Autumn Fairies and Christmas Jellies

A trip home to catch the last of the autumn sun and the need to start the Christmas cooking made the perfect weekend.

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The sun really put on a show for us, so we donned the wellies and made the most of gorgeous autumnal colours.

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As hard as we looked we couldn’t find any Sussex fairies, but we know they weren’t far away.

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After a long and very muddy walk we retired to the kitchen with a nice cup of tea and a pile of tatty, well-used recipes in front of us.

We decided on the ‘Mulled Cranberry Jelly’, a perfect accompaniment for cold meats on Boxing Day or, in our case, Mum’s famous turkey sandwiches.

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This will fill four 0.5L Kilner jars, you will need:

1.6kg cooking apples (no need to peel or core)
700g fresh or frozen cranberries
3 cinnamon sticks
6 star anise
1tbsp cloves
400ml red wine
1L water
450g preserving sugar per 600ml liquid

Firstly, grab a huuuuge pan and simmer together the apples, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, red wine and water for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, put some Christmas carols on in the background and make a start on those cards because this deliciously nostalgic smell will really get you into the Christmas spirit.

Using a jelly bag or muslin, strain your mixture overnight. Don’t rush perfection – allow this to pass in its own time overnight and you will get a beautiful ruby-red, clear jelly.

Next, measure the amount of liquid you are left with and for every 600ml add 450ml preserving or jam sugar, I ended up using 1.35kg. Boil these for ten to fifteen minutes until it reaches setting point. Ladle into your sterilised jars, allow to fully set and enjoy.

If you are strong-willed they will last for six months, good luck!

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