I’ve found that I get a remarkable sense of achievement from laying down stores for the winter. Whether I’m going to eat my creations or give them away remains to be seen. I am, however, proud that I’ve managed to create so  much from my local plants. Whether it’s from fruit and veg that I’ve grown myself, the hedgerows around my house, or from the local producers of sugar and vinegar that I’ve managed to find, I have filled my shelves with pickles, chutneys, compotes, jams and schnapps which speak volumes about the place in which I live.

Front row from Left: Apple and mint chutney, mango chutney, bramble jam. Back row from left: Tormentil schnapps, lavender schnapps, apple and plum compote.

I’ve been preserving in less traditional ways too, freezing some of the incredible elderberry soup which the hedgerows have provided to drink around the bonfire on hallowe’en.

Elderberry soup, stewing in a pan. Said pan is now blue, as is the spoon.

So that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to of late – slaving in the kitchen and enjoying the outcome. I’m hoping we have a wave of visitors before too long too, so I can share my scrummy stores.