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Pub Quiz

by Admin Edatachase

Pub Quiz

  1. Where did the tradition of Apple Bobbing originate?
    1. America
    2. Rome
    3. Britain
    4. Brazil
  2. What percentage of apples grown in the UK are used for cider making?
    1. 26%
    2. 36%
    3. 46%
    4. 56%
  3. Does rum get drier with age or sweeter?
    1. Drier
    2. Sweeter
  4. What country has the highest per capita gin consumption?
    1. England
    2. Malaysia
    3. Holland
    4. The Philippines

(Answer: b. Rome. Apple Bobbing was a courting ritual during the celebrations to the goddess Pomona at the end of October. If two youths bit the same apple, they were destined to have a long and fruitful marriage)

(Answer: d. 56%)

(Answer: b. Sweeter)

(Answer: d. The Philippines. Apparently they consume 25 million cases of gin annually)

Apple Meringue Pie

by Admin Edatachase

I really wish I could take credit for this recipe. I really, really do. Unfortunately, my mum gets all the credit. She is gifted at picking up seemingly random things and making magic. In this instance, she made a nut butter, crumbly base, which makes this dessert creamy, sweet, tart, earthy, smooth, crunchy, light and filling – in other words, a perfect combination.

Anyway, I’ve stolen it! I present to you the fruits of my crime.


  • 300 grammes of digestive biscuits crumbed
  • Either 250 grammes of hazelnut butter or 200 grammes of toasted hazelnuts ground finely + 50ml of sunflower/hazelnut oil
  • Extra (sunflower) oil if needed



  • Ratio 1 egg white to 50 grammes granulated or caster sugar


  1. Heat your oven to 190 degrees C
  2. Make base – mix together biscuit crumbs and hazelnut cream (or biscuit crumbs, finely ground hazlenuts and oil)
  3. If the mixture does not hold together, add more oil incrementally.  You will use your hands to press the mixture into your base, so the mixture can be crumbly.
  4. If you are using a plate, make sure it is over proof.  Or use a pie tin which is not too deep.
  5. Press the biscuit and nut mixture into the base
  6. Cover the base with the apple curd
  7. Arrange the sliced apple over the apple butter (if using)
  8. Make the meringue: beat the egg whites to soft peaks.  Add the sugar a spoon at a time and beat in until smooth.  The meringue should hold its shape and be shiny once all the sugar has been added.
  9. Cover the pie with the meringue and pile into an artistic mound.
  10. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
  11. Leave to cool and serve.

Serving suggestions

Serve with Courtney’s Light Cider


by Admin Edatachase

Makes 4 filled apples and 16 cupcakes

Happy Halloween everyone!

The weather has turned and it is time for sweet, dense desserts, that will warm you to your toes, so that you will be prepared for all the spooky events.

I present to you a double recipe of gooey stuffed baked apples (they’re like steamed puddings in an apple) and pumpkin-apple cupcakes, with an extra recipe (because I’m extra nice) for Grumblebee Honey Spiced Rum Caramel!

Muffin Recipe

  • 4 apples
  • 300g flour
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g cup pumpkin puree
  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 75g cup grated apple (peeled and cored)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Chop the tops off the apples and core them, making a cupcake sized indent.
  3. If you want to, carve out a jack-o-lantern face into the apple, being sure not to go all the way through to the hollow. 
  4. Combine and sift the dry ingredients.
  5. Combine the eggs, pumpkin, oil and apples and blend them together.
  6. Preheat air fryer to 180°C.
  7. Mix the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth.
  8. Spoon the batter into the pre-prepared apples and place the ‘lids’ of the apples over the mixture.
  9. Place the apples in the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes. I did test this in a standard oven, but it didn’t work at all. The cake batter stayed raw, even after 40 minutes.
  10. Fill lined cupcake tin with the rest of the batter and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Remove from the appliances. If you have carved faces into your apples, you can emphasise the look with some food colouring on the tip of a toothpick. Paint in the carved features for a truly spooky look.
  12. Serve the whole apples warm with rum caramel (recipe below) and ice cream. Allow the muffins to cool and serve with rum caramel (recipe below)

Rum Caramel

  • 200g sugar
  • 5 tbsp Grumblebee Honey Spiced Rum
  • 230ml cream (room temperature)
  • 85g butter (cubed and room temperature)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Put the sugar and rum in a heavy bottomed pan and stir over high heat until it is melted. Brush down the pan with water regularly to prevent burning. Stir occasionally.
  2. When the sugar, rum mix has caramelised into a deep gold colour, add the cream. This will make the mixture bubble violently, so be careful and mix vigorously.
  3. As soon as the cream has been combined, add the cubed butter and mix in.
  4. As soon as the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat and add salt and vanilla. Mix.
  5. Serve.

