An apple a day

An apple a day

The old apple tree in the garden has done us proud this year, producing a bumper crop of bramleys, which is inspiring a frenzy of cooking with apples beyond the obvious sauce and crumble. We've made gingerbread baked apples, for a delicious autumnal pud; Swedish apple cake, simple and comforting; and brightly coloured beetroot and [...]

The humble hedgerow

The humble hedgerow

Late August. The evenings are becoming noticeably shorter and there’s a feeling of summer drawing to a close. Last week the combine harvester was in the fields long into the evening, gathering in the last of the wheat before the forecast rain. Now the fields are filled with golden stubble and edged with hedgerows that [...]

Mists and mellow fruitfulness – blackberry, pear and cardamom loaves

Mists and mellow fruitfulness – blackberry, pear and cardamom loaves

The mists have begun. There are mornings when it hangs thick in the valley below, cloaking the woods in the distance and rolling across the garden, picking out cobwebs with its droplets as it goes. But when it lifts, Autumn’s colours are revealed below skies of the clearest blue. Some of the bluest we’ve seen all [...]

Sloe gin

Sloe gin

Making sloe gin has become an annual tradition, and I can’t imagine winter without its comforting warmth and sharp, plummy flavour.  Although many people recommend making it now in time for Christmas, we prefer to leave the sloes steeping for a good six months before removing and bottling; and so we have settled in to [...]

Celebrating the autumn equinox – with two seasonal cakes

Celebrating the autumn equinox – with two seasonal cakes

The early morning sun gives definition to the trees that line the hill and picks out the golden bales in the fields below.  This evening it will set at seven, and for a day we will have day and night in equal measure. The hay bales, like giant slices of swiss roll, sit plumply; the [...]

Hips, hops, haws and brambles – and a blackberry and apple batter pudding

Hips, hops, haws and brambles – and a blackberry and apple batter pudding

We set out on a walk late on Sunday morning, and arrived back home with the tell-tale stained fingers of a good blackberry haul. The September hedgerows are adorned with autumn’s treasures, and a walk at this time of year is punctuated with plenty of things to stop and look at – garlands of hops, [...]