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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). 

Anglo Saxon Apple Butter

by Admin Edatachase

Fruit was used as the usual accompaniment for meat until quite recently. From a modern standpoint, think of apple sauce with pork, or rowan jelly with goose, just writ large… a kick of sweetness adds so much to meat, bringing out the flavour and mixing with the juices…

The Anglo-Saxons certainly thought sweet and meat was a good combination and this recipe has been stolen (and muddled up) from a fantastic cookery book ‘Tastes of Anglo-Saxon England’ by Mary Savelli.

Æpple Syfling, or stewed apples, calls for you to cook apples, cider, honey and spices until soft and then serve with meat. It is truly delicious in this form: not too sweet (I would recommend tarter apples, but that’s personal preference), with an aroma of spice and a lovely texture.

Obviously, though, the joy of cooking is that we can appreciate and adapt. The Anglo-Saxons did not have a slow cooker that could just be left on in the corner (but if they had, I’m sure they would have done this too), so taking advantage of modern technology, I have appropriated the original recipe and taken it to the next stage of the sweet, smooth, gooey goodness that is apple butter.

Feel free to stop at any point and savour the wonder that is spiced stewed apples in any form, but I would recommend seeing it all the way to the end, at least with some of the mixture. The flavour of the full apple butter is rich, not too sweet and deep, pairing equally well with gamey meat; bread and cheese (apple butter and cheese toasties are next level magnificent); cake; ice cream; and many things in between.

The mint and cumin mix produces a fresh and light sauce that tastes summery, but comforting at the same time. 

(Note: I have included an alternative spice mix below the main recipe. Feel free to adapt it to your tastes, but the alternative recipe is one of my favourite spice mixes. Star anise is used a lot in 14th century fruit recipes and I got a little bit addicted in the name of research. If you are a liquorice nut like me, go wild with the star anise. The resulting mix is much more autumnal and a sweeter than the mint.)


  • 10 apples (approximately 500g), peeled, cored and diced
  • 375ml/12 fl oz Courtney's Cider
  • 2 large tbsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mint
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  1. Put diced apples, cider, honey, white pepper, mint and cumin in the slow cooker and mix together.
  2. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  3. If you want Anglo-Saxon ‘butter’, remove the mixture at this point and serve with meat.
  4. If you want to continue to a more modern variety, blend the mixture together (giving you will have a modern apple sauce consistency).
  5. Continue cooking on high for 2-4 hours, until the sauce behaves like a thick caramel when you stir it. Check occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't catch.
  6. Place in sterilised jars and store for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

(Alternative Spice mix)

  • 10 apples (approximately 500g), peeled, cored and diced
  • 375ml/12 fl oz Courtney's Cider
  • 2 large tbsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4-7 star anise (to taste)
  • ½ nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  1. Put diced apples, cider, honey, white pepper and powdered cinnamon in the slow cooker and mix together.
  2. Tie the cinnamon stick, star anise and nutmeg inside a cheesecloth and nestle into the mixture.
  3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the bag of spices and blend the mixture together (giving you will have an apple sauce consistency).
  5. Add the brown sugar and mix together.
  6. Continue cooking on high for about 4 hours, or until the mixture is the preferred consistency (a thick sauce that holds its shape when stirred. Check occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't catch.
  7. Place in sterilised jars and store for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

The result of your apple butter will vary massively depending on your choice of ingredients. Bramley apples will produce a completely different colour and flavour to red apple varieties. The addition of brown sugar will darken the end result and make it more caramelly. 

As Autumn Draws In

by Admin Edatachase

Well, to combat the bad news trickling into our lives, Courtney’s is here with warmth and cheer.  The leaves are turning and soon, we can all stride through a sea of yellows, ochres and gold with the edge of chill in the air, to our homes where food and drink will be waiting for us.

Over the next few weeks, we will be giving you recipes and tips to bring warmth back into our lives (while watching fuel use).  All our drinks will be partnered with parties, family gatherings, intimate evenings or online gangs sharing an evening, making this autumn special for everyone in the Courtney’s family.

We have a lot to look forward to: the extra hour, Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, the borrowed festivities of Thanksgiving, Advent and everything heralds the coming of Christmas.

We have mapped out a progress and we hope you will join us for our journey.  And ultimately, of course, raise a glass, full of the precious glow of autumn.

Open Orchard Days 17th & 18th Sept 2022 - with Apple Picking, Apple Pressing, Cider and Music

by Andy Parker

Following successful open orchard events in 2021 we will once again be opening our ancient Whiteways orchard for you to explore and relax with family and friends entertained by live music. Join in the Courtneys Cider making experience by helping to harvest this years apple crop. We will also offer you the opportunity to bring your own apples to press using our equipment creating your own natural apple juice (max 10kgs per person).

The Courtney's of Whimple ancient cider orchard in Southbrook Lane, Whimple will be open to the public for two days (11am to 6pm).


From 11am - we will be offering an apple picking experience in the orchards.

From Noon - Pressing Apples! The opportunity to press apples you have brought with you to create your own fresh juice using our equipment (note: charge £2 per kg - bring your own vessels for juice or we will provide free of charge).

From 1pm - Live music from the orchard

All day - Courtney's Drinks including cocktails, our prize-winning ciders and soft drinks from our cider bar.

All day - Hot and cold refreshments available all day.


Tickets are £6 per person per day which includes a FREE alcoholic or soft drink from the bar. Tickets are not required for children under 4 years of age. Tickets are non-refundable.



Grab a cider and a pasty, throw down a blanket and relax in the beautiful East Devon countryside.


Enjoy the apple picking and pressing experience.


All in all - a cracking day out in the fresh air at a local family business in East Devon.


Courtney's Orchards, The Old Orchards, Southbrook Lane, Whimple, EX5 2PD

50°45'41.0"N 3°23'20.5"W

View on Google Maps: Here

Location using what3words: themes.extreme.flattered.

Award Winning 'Courtney's Cider' makes its Parliament Debut!

by Admin Edatachase

We love our personal mention in the House of Commons yesterday. East Devon cider producers amongst the best in the world and firmly on the map!

A proud moment for all at Courtney's.