Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Spiced apple chutney

Monday, November 4th, 2013

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half a dozen apples with jar of home made spiced apple chutney

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.

vintage red wire bucket of apples

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?

vintage plate with a slice of pork pie, pea shoots and dollop of home made spiced apple chutney

Spiced apple chutney

Spiced apple chutney

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large pan (a jam pan is ideal) and simmer for 1½-2 hours until very soft and pulpy
  2. Turn into sterilised jars and cover

Notes

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.

http://hisforhomeblog.com/food/spiced-apple-chutney/

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Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

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apple & blackberry pie with a slice removed

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).

red, vintage wire bucket filled with small, misshapen apples

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

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 6-8

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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
  2. Add the cubed butter/margarine to the flour
  3. 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
  4. When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 4 tablespoons of cold water all over
  5. Use a pastry blender or round-bladed knife to start the mixing
  6. 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)
  7. Divide the ball of dough in half and make 2 smaller balls
  8. 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
  9. At this point, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  10. 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
  11. Lightly grease a pie/flan dish (I save my butter wrappers for just this job!)
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Spoon the apples & blackberries onto the pastry and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top
  15. 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
  16. Using a pastry brush, dampen the edge of the bottom pastry case with water
  17. Fix the pastry lid into position pressing it very firmly all round
  18. Trim the edges with a knife
  19. You can use these trimmings to make shapes to decorate the top of the pie - just affix them with a little brushing of water
  20. 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
  21. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie for steam to escape
  22. Put the pie on to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes
  23. Allow to cool a little on a wire rack, slice and serve
  24. 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!

Notes

http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-apple-blackberry-pie/

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Mixed berry jelly

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

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Jars of mixed berry jelly with some decanted into a vintage Egersund bowl

There’s been a bumper crop of big, juicy wild blackberries this summer. We had a 2-hour long session of picking last Sunday and returned home with around 3 kilos of fruit – not counting the half kilo that Fudge picked & ate on the spot. We were sure he was going to make himself sick!

wild raspberry bush

We planted a few fruit bushes in our garden this spring – one each of blackcurrant, redcurrant, whitecurrant and raspberry.

blackcurrant bush in our garden redcurrant bush in our garden

They looked like beautiful little jewels drooping from the branches.

tryptic of bowls of blackcurrants, redcurrants and wild raspberries

Our garden hauls weren’t great, but we put everything in the freezer with the view to using them later in the year.

our strawberry harvest Our gooseberry harvest

We added them to the wild berries gathered on our dog walks and ended up with an interesting mix of berries.

frozen berries from our garden added to wild blackberries

I’d already made some wild raspberry jelly last month which was absolutely delicious – especially spread between sponge cake layers. Justin requested a mixed berry jelly rather than jam – neither of us care to get seeds stuck in our teeth! We got 6 nice jars of jelly which is enough to last the winter. We’ll gift a couple of jars and still have plenty left for cake making, fruit sauces, toast etc…

Croissant with mixed fruit jelly, small mug of cofffee & weekend newspaper

…and probably our favourite way to eat it – a lazy weekend breakfast with newspapers, strong coffee and fresh croissants!

Wednesday Wish: Fruit trees

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

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Blueberries, quince and damsons
Image credits: blueberries, quince, damsons

Spring is coming, spring is coming!

That means that we’ll be able to get back to using our garden again. It’s looking really sorry for itself at the moment – neglected, frost-shattered terracotta pots

Much as I love pretty, jaunty annuals, I never feel like they’re value for money. I prefer having bulbs – they bring pleasure year after year and once they’ve been planted, the majority of them just get on with it.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about investing a bit more and getting a few fruit trees. Top of my list are damsons, quinces and blueberries. I make jams & jellies so fruit from my own garden will make it all that more “home-made”.

Bluberries really suit where we live – they love acid soil and you can grow them in pots (the majority of our garden is cobbled stone setts). Damsons are famous for growing well “up north” – apparently they like a bit of damp – they’ll feel right at home with us then! I’ve wanted my own quince tree ever since I made a batch of jelly from a big bag of quinces given to me by a friend of Granny Glittens. They’re not the kind of fruit you tend to find to readily in shops or markets and the jelly is fragrant, delicious and a beautiful amber colour.

I think I’d like to turn our little plot into a micro orchard!

Tuesday Huesday: Grapes

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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a bunch of multicoloured grapes on the vine
photo credit: deboraaplante100

Our colour picker doesn’t do justice to the kaleidoscope of hues in this awe-inspiring photograph. We’ve never seen a bunch of grapes like it – it’s beautiful! The original image has tagged it as being of the Montepulciano variety which is made into Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine.