2 November 2011


Wednesday 12th October, 2011

As promised, here is the post (with pictures!) of our day in the Oxfordshire countryside. You can see all the photos here.


We set off from home at 8am, and once we had passed the traffic of Aylesbury, were thoroughly distracted by what can only be described as the disgustingly quaint little villages of Buckinghamshire.


At our destination - a charmingly tiny Oxfordshire cul-de-sac village - we were greeted by the wonderful J and the adorable Phoebe (the dog), and received the grand tour of the orchard and homestead.

Two in the bush

The apple and pear trees were exploding with fruit, and we got to work picking and filling box-loads (only a few pieces of fruit failed to make it past our mouths on their way into the boxes, honestly).

One in the hand

There is a phenomenon we have observed and we are curious as to whether it is just us, or if other people have noticed it too. It is this: eating apples makes you hungry. It almost never fails. And so, after an hour or two picking and munching, we retired to the kitchen and got to work on a fantastic vegetarian shepherd’s pie made primarily from freshly picked ingredients, and a delectable apple crumble. And, of course, a bottle of the 2010 cider.

Then we have lunch!

Tomatoes: globes of sun

Apple Pro-Peeler

Pleasantly filled, we returned to the task at hand, and began washing, scratting and pressing the apples (and a few pears for good measure).


How d'you like them apples?

The scratter:

Then we pop them in the scratter

Into the scratter (1)

The scrats? scrattings?:


The press:

Cider press

Then we press the apples!



The "cheese"

Juice! More juice!

These few hours were the only part of the day that really felt like ‘work’, but it was a lot of fun - and I get the feeling that J was going easy on us! (Yes, she definitely was!) We soon had a decent haul - well, it seemed decent to us - and got to work (or rather, watched J get to work) pasteurising juice and alchemising cider.

Then we pasteurise some of the juice...

A fabulous day with (mostly) perfect weather was topped off splendidly by a dinner of pie, chips and cheese in Oxford with J and V. It’s a hard life, eh?


  1. if you ever come over at the right time, we should totally see if jenny will let us come and help again!

  2. Glad you both enjoyed it :)

    The apple pulp is called 'pomace'.

    And yes, always on the lookout for pickers!

  3. Ah! I knew there was a word we were forgetting!

  4. Hi! I know this comment comes a bit late, but I'm just catching up on your blog now.

    "...eating apples makes you hungry" - yes! The raw, crunchiness of an apple gets your digestive system going! You should always eat fruit before a main meal both to stimulate the digestive system and because it passes through your body much more quickly than heavier foods. If you eat fruit for dessert (as we are wont to do in the West) it will literally get stuck behind the heavier foods in your system (like a Ferrari getting stuck behind a semi-trailer on the freeway) and you're likely to experience indigestion. The fruit doesn't digest quickly enough and also begins to ferment inside the body - toxin alert!!

    Back to the apples though - if a couple of hours after a meal I feel a bit stuffed up from having eaten the wrong foods, eaten them in the wrong order or simply having overeaten, I'll eat an apple to stimulate my digestive system and churn it all through! Carrots are good for that too!

    While I'm on this rant, something everyone should know: never eat watermelon in accompaniment with anything else or after a meal. It should be eaten alone, before any other foods or not at all! Don't even mix it with other fruits if you're juicing it, for watermelon is the super-Ferrari of all fruits!

  5. That's very interesting! At one of our WWOOFing places, we almost always began a meal with some fruit and I really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll start doing that more frequently for myself, too.