Spiced Plum Cordial

Spiced Plum Cordial was one of the autumn foods I wanted to create before the weather turned too cold. It's fruity-spicy flavors just echoed that hovering time between late summer and autumn. Yesterday, I whipped up a batch...oooo! So good! And so simple!

Here is the recipe and the process:


1 lb. plums
25 oz. of water
2 c. sugar
2 - 3" cinnamon sticks
a few whole cloves (I used about eight)

1. Pit the plums and roughly chop.

2. Place the plums and water in a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 mins.

3. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth, or through a jelly bag. (I use a jelly bag...genius invention!) Do NOT squeeze or press the fruit, or it will result in a cloudy cordial. Allow to drip completely.

4. Sterilize a pint jar by washing in hot, sudsy water and placing in an oven preheated to 200 degrees. Wash and dry a lid and band.

5. Return just the juice to the saucepan and add sugar and spices. Heat slowly, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 10 mins. Skim off any foam.

6. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Pour hot mixture into sterilized jar. Allow to cool before securing lid. Refrigerate when cool. Will keep for three months refrigerated.

To serve, pour a tablespoon or two into the bottom of a glass with ice. Top with San Pellegrino, and give a good stir to combine.

Makes 1 pint.

Autumn Baking and Cooking List

I don't know about you, but I have been more than eager to start in on autumn baking and cooking and to enjoy all those spicy flavors and cozy meals. It seems that I always start out in eagerness, but busyness creeps in and autumn flies away from me, and I never quite cook and bake as much as I intended. And once Christmas time is here, I have zero interest in baking pumpkin anything. This year, in order to help me stay focused, I have compiled a list of the foods and recipes I want to enjoy. Here's how the list is shaping up:


- Apple Walnut Zucchini Bread from the fabulous blog The View from Great Island. Click here for the recipe. I want to bake like crazy, but I don't want all those calories. So, I'm spreading the love around and baking for fellowship time after church. Is that acting in love? I can't decide. Anyway, this recipe is moist and delicious and a definite keeper!

- Roasted veggies. I'm just going to toss everything with a bit of olive oil and throw it into the oven. I'm particularly excited to roast carrots and butternut squash.

- Cinnamon Ice Cream. I may buy this. I may make it. But I've definitely been craving it. I'm imagining it over a piping hot square of gingerbread after Sunday dinner.

- Spiced Plum Cordial. I'm going to make my standard cordial recipe (click here) with plums and cinnamon sticks and see how that turns out. I think this will be best in the early autumn before the weather turns too cold.

- Marte Marie Forsberg's meal from the April edition of UK Country Living. Everything about Marte Marie Forsberg says warm and cozy, hearthside and rainy days, candlelight and conviviality. So when I saw this meal featured in the April issue of one of my favorite magazines, it spoke autumn's coziness to me. I've been hanging on to it ever since, waiting to try: Fennel and Potato Soup, Norwegian Pork Belly with Mustard Coleslaw and Brown Gravy, and Roasted Potatoes (whose secret ingredient is: duck fat!). Click here for the recipes.

- Roasted Autumn Fruits. Twice I've seen these featured on someone's Instagram, and they just draw me in...a big casserole dish heaped with the fruits of the late summer/early autumn...raspberries, plums, apples, pears. Add a bit of herbs if desired. Some butter. A sticky drizzle of honey. Pop it all in the oven to roast. Serve alongside a pork tenderloin, or add a generous dollop to a bowl of hearty oatmeal. Doesn't that look and sound deliciously beautiful?

Photo credit to: https://www.daylesford.com/the-autumn-harvest/

- Maple Toffee Popcorn with Salted Peanuts. This recipe appears in the latest issue of Yankee Magazine. A sweet treat for an autumn afternoon. Click here for the recipe.

- Grilled Autumn Foods from The Gardener & the Grill. As I told you before, I'm looking forward to some autumn grilling from this cookbook, including the following: Skewered Chicken Saltimbocca, Smoked and Smashed Sweet Potato Soup, Grilled Turkey Breast with Winter Greens and Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Fig Skewers, Acorn Squash and Apple Rings with Cider Jus, Grilled Pears with Honey-Cinnamon Creme Fraiche.

What autumn foods are you looking forward to?

So It Begins...

So it begins...the accumulation of the pumpkins! Something about all those New England farmstands just beckoning us with their piles of bulbous squash...drawing us in with their proud displays of the season's best. We are powerless to resist. The first official day of autumn is not even here yet, but we already have this beauty, one tall and thin one on the mantle, a heap of small white ones in an ironstone bowl on the kitchen table, and two white ones on the front steps. The day after Thanksgiving, we'll be pitching them out into the woods for the wildlife to feast on, but for now...each one is so irresistible!

The County Fair

The grandkids look forward to the county fair each year with all the giddy anticipation one can imagine. I love its wholesome delights...rides, cotton candy, prize homegrown vegetables, 4-H clubs showing off their animals. First priority for them is the rides.


Then we watched the acrobats on horseback.

We admired the tidy displays of produce and made the acquaintance of a friendly goat.

Ahh...my favorite time at the fair is when the sun is setting and all the lights are coming on. Isn't it just magical though? So festive!

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