Plenty of apples – but what do with them?

4 Sep

I’ve just been out picking some of the apples from the two trees in the garden. These are cooking apples, big sour things that are unpleasant to eat raw but make very good pies when sweetened. I have filled two trugs with the apples which will keep a while, maybe a month or two. There are plenty which have blemishes which mean they need using immediately.

The thing about cooking apples is that they are not very versatile. I could make cider out of eating apples but not from cooking apples which are too low in sugar for alcohol and too low in tannin for good flavour. Cider apples are very high in tannin. Most modern ciders are made from a mix of cider and eating apples.

Anyhow, I had to balance on a ladder and try to pull the laden branches of the tree towards me with a walking stick. At one point, one leg of the ladder sank into the ground, causing it to lurch quite spectacularly. Luckily I was on my way down at the time, but I very nearly fell. To be frank, I don’t really get on with ladders. In fact I have been known to get vertigo on deep pile carpets.

To get back to the cooking, I suppose that I shall have to make a large pile of apple sauce, or just plain stewed apples to put in the freezer. I shall add one or two to a large pot of tomato soup as there is a real glut of the red things at the moment, far more than we can put in salads or cook in tomato sauce for pasta or chillies.

If I can persuade the neighbours to take some off my hands it might reduce the pile a little. There are plenty more to pick, but I think I will wait for ‘er outdoors to hold the ladder safe before I go up again. Or maybe I will hold the ladder safe and send her up.

Meanwhile I am trying to finish the second book in the Most Secret series, Down in the Flood. I am doing the editing right now.

Down in the Flood

Most Secret Book 2



Lord Walter Mansell-Lacey is half way through training when he is sent on a mission to Paris to try to seduce Lenin’s mistress. The revolutionary is in exile but is still very active in promoting his cause and other revolutions. Walter, being Walter, becomes embroiled in a war between the French security agency and the Apaches gangsters. The Russian counter intelligence unit is also after him to find what he knows. His cover as a struggling artist accidentally leads to him gaining some unwanted commercial success. When the body of a Russian art forger turns up in the waters of the swollen Seine criminality is as strong a motive as espionage. Add a good dollop of local colour, such as an exotic dancer and a socialist cabaret artist and the entire brew is as convincing and exciting as in the first book. Walter’s suffragette chum, Godiva manages to extricate him from most of his difficulties but fate takes a hand when the great flood of 1910 hits Paris. Walter draws on his skills and courage to rescue a Princess and sort things out.


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