hello sunshine

Every month for the last 7 months I’ve made a cocktail jam for hilbarn, some planned well in advance, others out of serendipity. So far the toughest has been apple. I hadn’t made a lot of dominantly apple preserves; they’ve always been the background note, the substance if you like, of blueberry jams and assorted chutneys. So yes, it was definitely time apples took the spotlight. After all, this is The Apple Isle. Apples are everywhere. They keep well, and they are so versatile.

For example: sauce a whole lot of apples, stir the sauce into caramel, spike it with salt and vanilla, then keep stirring for three songs… repeat 18 or so times to get 125 jars of Caramel Apple Butter which you can also dose with rum. Ohh, that’s a bit wicked.

Or: simmer with lemons and rosemary to make an Apple Marmalade that’s fabulously sharp and sunny initially but over the winter months will mellow until it matches with Cheddar. Now try that on crumpets. Or glazing a roast, lamb or pork, your choice. Then again, it’s a grey damp day today and a little pot of sunshine could be just the thing to lift the spirits.

Next up: continuing both the apple and warming themes, it’s going to be hot and a little bit sticky…