Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Apple Chilli Jelly

There's a chill in the air and even though we are just clinging on to August it feels decidedly like Autumn.
In the garden everything is coming to a head and we have a veritable feast available to us in the vegetable garden.

Down in the orchard the plums have finished but the apples and pears are now almost ready for picking. After we've had our fill of pies and crumbles my favourite thing to make with our surplus of apples is this........


Recipe For Apple Chilli Jelly

• 1.5 kilos of cooking apples (windfalls are fine for this recipe). Washed, chopped roughly - no need to peel or core

• 2 pts/1140ml of water to cover the apples

• Grated rind and juice of one small lemon

• White granulated sugar (the amount depends on the volume of juice extracted from the simmered, drained fruit. Ipt/570ml of juice to 1lb/454gms of sugar

• 2 medium hot red chillies and one Bird’s Eye hot red chilli. Chopped with seeds left in.


1. Put the chopped apples into a large saucepan with the 2 medium hot red chillies and the Bird’s eye chilli.

2. Carefully grate the lemon zest from the lemon. Add to saucepan.

3. Add the water and bring gently to the boil and simmer very gently until all the fruit is soft and mushy (roughly 25 minutes, depending upon how ripe the fruit is).

4. Pour the cooked fruit through sterilised muslin or a jelly bag. The bag is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies, as the jelly bag generally drips overnight.

5. Measure the apple and chilli juice the next day and pour it into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan. Add 454g/1lb of white granulated sugar for each 570ml/1 pt of juice.

6. Add the juice of the lemon.

7. Heat the juice and sugar gently, stirring from time to time. Make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil. Continue to boil for about five minutes before testing for a set. Toss in a nugget of butter towards the end to reduce the frothing that often occurs.

8. When jelly has reached setting point pour into warm sterilised jars using a funnel and ladle.

9. Cover immediately with plastic lined screw top lids or cellophane tops secured with a rubber band. If you want extra heat stir in some finally chopped red birds eye chillies into each jar (no seeds).

Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place. Away from damp.

3.5 pints of juice makes approx 7 pound jars of jelly.

It is absolutely delicious with oatcakes and cheese, especially my favourite - Wensleydale!

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Meet Our New Range of Products!

We are pleased to announce that we are now stockists of a range of beautiful hand crafted wooden products.

They are designed in wood turning workshop located in rural Shropshire, England. They create an innovative range of functional home and garden accessories which evoke traditional style.

Established in 1981, operations began in a ten foot square former wash house at the family’s previous home with a handful of tools and a wood lathe, and working locally sourced timber. Through this initial period a selection of designs came to the fore and developed the focus of the business.

Having soon run out of space the family moved to a disused mill which was formerly both a corn and wood mill dating back many generations. Taking on the mill in a state of disrepair was a great opportunity, and the renovations carried out revived the mills past association with woodworking and turning.

Seeing progress from design through to dispatch under one roof maintains the artisan approach of their business. All of the products are made using solid timber from sustainable sources and production waste is re-used and recycled.

Of the products that we now stock one of my personal favourites are these traditional Roller Towel Rails.

Although traditional in design they would suit both a country or contemporary kitchen and are made from solid oak with a beech roller. The roller towel holders come complete with a towel in a choice of red, blue or natural and cost £37.

Another great product and a must for any gardeners or dog walkers are these Wall Mounted Welly Racks.

Wall mounted racks free floor space and allow unhindered sweeping or vacuum cleaning. The turned pegs hold any size boot upside-down to prevent damp collecting inside.

Made from oak and available in 2 or 3-pair racks, the peg spacing is designed to mount multiple racks end-to-end, or one above the other to suit any size house or family. The three pair racks cost £36.50 and the two pair racks £27.50.

We hope that you like them as much as we do!

Monday, 15 August 2011

A Problem Solved

In my living room I have a problem with the wall behind the sofa and over the radiator. It is a space aching to be filled and I have tried (and wasted money I might add!) various forms of artwork but none of it looks right. So whist working away in the Homes and Dreams HQ my attention was drawn to this......

There it was hanging on the office wall stuffed with all sorts of odds and ends and not looking particularly attractive. With a flash of inspiration and a few hours later...........voila! Problem solved.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Christmas Comes But Twice A Year

This time yesterday Christmas arrived at my house in the form of a magazine photo shoot. The day before a rather bemused courier had delivered a real Christmas tree in preparation for the shoot.

The decorations were rooted out from the shed...............

and presents were wrapped...........

I have to admit that I had been cleaning like a woman possessed and you know all of those little DIY jobs that you never get round to? Well we finally managed to get them all ticked off the list.

We had such an exciting day with the team who never stopped from start to finish and they did a great job in making our house look so festive.

I really can't wait to see the end result, it's a bit like waiting for Christmas!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sweet Peas

In the garden at the moment there is an abundance of sweet peas. They were grown from seed and this is the first year that I have had the chance to grow them.........

 ......each day there appears to be more and more of these wonderfully scented delicate flowers.........

.....and I'm very happy with the results!