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Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”



Thank you….

  • Sharon Parry Oh my word I so wish that I could produce something as amazing as that! It was a big risk, I imagine, because you never... 21 Sep
  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) Glad to hear you've got your Aga back and that knitted hoodie looks lovely and cosy. I like the look of your gadget for peeling... 20 Sep
  • Craft Mother Fingers crossed indeed. 20 Sep
  • Craft Mother Thank you, Jo. I am blushing. It is such a simple pattern and took me no time to knit, that I'm not sure I deserve... 20 Sep
  • Anna Yes tweens....it's so true....I always make sure I get exact instructions from my nearly 11 year old on what she wants. She does luckily still... 20 Sep
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

apple glut recipes

An interesting kind of helpful

making-apple-pieI woke up on Sunday, knowing that the apples had to be picked. Collecting windfalls is one thing, but I’d looked up. I knew. There were an amazing number of big apples hanging from the branches. They needed to come down. Continue reading

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Nothing as nice as apple pie

I have to admit that my baking and crafting mojo has been low, if not missing, for the last couple of months. I’ve made a couple of victoria sponge cakes and the odd batch of welsh cakes, but that is about it. There has been a bit of unproductive knitting. The sewing machine has been out once. Even my patchwork is sitting gathering dust, waiting for me to pick up some matching fabric. Ho hum.

Then last night I was cruising around Pinterest and one pin led to another, until I found Bakerella’s pumpkin pies. Dutifully I pinned, thinking that I could use the bowls of pumpkin flesh that result from an afternoon carving pumpkins with the children. The sight of the little pastry cases reminded me of the mini apple pies I usually make each Autumn. Hang on. It is Autumn. I should be making them.

Apple pies are nice and we love them with custard or ice cream. These pies have traditionally gone into packed lunches for the children. Not easy to pack ice cream or custard, so I made an adaption. Just before I fill the pastry case with apple sauce, I add a generous dollop of custard. I’ve found canned custard works best. Then into the oven.

If I’m all out of custard, then the family soon communicate their disappointment. Yep, custard is popular.

I’m never going to win on appearance with these apple pies. The crit sheet would be too damning. Quite honestly, I cannot make enough of these pies to meet family demand, let alone spend time on the perfect crust.

This time, rather than leave the odd small ball of left-over pastry in the fridge, as I usually do (and end up throwing it away), I cut out hearts to go on top. I was greeted with lots of “ooh”s and smiles this morning. I guess the family doesn’t mind my rough and ready pastry!

Thank you everyone who left such supportive comments about my last post. You guys rock! You helped me to see the bigger picture (pun intended). I have made so many wonderful connections with people through blogging, that I don’t want to give that up. If I’ve never written it before, thank you for all your wonderful comments and the inspiration, and helpful suggestions that you share. I love, love reading them. Every single wonderful one.

Now, just need to find my sewing mojo. Maybe it’s been sulking under my sewing machine all this time, along with the dust bunnnies. With apple pie in hand, I’m going hunt it down. Wish me luck.

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Apple Jelly and Hornets

A friend was helping herself to some apples from my growing mountain of windfall apples, a few weeks ago. She mentioned that she has been making apple herb jelly to go with her lamb roasts, this winter. So easy as it was all chopping and no peeling. My ears pricked up. No need to peel the apples?

This time of year, we have baskets upon baskets of apples. I spend spare moments, peeling and processing them. If I have one empty basket by the end of the day, I am happy! Each apple season, I start off enthusiastic, but after several weeks it wears off. Come midwinter and I know that I will be very happy to have a pie filler ready for use. Its… just ….all ….that… peeeeeling!

So, easy apple jelly sounded good. Today, I made 7 jars of apple and rosemary jelly. It is yummy. The fragrance filled the house. I’ll still make enough pie fillings and apple crumbles to last me till next apple harvest, but this means that I can process the mountain of apples faster and use the windfalls before their bruises get too big.

The spoilt ones end up on the compost, where the hornets feast on them. Still be plenty left for the hornets. Found this hornet under TF’s bed, during the summer. He assures me he didn’t put it there. Fascinating little insects. We show them respect and we never have any problems with them.

Recipe for Apple and Rosemary Jelly

5 lbs roughly chopped up washed apples (discard the bad bits, but include the skin and core)
2 pints of distilled white vinegar
lots of sugar
a handful of rosemary sprigs (or herb such as mint, thyme, sage, etc)

1. Put the apples, rosemary and 2 pints of water in a preserve pan and bring to the boil on the stove. Simmer it for 45 mins or until the fruit is soft. Stir occasionally.

2. Add the vinegar and boil for another 5 minutes.

3.Carefully put the mixture in a jelly bag and let it drip through overnight.

4. Compost the apple pulp and measure the extract back into the preserve pan. For every pint of extract, add 1 lb of sugar to the pan, as well.

5. Put the pan on the stove and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil until it reaches setting point. Remove scum with a spoon.

6. Remove from stove and pot.

I think this will go well with cheese and biscuits, roasts, cold meats, pancakes and lots more. I’m going to make a batch of apple mint jelly next.

(edited: have a look at my apple and rosemary jam jar labelling here)

Thank you all for your lovely comments about the Acorn Wish Fairies. They and their kin are firm favourites when I’m story telling with the children. I’m glad the fairies passed on some of their happy fairy magic to you all.

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