Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to our blog where we share our new love of foraging, cooking, home-brew and other attempts at self sufficiency!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Apple Vodka

Family and friends were treated to food and drink hampers for Christmas. My step mum and little brother are quite partial to vodka so I decided to make flavoured vodka using the windfall apples I was given

6 medium sized apples
750ml bottle of vodka

Peel and core the apples
Place in an airtight container suitable of holding at least 1litre
Pour the vodka over the apples
Leave at least 2 weeks
Pour the vodka through a double layer of muslin
Pour vodka into sterilised bottles
Drink and enjoy

Some recipes state that you should leave the skin and core in. I disagree, by removing both before soaking, after the vodka has been strained you can eat the apples.


I love grown up cereals but at £2.50 for a small box, I could buy at least 3 own brand cereals for the children so decided to make my own. I started out making a recipe which I have listed here.

500g porridge oats
200g granulated sugar
100g mixed chopped nuts
3tbsp vegetable oil
3tbsp lemon juice
3tbsp golden syrup

Preaheat oven to 150C
Mix together the liquid ingrediants
Place all the dry ingrediants in a large roasting tray
Pour the wet mix over the dry mix and stir
Bake in oven for 10 minutes and then stir thoroughly
Bake for another 10 minutes and stir again
Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the mix has a golden brown colour

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

'bottled' apple sauce

We very rarely use apple sauce in house so any apple sauce that I was going to make must have a good shelf life. I recently saw an episode of river cottage that was looking at bottling and this appealed to me.

2kg apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2-3tbsp granlated sugar
cinnamon to taste

Place the apples in a large saucepan.
Add half a cup of water.
Simmer over a medium heat for approximately 15 minutes until the apples are soft.
Use a masher to reduce the apples to the desired consistancy.
If you want a fine apple sauce use a hand blender to puree the sauce
Depending on the apples you may want to add sugar to sweeten.
Add cinnamon to taste.

Whilst the sauce is hot pour into sterilised kilner jars.
Leave 1/4 inch space above the sauce.
Seal the jars.
Place a folded tea towel on the bottom of a large and deep saucepan.
Fill with boiling water.
Slowly lower the jars into the saucepan.
The water should be at least an inch above the top of the jars.
Simmer for 2o minutes.
Carefull remove the finished product

apple wine

I was kindly given access to windfall apples, that were surplus to the owners requirements, so I have been using apples in as many ways as possible this last two weeks and apple wine was first on the agenda.

3kg apples a mix is best but any you have will work
1kg granulated sugar
250g raisins optional

Prepare a yeast starter in advance.
Place 100ml warm water, 50g granulated sugar, 1tsp yeast, 1tsp pectolsae, 1tsp wine yeast, and 1 tsp citric acid in a bottle. Mix and leave in a warm place for a few hours
Thoroughly wash the apples and rinse in a sterilised solution.
Place the chopped apples into a sterilised white fermentation bucket.
Add sugar.
Pour over 3 litres of boiling water.
Stir until all the sugar has been dissolved.
Add 2litres of cold water.
Add the yeast starter mix.
Cover closely and leave in a warm place for 2 weeks, stirring every couple of days.
Strain the must through a lined funnel into a sterilised demijohn.
Top up the demijohn to the shoulders with cooled boiled water if required.
Seal with a bung and air trap.
If using a rubber bung cover it in cling film, remembering to leave a hole by the air trap, to prevent the wine tasting of rubber. Adding a few drops of food colouring to the water can help make the bubbles wasier to see.
Leave the wine to ferment to dryness.
The wine will stop producing bubbles when dryness has been reached.
Rack the wine from the demijohn and leave to mature.

I have read that apple wine tastes better when chilled. We have only just filtered the must. But if the end product tastes as nice as this my birthday bash should be a great night!

egg custard tart

I was trying to think of something to cook for dessert using todays eggs, from our 'girls', when I remembered having egg custard tarts as a child. So I looked for a few proper custard recipes and decided on a basic version that I adapted.

- 3x free range eggs
- 150g of granulated sugar
- 1tsp of vanilla extract
- sprinkle of grated nutmeg optional
- pack of ready made shortcrust pastry

Blind bake a pie dish lined with shortcrust pastry for 15 minutes at 180C.
Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Place milk in saucepan and bring to a boil.
Pour a small amount of the boiled milk into the egg and sugar mix.
Mix throughly.
Add the rest of the milk to the egg and sugar mix.
Pour the custard into the tart base.
Sprinke nutmeg over the custard tart.
Bake for 30 minutes.
The custard should have a slight wobble when ready.
A knife will also come out clean.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sloe Gin

I got very excited when I noticed that there were sloes in a local hedgerow. Today was teh first dry day in over a week so picked a pound in 10 minutes. Enough for my first ever batch of sle gin. This recipe was taken from the Cottage Small Holder although I have adapted it slightly.

1lb sloes
175g granulated sugar
700ml gin
1/2tsp almond flavouring

Clean, destalk and prick every sloe and place in a large sterile jar.
The jar will need to accomodate at least 1litre of fluid
Add the other ingrediants.
Shake daily until the sugar has disolved.
Leave to mature for at least three months.

If you intend to drink this after 3months then it would be advisable to taste after one month and add extra sugar to taste if needed. However, the sloe-gin is reported to be much better if left to mature for 12 months.

Friday, 5 November 2010

wholegrain mustard

Makes enough to fill three 7oz jars

75g yellow mustard seeds
75g black mustard seeds
150ml white wine vinegar
2tbsp clear honey
1/2 grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Combine the mustard seeds in a mixing bowl.
Pour the vinegar over the mustard seeds.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight to allow the mustard seeds to soak up some of the vinegar and soften slightly.
Add the other ingrediants and combine with a hand mixer.
Pour into sterilised jars and keep refrigerated once opened.

This mustard will take 2 weeks to mature. We made this today and the mustard smells divine. I have tried a little of the mustard, as it stands, but the flavour is too harsh. You must leave this mustard to stand for the flavour to combine and mellow.