Sunday, 15 September 2013

A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY MORNING......and our first apple harvest!


As I sit and write this, watching the rain pouring down outside and listening to the wind getting up, it is hard to believe that this was the scene outside early this morning.  I woke to beautiful blue sky and sunshine, and a bright crisp autumnal feel in the air, and rushed outside with my camera to try to capture the moment.  Still and peaceful, with the grass still heavy with dew, it was the perfect start to Sunday.

In front of the house, across the drive and the pond, is the small orchard of a dozen or so trees, that we planted four years ago as part of our initial landscaping after building the house.....transforming what was a rural former equestrian site, car park and water logged paddocks.  

The orchard today consists of mainly a mixture of eating and cooking apples, with a couple of pear, quince and medlar trees, and is something we look forward to expanding further over 
the coming year.  

Being in their infancy over the last few years, combined with last year's disappointing summer, we have not had much fruit to speak of......until now!

This wonderful summer has produced a fantastic crop of apples......

Now ripe and ready for picking!

Delicious, crisp and juicy......

It seems that I was not the only one out this morning, looking for delicious sweet fruit!

Dog owners out your dogs eat fruit?
Unusual I gather from the vet.... but our dogs 'Rocco' and 'Kiki' love it!

Reluctant to waste this precious crop, I shall have to be inventive with ways to preserve it.....and one of my favourites is to make a delicious jelly to eat with roast pork or lamb, over the winter months.....

Together with the last of the lavender from the garden...

....which is still in full bloom in the slightly shaded part of the garden behind the house.....

I share with you, this delicious recipe.....taken from a book I have enjoyed sharing before, 'GIFTS FROM THE GARDEN' 
by Debora Robertson.

'Lavender Wine Jelly'


1.5 kg cooking apples
350 ml white wine
3 tablespoons lavender, plus lavender sprigs for finishing
Granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Roughly chop the apples - no need to peel or core them.
Place them in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and then simmer, covered, until the apples are very soft.  This should take 45 minutes to an hour.  Suspend a jelly bag over a bowl and tip the apples into it.  Leave them to drip overnight.

Pour the wine into a pan with the lavender (not the sprigs), bring to the boil to a simmer, remove from the heat and strain through muslin.  Place a saucer in the freezer and chill.

Pour the lavender infused wine into the strained juice from the apples and measure.  For every 600 ml juice, weigh out 450g sugar.  Tip the sugar and juice into a preserving or other large pan and warm over a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil until the setting point is reached, about 15 minutes.  It's reached the setting point when you drop a teaspoonful onto the chilled saucer and it wrinkles when you push it with your finger.

Remove from the heat and skim to remove any scum.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour into warm, sterilised jars and add a lavender sprig to each jar.  Cover the top of the jelly with waxed discs and then seal the jars with either cellophane covers or screw on lids.

Stored in a cool, dark place, the jelly will keep for a year.


I hope you have had a very happy weekend!

Sophia xx


  1. Dear Sophia,

    Such a delight to have your own orchard! The apples look really good. Unfortunately I don't have dogs, so I can't tell you about their (fruit) eating habits.....

    The recipe sounds good!

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

  2. We have a bumper harvest of apples too. And the blackberries in our field are amazing.
    Yes, my springer spaniel loves fruit, he will even eat the blackberries straight off the hedge!

    Have a good week ahead.