Serving Suggestions

Grumblebee Honey Spiced Rum and Ginger Ale.

A Potted History of Halloween and Apples

by Admin Edatachase

The interesting thing about certain events or associations is that sometimes, just sometimes, everything conspires to make all events inevitable. In Aristotelian tragedy there is always a point of no return, where the protagonist makes their choice and from there on in there is only one possible outcome. All plot points lead to a single outcome. Oedipus kills his father and his downfall is determined. When Macbeth kills the king, there will be no good outcome. When Manon decides to abandon her journey to the convent, there is only one path left for her.  

The association of apples with Halloween is perhaps less dramatic, but certainly seems to be fate conspiring for a single scenario: toffee apples and apple bobbing.

As long ago as 400BC, there is evidence that people would put out apples and nuts at the turning of the season to feed the spirits. This was to celebrate the Celtic/Gaelic festival of Samhain, marking the end of the harvest season and that festival falls directly between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, or October 31st.

Apples were a symbol of life, plenty and (most importantly for the spirits) immortality. The offering of apples on Samhain were thought to open the barrier between the living and the dead and thus began the tradition of Halloween.

When the Romans invaded Britain in 55BC (and going forward) they brought their own culture and traditions that they wanted to impose on the populace. The end of Samhain, right? We picked it back up later on?


The Roman festival of Feralia fell in late October, a festival to mark the passing of the dead and also a time to honour Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit, whose symbol was an apple. One of the traditions associated with this festival was youths bobbing for apples together in a barrel. The tradition held that if a boy and a girl bit into the same apple, they were going to have a long and fertile marriage… sort of a proto-Valentine’s day, but also celebrating the dead..?

When All Saint’s Day was established by Pope Boniface IV in 609AD and the Celtic lands were converted (around the 9th century), it seemed natural that the traditions of Samhain would blend with this new festival and lead to pageants of saints, ghosts and devils, as well as the older traditions of bobbing and eating the harvest of apples each year.

Pub Quiz

by Admin Edatachase

  • 1)What key event made Gin popular in England?
    • a)Edward III’s marriage to Philippa of Hanault (1328)
    • b)The end of the first Anglo-Dutch War (1654)
    • c)William of Orange’s Accession and the Glorious Revolution (1688)
    • d)The end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815)
  • 2)George Washington was a big rum fan and loved making rum cocktails. Which of these was apparently one of his favourites?
    • a)Mount Vernon Eggnog
    • b)Daiquiri
    • c)Planter’s Punch
    • d)Hot Buttered Rum
  • 3)The first record of labourers in England having their wages supplemented by pints of cider was 1204 and the practice continued. The Trucker Act put a stop to this in what year?
    • a)1812
    • b)1856
    • c)1887
    • d)1913
  • 4)If you have unripe tomatoes, put them in a bag with what to speed up ripening?
    • a)A tablespoon of cider
    • b)A tablespoon of rum
    • c)A tablespoon of gin
    • d)1 ripe apple

(Answer: c) William of Orange’s Accession and the Glorious Revolution. While Gin (a more distilled version of Dutch Genever) had gained some popularity as a medicinal drink during the Stuart reign, but when the Dutch William II and Mary II became co-sovereigns of England, Scotland and Ireland, Gin production proliferated so much that it eventually it became the national drink.)

(Answer: a) Mount Vernon Eggnog was apparently invented by George Washington, although there is no real evidence of this. The recipe circulated as being George Washingtons includes: “One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry – mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”

I can only assume that this was a for a large party, but for the sake of my health, I am not going to test it out!

(Answer: c) The Trucker Act of 1887 prohibited cider being used as wages, but the practice took a long time to dry out (pun intended) and continued into the 20th century.)

(Answer: d) 1 ripe apple. Apples release ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening of tomatoes.


No Knead Air Fryer Cider Bread

by Admin Edatachase

My love affair with this recipe started about a year ago and it has developed into a steady, committed relationship of previously unknown depths. It is quick, low energy (both for you and your bills) and clean, only using one bowl and a spatula (and a bowl to weigh out the flour, but I reuse that to weigh out the dogs’ rice, so choose not to count it).

