Cider -The Rough And The Smooth
Only a couple of presses left and we have finished this season’s apples. It is always a mixture of relief and sadness at the end of each season. However, no time to rest as we will soon be grafting and planting apple trees for future orchards.
Meanwhile, we have been busy bottling and have a wide range of products available. ‘Rough Stuff Scrumpy’ and Sully’s Methode Traditionelle, in particular, highlight how diverse craft cider can be.
The scrumpy is our unique take on the farmhouse ciders of the West Country of Britain. It is traditional cider made with the late season windfalls. It is natural, unfiltered and made with the minimum of techniques. The result is indeed a bucolic with many rough edges. As cider makers this is not a style that we aspire to, but we have included it in our repertoire out of nostalgia and to appease the weight of requests for a cider that is cutthroat and muddy, like the one they were offered in that remote country inn, 20 years ago or more.
On the other hand, our Methode Traditionelle cider is a different kettle of fish. It has been processed and refined using a variety of processes and techniques to create a highly refined sparkling cider to match the finest wine. A mixture of feral and early season cider apples are blended to produce a juice that is higher in acid and lower in sugar that our mid season ciders. The juice is then fermented out to dryness and conditioned for twelve months in oak barrels. Then comes the time consuming process of methode traditionelle, which requires a secondary fermentation in a strong glass bottle. When bottling the cider champagne yeast is added along with a prescribed dose of sugar. The bottle is then crown capped and allowed to ferment. As soon as the fermentation has finished the bottles are stacked upside down and are given one quarter of a turn each day for six months. Little by little the spent yeast sediment is riddled to the crown cap. Now comes the tricky bit when the sediment is disgorged from the bottle. The neck is frozen to around -20C using a mixture of ice and salt. Too little freezing and the yeast plug will not stick to the cap and half of the bottle is lost on disgorgement. Too much and the sediment stays in the bottle and a dribble of cider slushy oozes out. However, when you get it right the cap is removed and the sediment pops out as a solid plug leaving the cider in the bottle clear and sparkling. The bottle is topped up and a cork and basket fitted. This cider is closer to a fine champagne than the sweet carbonated commercial ciders available today
Celebrated at the Winter Soltice Lunch
Sat & Sun 22nd &23rd June.
The shortest day or Yule arrives this Friday and we have decided to celebrate it with a winter solstice lunch. Of cause, we had to include the Reidsdale Faeries from nearby Monga Lane. Tim the Yowie Man will have an story on the Reidsdale Faeries in this Saturday's Canberra times. So keep an eye out. For the faeries and the story!
For the weekend we have designed a menu fit for a druid and have included some sacred herbs and spices that may help with finding the faeries.
Both the mulled cider and the Reidsdale mutton pies will have a sprinkle of mace. A herb thought by the Celts to increase psychic powers. Also on the menu is Champ, an Irish bubble and squeak that was traditionally left under a hawthorn tree as an offering for the faeries and for the weekend we will build a small shrine under our very own hawthorn tree. Visitors will be able to purchase faerie cakes. Not any old kids party cup cake, but real faerie cakes with magical properties that enable you to see faeries. They also are believed to work as a fertility charm and heal the sick.
Faerie Cake Recipe
1 stick of butter
2/3 cup of sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated rind of an orange
3/4 tablespoon of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of milk
1/3 cup of sultanas
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of boiling water
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and orange rind. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mix.Add milk and turn into a batter of dropping consistency. Fold in the sultanas and spoon into well greased muffin cups. Bake at 190C for 25 minutes. Drizzle on icing and serve.
Don't eat too many, or the goblins may come!