Hester’s Baking Day – apples and more

I allowed myself some recreation today, and so decided to become better acquainted with Hester.

First though, out to the cooking school space to make (Molesworth stringy bark) honey mead. It’s sitting here between jars of medlar liqueur in the making).

Next – on to two different types of spiced apples. I thought they would be a perfect complement to pulled pork in a lovely crispy fresh baked roll (they were, we tried them at lunch). In case you are wondering, the apples pieces will sink down in the jar once they absorb the vinegar mixture in a few days’ time.

Finally, at last, down to the house to put Hester through her paces in earnest.

The discarded apple peels and cores, as well as the spice bag and lemon peels, I covered with water and then put it on Hester’s stovetop to simmer away for hours.

I had some gooseberries too that needed using. These I stewed at the same time – now sieved, they will form the basis of the gooseberry curd I plan to make tomorrow. It’s a natural choice given the glut of eggs we have here.

There was still space for a pot of pumpkin, cooking till soft in order to mash for a pumpkin fruit cake.

I’d decided to make a lumberjack cake with more of those delicious Ruby Red apples. When it’s just barely baked, you top it with with a pre-cooked coconut caramel and bake the cake a few minutes longer. That caramel was prepared, cooked for two minutes, on top of Hester as well, before pouring over the cake.

I am happy to say that both those cakes turned out really well. (Both recipes are, incidentally, in “Sweet!”).

Then with admittedly a little trepidation, I decided to sally forth with biscuits. Chocolate chip I thought, except I had run out of choc chips of any sort. Never mind, a rum and raisin chocolate, chopped into small pieces made a tastier addition anyway.

Hester cooked them in a comparative trice, soon to be followed by a batch of jam drop biscuits.

I could hardly believe it – everything turned out well. I had expected one disaster at least. PLUS – dinner was cooked in the oven at the same time.(

By the way, that purple towel on the bench in the last photo, is keeping the mead cosy and warm and in darkness).

The jelly, also a candidate earmarked for potential failure is a lovely colour and set, courtesy of the deep red skins of the apples.

And so to the end of a lovely recreation day.

I am even more pleased with the decision we made to purchase this oven/heater. In case anyone is wondering, there’s no financial incentive or otherwise for me to sing dear Hester’s praises.

I just love a really good oven and an ample, functional cooktop; Hester certainly fits the bill on all fronts and heats the house at the same time – perfect.

One thought on “Hester’s Baking Day – apples and more

  1. Lenna Waters says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m a little bit jealous. Our wood stove will not cook anything on the top. We barely get it to evaporate water. What a beauty. As much as we keep it going here in Melbourne, it would be lovely to have double duty with the firewood.

    Kind Regards,


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