Creativity moves into the Kitchen

September always flies by. There was some lovely late summer sunshine and it’s always a dash to collect the autumn berries to make a few preserves especially when a basket full of fallers (apples) are starting to look a bit jaded. Love anything that is free!

We don’t eat a lot of jam, so I prefer to make jellies. More versatile, they can be used sweet on toast, scones, cakes, or with savoury; great with cheese and meats, cold and hot. Apples was chopped, cooked and hanging in the jelly bag overnight to collect the juice to make the base. The morning was spent collecting whatever we could find. The afternoon spent creating.

Chinese Spiced Hawthorn Jelly, Thyme, Lemon Verbena and Mint Jelly, Rose Petal Apple Jelly and Sloe Jelly

Rose Petal Jelly – Leaving my mums house, I saw some shrub rose flowers flopped in the rain. She wasn’t in and didn’t think she would miss them ( sorry mum!) . I’ve never made it before, but surprisingly the jelly did take on a lovely gentle pink hue and adding some rosewater enhanced the flavour.

Thyme, Mint and Lemon Verbena Apple Jelly – A favourite is the mint jelly with cold meats and especially lamb. My mint was looking very raggy and leggy, so I made a muddle of herbs from what I could salvage from the garden. The smell in my hand was good, so thought it would make a good mix with the thyme giving it a bit of depth. Will still be good with lamb.

Sloe Jelly – Usually our sloes go to making Sloe Gin. This will still be the case, but with so many picked I found a recipe for sloe apple jelly and the result was fantastic. It has an almost alcoholic smell, reminiscent of sloe gin. Sloes have no smell when picked but release a lovely aroma when cooked or steeped. And the colour is so rich. This jelly has a lovely tartness and will be great with game and cheeses.

Chinese Spiced Hawthorn Jelly – I had never made Hawthorn Jelly before, but with the lack of blackberries this year, it was time to give it a go. The juice was bland and bitter and only slightly coloured, but they are packed with vitamins and minerals and very good for you. I had nearly two litres of apple juice remaining and didn’t want a bland jelly, so went through the spice cupboard to find something which might complement it. Star Anise was the obvious choice because it wouldn’t cloud the jelly and would look pretty floating in it. I then added a stick of ginger for more flavour and two chopped chillies to float like jewels. The resulting jelly was amazing and would be lovely with cold meats or any pork dishes. It could be melted into sauces too.

Oh… and just to keep the Art theme going and to remind me what this blog was supposed to be about, here is my latest painting, inspired by autumnal weather.

Maer Low Beach, Dodging the Showers

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