We spent about an hour this week picking apples in Justin’s parents’ neighbours’ garden. Got all that?
We must have harvested about 10 to 15 kilos. I wanted to make something where I didn’t need to peel and core that many apples. Though they’re delicious (they’re cooking apples), a lot of them are small and misshapen – a nightmare job!
Justin suggested apple and chilli jelly. It would utilise the apples – and some of the 300 glass jars I’ve managed to accumulate over the years!
I weighed out 4 kilos of apples – so doubled up this recipe. I barely made a dent in the pile!
It’s not a complicated process, but a bit of time is required for chopping, boiling, straining, re-boiling. No problem if you’re in the house as you can get on with something else as it bubbles away.
The resulting jelly is a wonderful colour – and tastes amazing! The perfect accompaniment for vegetarian or meat dishes which is ideal for this household. Perfect with cheese, burgers and kebabs. Justin thinks it will be absolutely awesome with slow roast pork and has vowed to try it at the weekend. If you have an apple harvest ready to pick then we can thoroughly recommend this recipe. It will last for months (even years) in your store cupboard – or make perfect presents for anyone deserving enough!
Now… what to do with the other 10 kilos of apples?!
There were still LOADS of apples left over after making an apple & blackberry pie a few weeks ago. I hate wasting food so had to do something with them. “I’ll make apple chutney!”, I thought.
My Cordon Bleu Preserving book contains recipes for 4 different versions of apple chutney however it was the spiced one that took my fancy (for this read, “It was the one where I already had all the ingredients in the house.”) This recipe makes a humongous amount of chutney, but it’s easily adapted if you don’t have that much fruit to preserve. It’s a steeper, the flavours mellow if the chutney is left a week or so before consuming. So far, we’ve discovered that it makes a delicious accompaniment to a cheeseboard. It really suits a creamy brie and sharp cheddar – not so much blue cheese. I’m vegetarian, but I’ve had it on good advice that it’s also very good with pork pie (Justin) and sausage rolls (Duncan). What do you recommend?
- 36 large apples - peeled, cored & sliced
- 1½lbs/680g sultanas
- 3lbs/1.4kg demerara sugar
- 4oz/115g mustard seeds
- 2 fresh chillies, sliced into rings
- 2 rounded tsps ground turmeric
- 2oz/60g ground ginger
- 1½lbs/680g onions, halved & thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed with salt
- 2pts/1L vinegar (I used distilled white vinegar, but you can used ordinary malt vinegar)
- Put all the ingredients into a large pan (a jam pan is ideal) and simmer for 1½-2 hours until very soft and pulpy
- Turn into sterilised jars and cover
A few tips for making successful chutneys, relishes & ketchups:
-1- Once opened a jar must be refrigerated and consumed within a week.
-2- Don't allow the vinegar to come into contact with with metal whilst in store.
-3- When preserving with vinegar, don't use copper or brass preserving pans. Use aluminium or stainless steel and only use enamelled iron pans if there are no chips to the enamel.
-4- It's important to cook chutneys and sauces thoroughly otherwise they will not keep.
Every year around this time we are given a bucketful of homegrown apples from the neighbour of Justin’s parents. Because they’re generally tiny and malformed I’ve usually turned them into apple cheese (no peeling, no coring).
There were about half a dozen biggish ones this year, so I combined them with some of the remaining bramble offerings that I had stored in the freezer and made an apple & blackberry pie. I may have confessed in some previous post that I’m not the greatest pastry maker – but I was going to give it another go!
Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie
- For the pastry
- 350g/12oz plain flour
- 80g/3oz butter or margarine, cubed
- pinch of salt
- 4-5tbs cold water
- For the filling
- 450g/1lb apples (about 4 medium-sized apples)
- 225g/½lb blackberries
- 100g/3½oz granulated sugar
- For the glaze
- 3tbs milk
- 25g/1oz caster sugar
- Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing
- Add the cubed butter/margarine to the flour
- Using your fingertips, lightly & gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour, lifting your hands up high as you do this (again, to incorporate as much air as you can) and being as quick as possible
- When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 4 tablespoons of cold water all over
- Use a pastry blender or round-bladed knife to start the mixing
- Carefully add more water as needed, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean (if there are any bits won't adhere to it, you need a spot more water)
- Divide the ball of dough in half and make 2 smaller balls
- Put the balls into a zip-lock bag or wrap in cling film or foil and put them in the fridge for half an hour while you prepare the filling
- At this point, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- Wash & drain the blackberries and peel & slice the apples into 1cm chunks. Mix them together and set aside until the pastry is ready to come out of the fridge
- Lightly grease a pie/flan dish (I save my butter wrappers for just this job!)
- Take one of the balls of pastry from the fridge and roll it out so that it's about 4cm/2 inches wider than the pie dish
- Carefully lift the rolled out pastry onto the pie dish using your rolling pin. Press the pastry down gently into the pie and up the sides
- Spoon the apples & blackberries onto the pastry and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top
- Take out the other ball of pastry from the fridge and roll it out so that it is large enough to form a lid on the pie
- Using a pastry brush, dampen the edge of the bottom pastry case with water
- Fix the pastry lid into position pressing it very firmly all round
- Trim the edges with a knife
- You can use these trimmings to make shapes to decorate the top of the pie - just affix them with a little brushing of water
- Brush the top of the pie with a little milk then sprinkle on a dusting of caster sugar which will give a crisp surface when the pie is baked
- Make a small hole in the centre of the pie for steam to escape
- Put the pie on to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes
- Allow to cool a little on a wire rack, slice and serve
- Serve with a little cream, vanilla ice cream or just on its own - although I think it's gorgeous with a dollop of clotted cream!
Where were we with our nature-influenced design blogs? We’ve been slightly sidetracked with the opening of our new shop.
Details of a vintage 1960s/70s calorific value tea towel
We’ve previously looked at fish, birds, flowers and leaves – today it’s the turn of fruit & vegetables.
‘Eden’ design by Meakin & Figgjo Flint butter dish
1950s strawberry bowl
They’ve been used as inspiration in artwork, illustration, decorative objects and unsurprisingly kitchen and dining wares.
Hornsea Pottery & Goebel Pottery
Pair of Arabia preserve pots
Apples have always proved a very popular decorative subject, particularly strong during the 1960s & 70s it seems.
We love this glass apple designed by Ingeborg Lundin for Orrefors in 1955
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love – Song of Solomon, 2:5, King James bible.
Cookbook illustrations from the 1950s are a firm favourite of ours.
And obviously you’ll need something to put all this fruit & veg in!!
These are two nice recent finds – a 1960s globe cane fruit basket and a 1950s Rye Pottery fruit dish.