Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness

Autumn is Here“Autumn.. the year’s last, loveliest smile!” – William Cullen Bryant.

It is with great pleasure that I re-introduce my eldest daughter Victoria as my guest writer. Some of you may remember Victoria’s previous guest posts from last year.

Autumn The Season of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness

All seasons bring their own joy. At times, Autumn in the UK can be windy, wet and cold, but there are also days of glorious sunshine, where it’s a pleasure to be outside walking the dog, enjoying the last remnants of Summer and appreciating the change in light, colours and smells.

It’s also a great time of year to make jam and pickles. I’m not sure where my urge to preserve originally came from, but I do remember my Dad making rather robust pickled onions when I was younger. The smell of vinegar permeated the house for days and family members in the know would give the packed jars a respectable wide berth. Those pickled onions were beasts and could clear any sinus problem in seconds. They made your eyes stream and your taste buds ache.

Dad also had a fondness for making green tomato chutney (mum’s favourite) and chunky piccalilli – chopped pickled vegetables with spices. Eating piccalilli today still reminds me of him and his pickle jars, waiting patiently in a dark cupboard for 3 months to mature in time for Christmas.


A very lovely friend recently dropped off two huge bags of Bramley apples and plums from her garden. I’d been blackberry picking with our dog Woody down a nearby country lane (he is very good at picking, not so good at putting them in a bag) and decided to make blackberry and apple jelly.

Cooking Backberry and Apple JamIn the UK this is basically jam that has been strained or sieved to remove all the seeds and bits. I use a recipe from an amazing book I ‘permanently borrowed’ from my Mum about 20 years ago – Step by Step Cookery by Marguerite Patten. It was given to her on her 19th birthday. I make the Christmas cake from a recipe I’ve adapted in this book too. It’s brilliant – sorry for stealing it Mum.

Jars of Jam

I suspect I am the only person who actually eats the jam, despite my family making vague, appreciative noises. I love it spread on a slice of toast in the depths of a dark and gloomy winter morning and remembering the sunny day I picked the fruit. Small pleasures.

To use up the plums, I decided to make a pickle or chutney and spice it up with some chilli (the usual spelling in the UK, although chili is also accepted). I’ve made lots of pickles before, with various degrees of success and utter failure. This year I looked at a multitude of recipes and eventually decided to be brave and make up my own. I didn’t want dried fruit, or overwhelming Christmas spices.

Chilli Chutney

It will take weeks for the flavours to develop properly so I don’t know if it’s a winner or not yet. I hope so as my house also smelt of vinegar for days. Fingers crossed the flavours are a success as I plan to give a couple of jars as gifts. Come back in December to see how it tastes with our cheeseboard!


Thank you so much Victoria for once again agreeing to be my guest writer. What a delightful post. I’m so looking forward to Christmas and warming up from the winter chill with your mulled wine, cheese board and delicious chilli chutney.

Editorial Note: I eventually replaced my ‘borrowed’ cookery book with a decent copy from e-bay!

Despite leaving her dad in the dark cupboard for three months every year with his pickle jars, he never did mature by Christmas!

SueW-nansfarm.net 2019 Word Prompt Chill from Fandango



21 thoughts on “Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness

  1. A great article Victoria, the pictures of your plum jam has my mouth watering and drooling. As for that wonderful pot of spicy chutney/pickle, I can smell the aromas from here in Geelong….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Victoria Lister

      Thank you so much Ivor. I confess I had to google Geelong. My oldest school friend Jenny lives in Australia, plus extended family, so maybe I will drop in with a jar one day! I’ve always wanted to visit – Jenny told me if I did, I’d never want to leave…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Murphy's Law

    Victoria, you are a wonderful writer, and apparently cook!! Your blackberry/apple jelly sounds and looks delicious. My husband and I would give you a run for your money eating it! 🤗 The photo of Woody “picking” berries is too cute. I can’t think of anything that smells better than a house filled with the aroma of something good simmering in a pot or baking in the oven.

    Sue, you have passed down your gift for writing to at least one of your kids….probably to all of them. Good choice for a guest writer. I look forward to enjoying future posts from Victoria.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ginger, Victoria is indeed a brilliant cook and I’m sure she will be delighted when she reads your lovely comments.

      Thank you so much for your very kind comments.🙂


      1. Murphy's Law

        Thank you so much Sue! That’s so sweet of you. I couldn’t figure out how you would possibly know, and then I remembered my comment on your friend Maureen’s blog. You little imp!!
        🐾Ginger 🐾

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Victoria Lister

      Thank you very much Ginger for your kind comments. You are so right, that comforting smell of cooking as you walk in the house is just the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, thank you, Victoria! I really enjoyed reading your brilliant writing and sharing in your sweet memories! You got my senses ignited…especially smell, taste, and sight! 🙂

    Sue, what a great writer you have in your family! She learned from the best! YOU!!! 🙂
    (Isn’t it wonderful! My kids can out write me any day. 🙂 My oldest is a journalist.) Thank you for sharing Victoria with us! 🙂

    HA! on the not maturing by Christmas! 😀

    HUGS for you and HUGS for Victoria!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Carolyn, thank you so much for very kind comments.

      It is wonderful, yes. Victoria can definitely out write me too, and I’m sure a couple more of mine would make a very fine job of it.

      I’m pleased you like her article, (and my little end note) hopefully, she may be persuaded to do more before the end of the year.

      Thank you again for your lovely comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Victoria Lister

      Carolyn, your comments are so lovely! Thank you very much. We love cooking and entertaining in our family, so I’m sure I can write something again. We have 18 plus toddlers for Christmas – that’s a novella surely!!

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s