You are really going to have to excuse the Halloween theme of this shoot, it was a lot closer to the day when I was working on this one, and I couldn’t not share because the result was fantastic. I’ve got an autumnal recipe here; a spiced sweet cider syrup. This I used in an apple variation of the Vegan Brunch Coffee/Crumb cake (not that there is any coffee in the recipe fyi).

Our Halloween was a fantastic but totally unplanned. I’ve always been big on Halloween, and hosted a themed party most years in my teens. These were always huge creative efforts, with games and decorations, and homemade costumes. I’d love to start that again here sometime, but after hosting the wedding there was nothing that could make me want to organise a large group of people for a while at least! All that Halloween party planning did come in handy there, I’m lucky my parents were willing to go along with my crazy whims back then.

My parent’s house is very set up for Halloween. It turned 100 years old this year*, and thanks to my Dad’s influence on the décor even has a gothic look that just needs a few fake cobwebs to bring it up to haunted house appeal. Better still, there’s a coach house in the garden which was kid-domain back then. It was the perfect location for our spooky get-togethers until we were too tall for the attic eves.

*it’s actually younger than our cottage in Kent, but still!

top view syrup

This year we took a much more relaxed approach, and went walking in the dark with the dogs. The ambiance was working with us as a fog had rolled in, so I was even a little jumpy, not my usual cool considering how used I am to the blackness up on the fields at night. We huddled in Rosie’s stable and listened to spooky podcasts over our night-picnic of tea and cupcakes.

applecake2

As with most things this was the result of a household surplus; a bag of apples from my aunty, and a seemingly bottomless box of uninspiring cider left over from the wedding. The syrup is as versatile as any syrup, and we’ve been putting it on sweet and salty popcorn (recipe and technique to come soon), but if we had ice cream it would be going on that too. I anticipate that it should store well, so I’ll be looking into putting it into my cider doughnut recipe when I’m next craving. I baked the apples in a light toss of the syrup until dry, before tossing them into the regular VB recipe. As always, I added oats to my crumble recipe, and if I’d had some nuts those would have gone in too. I really love the crisp edges you get on the oats, and they work really well paired with the apple cake.

cidersyrupjar

Autumn Cider Syrup

Ingredients

Cider of any variety

White sugar of equal volume as cider

Cinnamon stick

Whole cloves

Add equal parts cider and sugar, and bring to the boil. If you have a food thermometer, this may be helpful as the temperature wants to stay below 112C, a medium heat keeps things slow. You don’t need to stir, just wait for the mix to reduce by half, adding a cinnamon stick and whole clove towards the end. Once it has reached the viscosity you are after, take it off the heat and transfer to a clean jar (I sterilize mine with campden tablets).

Use wherever you would use a simple syrup; on ice cream, popcorn, in cocktails, in hot drinks. How about as the sweetener in a chai tea latte? Yum!

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