This was originally a Dutch Oven recipe, which always produced crusty, fabulous loaves, but also mean my oven was on at 240°C for 1½ hours and recently I decided… not to do that. So, we were missing out on lovely homemade bread.

Fortunately, I gave into the craze and got myself an air fryer, became dutifully obsessed and one day, while extoling the virtues of this heavenly contraption, I decided to test its limits with this bread. Sorting out the timings was a bit hit and miss, but this recipe is nothing if not forgiving and I quickly hit on this winning recipe for success.

The recipe itself is very simple: yeast, sugar, water, cider, flour and salt. If you stick to the ratios and methodology, it is an extremely flexible recipe, so you can adapt it to your taste. My family likes brown bread, so I personally split my flour between strong white and wholemeal bread flours and that works very well, although it does produce a denser loaf than when I use just strong white bread flour. You can add any herbs and spices you feel like to make it your own.

Cider adds a fantastic flavour to the bread, making it ever so slightly sweeter and much more interesting. So far I’ve stuck with the classics, but I wonder what would happen if you used Mixed Berries Frapple…


  • 200ml Courtney’s Cider
  • 100ml hot water
  • 11g dry active yeast (1½ packets)
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 400g bread flour
  • 1 large pinch salt 
  1. Mix the dry active yeast and sugar together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour over the Courtney’s Cider and hot water and wait for the yeast to activate.
  3. Mix together the flour and salt. If the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast, it will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.
  4. When the yeast has frothed (about 5-10 minutes, but wait for longer if it’s cold) tip your flour and salt mixture into the liquid and mix with a spatula until the ingredients are combined and no flour is visible on the surface of the dough.
  5. Cover and leave in a warm place to proof. If it’s warm, the dough should double in size in an hour, but if it’s cold either wait it out, or take the opportunity to turn a radiator on for an hour with double the purpose.
  6. When the dough has doubled in size, take the spatula and fold the edges into the middle of the dough, moving in a circular motion, until the dough is retaining its shape.
  7. Recover and leave to proof for 40 minutes.
  8. Preheat the air fryer to 205°C.
  9. When the air fryer is heated, place a piece of baking paper on the bottom of the basket and easy the dough onto the paper using a spatula. The dough is loose and will not hold its shape. Try not to lose any air bubbles during the transfer.
  10. Set the air fryer to 25 minutes and walk away.
  11. Check and either take it out, or add another 2 minutes, if you feel the bread isn’t quite baked.
  12. Let the bread cool before serving, or it will crumble.

Serving Suggestions

Add garlic powder to your flour mix and make a garlic butter to dip the bread into. From experience, this will make any dinner party guest ask for the recipe at the first bite. Serve with Whimple Orchards Cider.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

by Admin Edatachase

When I cut open an acorn squash, I am immediately struck by the colours and smells of autumn. Bright orange, rich and earthy. It’s like a walk in the woods just when the leaves are beginning to turn. This recipe is perfect to make after a long autumn walk as well. It warms you through and leaves you feeling full and light at the same time - a healthy comfort food.

The other lovely thing is that after you have rubbed the squash with the oil and spices, your hands smell like ginger biscuits for hours afterwards and isn’t that the best smell in the world?

The filling can be whatever you want it to be, but this is the mixture that I personally love. Adzuki beans are one of my favourites when the weather turns, again because of the earthy, filling flavours (so a leftover half tin will get used up very quickly) and you can’t go wrong with onion, garlic and mushroom. The pepper prevents the mixture from becoming a bit dry, which can happen and freshens the mix. The apple and carrot are a lovely addition, especially if you want to emphasise the sweetness of the squash, but they are not essential.

