple jelly which you can bottle and use throughout the winter to spice up your casseroles, chicken and rabbit dishes and produce delicious roast pork gravies.

The days of the healthy salad are coming to an end.

I managed to grow my own lettuce (do not chortle, I am no gardener) It was a delight to chip away at the leaves, which offered an almost endless supply.  The best few pence I have ever spent.  Now the salad leaf is no more, and I am slightly relieved.  Tasty casseroles cooked on the AGA beckon.

Christmas is on its way

We are on the run up to Christmas and like it or not there will soon be a frost in the air. We will all be stacking logs for the fire, (see our wonderul range of log baskets for the fire) and thinking of buying the odd Christmas present while we still have the will to live.

With food in mind, I am organising demonstrations in the showrooms at Twyford Cookers. Groups of ladies come to watch a demonstrator deliver her seamless art on the AGA.  Moreover, a flow of casual conversation accompanies her skilful culinary excesses, as she reveals all to her eager audience.  Their mouths are watering, the aromas are intense.  The time they have all been waiting for arrives, when they arm themselves with plate and cutlery to dive in and eat an AGA lunch.

The hub and the bub of the great run into the Christmas season, is splendid, and a way to get us through into the winter and then forthcoming spring.  I love it all; each season is perfect in its way.

Here is a recipe that may just help you through into winter.  It is a recipe for Apple Jelly, which is the easiest recipe in the world.



  1. Pick armfuls of apples, off the tree, off the ground.  Wash them, take out any of the blemished bits and quarter them but don’t core or peel them. Place them into a large Maslin Pan (this is a flat bottom pan, which is wider at the top than the bottom, but any large saucepan will do)
  2. I used 3kg of apples and two litres of water to bring them to a simmering mush. Drip the mush through a muslin cloth or jam straining bag, and leave it overnight to drip through slowly.  Resist the urge to squeeze the bag to hurry up the process, as this will cause the syrup to cloud.
  3. When you are left with clear syrup, measure it for volume and then add equal measures of granulated or jam sugar to the liquid – for instance if you have 900ml of liquid add 1.75 kg of sugar. In old measurements, you would have used 1pt of liquid to 1lb of sugar.  Bring the juice to a rolling boil and after about 10minutes test on a cold plate which has been placed in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The Pectin in the apple core and pips that you did not remove before will help the jelly to set.  Keep testing, until the jelly starts to firm up on the plate.  Leave it to cool slightly and then pour into jam jars which have been sterilized. Seal with wax discs and line up your jars.  You can be proud – This jelly will keep throughout the year