Nina Nixon


I'm Nina, a photographer, film maker and forever wanderer.  Passionate about nature, the great outdoors and all of life's adventures.  This is the place where I keep all my 'field notes'

Autumn Kitchen

Morning all -

did you have a wonderful, chilled out and relaxing weekend?

Apart from dismantling our Summer beach hut as mentioned yesterday we spent (in shifts) the rest of our weekend in the kitchen cooking, preserving, bottling and making the most of the elderberries and windfall apples that we are surrounded by at the moment swaying along to Miles Davis, cappuccino in hand and the warm homely smell of apples and cinnamon wafting around the house. A perfect weekend doing things that I enjoy.

Alas though all the blackberries are now gone so no more jam and the jars we did manage to squeeze out are now on rations.

So what did we make??

Well apart from the usual Saturday night tea time, Sunday morning breakfasting and a roast, I spent - all day - Saturday making apple butter and Mr T had the task of elderberry syrup.

Now when I say 'all day making apple butter' that is somewhat of a slight exaggeration because the slow cooker did most of the work - the first time in ages that I have used the slow cooker may I add. Tis definitely that time of year again.

Anyway, as mentioned in a previous post I had never heard of apple butter before so decided to track down a couple of recipes.

The one that appealed to me the most was a slow cook one, which meant dragging the slow cooker out from the depths of the cupboard where I had buried it back at the end of February (2010) and giving it a jolly good dusting down.

All good so far.

But the one thing I had forgotten though was how long it takes to peel, core and chop apples and as I needed 5 ½ lbs - it took me a blimming long time. Lets just say after half and hour and only having managed to accumulate 2lbs into my slow cooker I had to call in the cavalry - Mr T - who not only told me I would be there all day because of the piddling little apples I was using, but also went and picked me some huge great cookers from the tree in our garden and helped me peel, core and chop as well - job done in 10 minutes - aaaaahhhhhh!

This is the recipe I used.

Anyway. Apple butter - delish!! After it's 11 hour stint in the slow cook it all kind of caramelised down to this beautiful dark golden appley liquid that tastes like home cooked apple pie - without the pastry.

I've been spreading it liberally on my favourite snack at the moment - ryvita thins. Though I'm sure it's a lot more versatile then just ryvita's - I need to experiment.

Honestly I cannot rave on enough how truly tasty this stuff is though next time it's an on the stove top recipe for me - a slight variation in ingredients, but it's good to have variety I think.

This is the recipe I'm going to try next - plus no peeling or coring needed - bonus!

And as for the elderberry syrup - well it's one of those things we have never made, but are totally aware of their healing powers especially in the cold and flu department so what better way to use the elderberries now in season then to make a syrup.

I didn't have any hand in the process of this because Mr T made it all. But I can tell you that it tastes (again) delicious. Like a medicinal ribeana and something the children would drink as well.

Now I know it doesn't look very good decanted into Grolsh bottles, but at the time that is all we had to hand so for the sake of a little aesthetics, as long as it does the job then who am I to argue?

Though Mr T now has his eye on making elderberry liqueur - a grown up version of the syrup you could say, but more of a hot toddy - definitely my favourite tipple when I'm feeling all bunged up with a cold or feverish with flu.

Here's hoping though the Boo's will be germ free this year - just one year would be nice.

Have a fabulous day and a wonderful week - I hope I've inspired.......a little.