The spice mix I’ve listed below is my personal favourite. I found it in The Forme of Cury, a recipe book from the 14th century. It is called Poudre Forte, or strong powder, a blend of cinnamon, ginger and white pepper, in whatever ratio you prefer. I find a ratio of 2:2:1 works best. I always have a big jar of it on hand, because it seems to go with everything, but you can make it for a single meal, I suppose…

The Recipe:

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Tsp oil of choice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Spice mixture: 1 tsp powdered ginger; 1 tsp powdered cinnamon; ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ can Adzuki Beans (well drained)
  • ½ Onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Chestnut mushrooms (finely diced)
  • ½ Bell Pepper (finely diced)
  • 1 Carrot (grated)
  • 1 Apple (finely diced) (optional)
  • ½ tsp thyme
  1. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and guts.
  2. Brush the exposed flesh with oil and seasoning and place on baking tray. Roast at 190°C for 45 minutes, until the flesh is easily pierced by a fork (if you are using an air fryer, then 12 minutes at 200°C works)
  3. While the squash is roasting, fry the onions over a medium heat. When the onions are softened, add the mushrooms, apple and garlic. Season with salt, thyme and a tsp of the spice mixture. When the mushrooms are fully cooked, add the carrot and bell pepper and cook for another minute.
  4. Remove the squash from the oven and spoon the filling into the hollows. If there is filling left (there probably will be) don’t worry, as it is fantastic reheated with rice.
  5. You can serve it at this point, or return it to the oven to crisp. In the oven, at 180°C for 10-15 minutes. In the air fryer, at 180°C for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Serve with salad.


Serving Suggestions

Pairs well with Whimple Orchards Cider 

Available here:

Zero waste tips

Seeds: wash them; toss in olive oil, garlic, paprika and salt and roast at 180°C for 12-15 minutes. It’s a healthy snack, or great addition to soup.


  • Add to stock. Pumpkin guts will sweeten your stock and make it naturally thicker. Remember you have added it, or you might get surprised by the different consistency (I speak from experience)
  • Boil it thoroughly, strain and add it to your dog’s food. They will love you forever. It’s also good for them, but mainly the loving you thing.
  • Face mask: boil the guts until soft and strain them. Blend the cooked guts with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread on your face and leave for 20 minutes. It’s really good for dry skin.
  • Juice: Pour boiling water over the guts to soften them. Remove from the water, mash them up with a form and put through a strainer. Add the resulting juice to other juices or smoothies. 
  • Compost. Make sure the seeds are removed, or you will end up with lots of pumpkin plants in your compost.


  • Give them to your dustbin-dog (mine did not give me a choice. He might love squash skins more than he loves me)
  • Compost
  • Pumpkin chips: I have never done this, but apparently if you put cooked pumpkin skin coated with olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg in the air fryer for 8 minutes at 195°C they are very nice. Aforementioned dustbin-dog has prevented me from ever trying this out. 

An Apple By Any Other Name

by Admin Edatachase

Language is a funny thing. We take for granted that words mean what they mean and have always meant what they mean, at least with something as simple as an apple. An Apple is an Apple. A delicious fruit that grows on a tree and when handed to a person, that person will say “this is an apple”. Or, as the basic definition goes “the fruit of the apple tree”.

What if I were to tell you that that was not always the case?

Unsatisfied with the definitions I was finding or was casting around to invent, I turned to my mum’s absolutely enormous Complete Oxford English Dictionary, which is two volumes that are too heavy for my kitchen scales, borderline too heavy for me to lift and require a magnifying glass to read. I hope you appreciate my efforts.

And the results of these labours? An apple is indeed the fruit of the apple tree.


The word itself actually derives from the Old English word ‘æppel’, which is itself derived from proto-Germanic word ‘aplaz’ and in both case the word originally meant ‘a fruit’… any fruit could be called an apple, although it seemed to have been used most often when a fruit (or vegetable) had a vaguely apple-ish shape. As the dictionary says ‘… from the earliest period the word was used with the greatest latitude’.

An Apple of Punic, for example, meant the Pomegranate.

Dates were ‘finger-apples’ in Old English (fingeræppla).

When the fruit was first brought to England, an Apple of Paradise described a banana.  Whether the word made the idea, of the other way around, there arose the belief that the banana might have been the real forbidden fruit on the tree of paradise, rather than the too oft criticised apple as in an apple. The theory for this switch of illicit fruit was developed by 15th century missionaries, because the seeds inside the banana formed a cross shape (if you slice the banana across its diameter and not along its length).  The cross proved that the banana was clearly the fruit in the Garden of Eden.  The historic timeline of this theory is a bit awry, when the old and new testaments collide … but it does let the apple off the hook, so I’ll let them have this one.

A Cucumber was an earth-apple (eorþæppla). Not to be confused with the real Apple Cucumbers (confusing when Googling the difference).

Wild Tomatoes were known as Apples of Sodom, a fruit which ancient writers believed would dissolve into smoke when plucked… I think the plucked tomatoes might have been overly ripe.

