Ahhh October… Misty mornings and the glorious colours of Autumn are here! It’s almost time to start lighting the fire, and turn those clocks back for a whole extra hour in bed (yippee!).
We love this time of the year at Whitehouse Farm. Mostly because late October is apple harvest time, but also because it brings with it the spoooookiest holiday of all; Halloween! As you can see, Francis is already getting excited about carving out his pumpkins ready to put next to the back door!
To kick off Halloween (and the party season in general) this year, we’ve come up with a couple of trick or treats Apple-County-stylee for you to try at home during these dark October evenings. And don’t worry, they’re more scrumptious than scary!
Trick: Want to take the kids out for trick or treating but still keen for them to get their 5 a day? Fear not! Apples make the perfect base to healthier Halloween snacks (as well as yummy cider…but don’t use cider apples for these; not such a sweet treat!)! Head to your local greengrocer or supermarket and grab the following:
8-10 of your preferred eating apples (we’re a sucker for Jazz or Pink Ladies, but usually go with whichever have been sourced from the UK at this time of year)
400g caster sugar
Red or black food colouring
8 slim, clean twigs from your garden (OR some thick paper party straws)
First, push a twig/straw in to each of the apples so they’re stuck fast. Then, to make the toffee sauce for dipping, tip the sugar into a large saucepan, add the juice from the lemon and 100ml of water. Bring this to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Add the golden syrup and bring it to a simmer again, making sure it doesn’t boil over. Continue until it reaches 150C on your sugar thermometer (or turns hard if you drop some into cold water). Add a small amount of food colouring, mix, and then – working quickly – dip each apple into the toffee making sure they’re completely covered (if using straws don’t get them in the liquid!), then pop them on to a chopping board to cool. And voila! You have your own ‘poison’ toffee apples.
Treat: We’re strong believers in the idea that Halloween should mean fun for everyone, not just the kids. So, we’ve come up with two cheeky little cider-based treats for the grown-ups to enjoy too!
Spooky-sparkling Cider Cocktails
125 ml orange juice
100 grams sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Chilled bottle of vodka
2 chilled bottles of our Dabinett Medium
This is a classy, cocktail-inspired twist on a classic! Combine all ingredients apart from the vodka and cider into a small saucepan on a medium to high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves to form a syrup. Then strain it through a fine mesh sieve and allow it to cool. When you’re ready to serve, add a shot of the syrup to each of your glasses, followed by 1 shot of vodka, and 4 of our sparkling cider. Stir gently, then serve!
Apple County Mulled Cider
4 bottles of our Vilberie Medium Dry Cider
2 tablespoons of runny honey
6 cinnamon sticks
6 allspice berries (you can buy these at most British supermarkets)
Juice the orange and cover your apples with cloves, then combine all ingredients in into a large saucepan and gently simmering for 25-30 minutes, ensuring it does not boil. Once it’s done, ladle the cider in to mugs or glasses of your choice and garnish with a slice or orange or apple. Top tip: if you would like to give the recipe an extra kick, add some dark rum to the saucepan too!
Trick: carving pumpkins with the smaller members of the family can be a bit of a difficult (and potentially risky) task, since you usually need quite a sharp knife to do the job properly, and it can be a tough job to get the desired creation! One trick we’ve picked up is to use a small rubber mallet to gently hammer biscuit-cutters (you can get all sorts of fun shapes) in to the pumpkin, and then just finish it off with a small serrated knife (like a steak knife!). It’s loads of fun, and saves you having to hack away for hours, plus means that the kids can be involved too!
Treat: If, like us, you’ll probably be having family and friends over to celebrate Halloween or Bonfire Night, we’ve check out this super-simple and utterly delicious Cider Cake recipe by Paul Hollywood. We’ve made it before using 150 ml of our Vilberie Medium Dry – it was perfect enjoyed with a cuppa (or with the rest of the bottle)!
So, there you are! Some tasty treats and a top-trick to make this Halloween a little easier and a lot more fun! Cheers!