Sunday, 30 November 2014

Good Ol' Apple Pie

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”
Jane Austen

This year, we were blessed with a good harvest of apples from just one producing tree - the rest of the other trees need a good kick in the trunk!
We've been juicing, made crumbles, cakes and jam. And we still have loads more.
I needed to think of ways of getting rid of them - and since I've never made apple pie the old-fashioned way, why don't I make one. And the result is pretty darn good. I shall leave it to you, after you've made it and savoured it, to say more!

For the dough:
225g flour 
125g cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoon ice cold water
a pinch of salt

Cubed the butter and return it to the refrigerator. 
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. 
With the machine running, pour the water and egg mixture down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. 
 Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. 
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the apple filling:

500g apples, peeled and chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
80g brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of the apples)
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2  tablespoons flour
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoon of water (egg wash)

 I use a mix of apples; combining sweet apples with tart one.
 Peel, core and slice the apples.
Put the apples into a bowl and add the rest of the other ingredients. Toss everything together really well.
Let the mix sit for about 5 minutes.

To assemble, butter a 9-inch shallow pie plate.
Cut the dough in half. 
Roll each piece on a well-floured surface into a circle. 
Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan.
Turn the apples and their juices into the crust.
Pat them into an even mound.
Very lightly moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water, then centre the top crust over the apples.
Use the tines of a fork to press the two crusts together securely.
Cut some slits in the top crust  to let some steam out during baking.

 Brush the top crust with some egg wash.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes in 180C oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150C and bake for another 60 minutes.
Let the pie rest until it reaches room temperature, about 3 hours, before serving.

 Serve with lashings of creamy vanilla custard or vanilla ice-cream, or better still - both!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Shadow Play

Days are shorter
Shadows are longer
The Autumn is at an end
Winter will soon come

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Angel Cake for a Little Angel

A much needed "sunshine" on a wet and gloomy day --
one, a tropical "sunshine" of a calorific kind
and next, a littlest ray and most radiant in the form of baby Clara, who turns 5 days old today!

First off, the cake we brought to share with the proud parents

Angel Food Cake
recipe from Mary Berry

125g flour
270g caster sugar
10 large free-range egg whites
2 large lemons, grated zest only
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Sift the flour and 100g the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk on a high speed for one minute until frothy.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl.
Increase the speed and add the remaining caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.

Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine.
Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Transfer the batter to a 25cm angel food cake pan.
Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air.
Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs.
Leave to cool for at least one hour.

Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan.
Invert onto a plate.
Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.


For the topping, whisk 300ml whipping cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Spoon the topping over the angel food cake and, using a palette knife, coat the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.

Cut up the mango into small cubes

Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds.

Combine the two fruits together in a bowl. Add the juice of 2 tablespoon of lemon and a little sugar and leave them to macerate for a few hours.
Put the fruits on top of the cake.

And for Baby Clara....

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Up A Garden Path

Round about this time every year, I would be suffering withdrawal symptoms of a gardening type

It didn't help that the weather has been quite rubbish so far - it rains almost every day... constantly... and its doing my head in!
The prolonged rain has caused the ground to be so saturated with water. My plants are literally drowning by the lack of oxygen to the roots. The best thing to do at the moment is to try salvaging a few precious plants and have them in pots for the time being... hope they will survive

Enough with the negatives

More from the Eden Project - this one is the edible gardens sector. Lush!