Pomena, the Roman goddess of fruit trees, is named for the sweet apple. The pomme de terre or ‘apple of the earth’ as the potato is called in French?

In the 17th century people made the collective decision that the Apple, as we know it today, deserved to be recognised as the one and only fruit that it is. Not only that, but they honoured it with the name above of all fruit, because that is what it deserved. 

Pub Quiz

by Admin Edatachase

  • 1)Children in the 14th century were baptised in what?
    • a)Ale
    • b)Cider
    • c)Sack (a precursor to sherry)
    • d)Wine
  • 2)How many varieties of apples are there in the world?
    • a)2500
    • b)5000
    • c)7500
    • d)10000
  • 3)What is the oldest spirit in the world drunk for pleasure and not medicine?
    • a)Rum
    • b)Gin
    • c)Brandy
    • d)Whisky
  • 4)How much does a bushel of apples weigh?
    • a)20lbs
    • b)28lbs
    • c)40lbs
    • d)48lbs

(Answer: b) Cider. There were no water filtration systems in the 14th century, but people were beginning to be aware that dirty water could be spreading diseases, like the Black Death. Children were baptised in cider, as it was more sanitary. Cider, Ale and Wine were -commonly drunk throughout the day, rather than water. Sack (sweet or dry sherry) became popular in the 16th century in England, most famously as the Shakespeare character Falstaff’s favourite drink.

(Answer: c) 7500. 2500 varieties are grown in the UK. If you were to eat a different type of apple every day, it would take nearly 7 years for you to get through all the varieties in the UK alone and over 20 years to eat all the varieties in the world.)

(Answer: a) Rum. Rum is made from fermented sugarcane and references to such a drink is recorded in places as disparate as ancient India, the Malay Peninsula, Cyprus, Iran and Brazil, throughout ancient and early medieval times. Distilled rum was first produced in the Caribbean in the 17th century, as plantation slaves discovered that molasses (a by-product of sugar refining) could be fermented and that distillation made it purer.)

(Answer: d) 48lbs. A ‘bushel’ is not a standard measurement and its definition changes depending on what you are weighing. A bushel of fresh apples is 48lbs. A bushel of dried apples is 21lbs. A bushel of apple seeds is 40lbs… I really am very grateful for the metric system.)

Apple and Rum Curd

by Admin Edatachase


I love making curds. Adore it. It’s quick, cheap and incredibly flexible.

A good curd is delicious on toast (obviously – most things are), but it also forms the basis of so many desserts and when I have a curd in the fridge it means I can whip something delicious up in seconds: mousse, ice cream, cake, waffles, tarts, cream buns. It has literally never gone wrong… so far… when it inevitably fails next time, I’ll blame writing this.

Apple curd is amazing. For a long time, I didn’t bother with it, convinced the flavour of the apple would be over-powered by the custard. The only thing I’m upset about is that I didn’t try this before. The flavour of apple comes through so well and I can’t wait to use it in everything!

While not essential, the addition of Grumblebee's Rum adds a lovely honey aspect. Be careful not to add too much, or it will make the curd too liquid. Be sure to add any alcohol when the curd is off the heat, to avoid the curd splitting.

The biggest surprise in this experiment was what a difference different types of sugar make. When I made this recipe with dark brown sugar it came out with a toffee apple quality, deep and beautiful, with a very autumnal quality. Next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time) I might add some cinnamon and make it a truly, properly autumny experience. When I made it with caster sugar, the result was more apple-y and more suited for lighter desserts.

The only problem with either recipe is that I doubt either jar will make it into a dessert, since I can’t stop ‘taste testing’ the results!

  • 90ml/3 fl oz apple juice
  • 75g/3oz sugar
  • 50g/2oz butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tbsp Grumblebee Rum
  1. Place the juice, sugar, butter and eggs in a heat proof bowl and place over a pan of boiling water (a double boiler), mixing continuously.
  2. When all the ingredients have melted together, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir, until the mixture thickens.
  3. When the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat, leave to cool for a minute and add the rum, mixing vigorously.
  4. If your curd has scrambled a bit, fear not: while it is still warm and relatively runny, put the mixture through a fine sieve and it will be smooth and lovely again, with nary an egg white in sight. 
  5. Put the curd in a sterilised jar and store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge (apparently... mine has never made it that long, so I've never been able to test it).