Sunday, 16 October 2011

Of apples and fire monsters

Having lived in metropolitan areas for most of my life, York's embarrassment of apples has come as something of a shock to me. It seems like almost everyone here has an orchard in their back garden. So, having volunteered harvesting fruit with Edible York's Abundance project for over a year now, I've finally got around to thinking about cider.

After an abortive attempt at using a mini home press loaned to me by the project, I was about to give up with only a litre of juice and a busted shoulder to show for it. Fortunately, Saturday was Apple Day at St Nicholas Fields, and I cheekily took my fruit along on the off-chance I could get it pressed by them. It was a lovely day - I stuffed myself silly on a variety of apple desserts, and failed miserably at the longest apple peel competition. To top it off, it just shows that if you don't ask, you don't get, and now I have a gallon of juice waiting to ferment, as well as some left over for normal un-alcoholic drinking purposes.

It wasn't perhaps so cheeky, as I did spend much of the day over a hot brazier making caramelised apples for the general public from Abundance apples. Whilst doing so, I totally fell in love with Bernie, the "Fire Monster" upon which I was cooking. He was made by this chap here who does sell them to the public, but sadly has no web page as yet. Since then I've been hinting heavily that a Bernie of my very own would be a highly appropriate Christmas present.


The best way to get fully matured sloe gin, apparently, is to forget to put enough sugar in it, then not drink it because it's grim, fully intending to get around to sweetening it up, but inevitably never getting around to it.

This is why I have a small bottle that I made last year, which lies undrunk on my shelf. Well, NO LONGER! Today I have actually gone and got off my arse and sorted it. The sugar should all be dissolved by the time we (*fingers crossed*) move into a new and exciting house, and shall therefore get polished off in one sitting come the beginning of November.

So now, what to do with those gin-soaked sloes? Never one to miss an alcoholic opportunity, I'm going to try this recipe for sloe sherry. I don't even like sherry, but I can't not try!