Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Windfall Apples

Apple season is in full swing and we have been chomping our way through a fair few of them. We have a young, rare, Sussex breed apple tree in our garden but it was a bit poorly this year and we had to take the apples off, as soon as they arrived, and compost them, to give the tree the best chance of survival.  I'm pleased to say that our tree is now a lot healthier but it did mean no apples this year.  Windfall apples however have been available in bucket loads on our suburban estate.  A few people collect them and leave them in buckets outside their houses.  I, of course, not being one to turn down a freebie, take as many as I can.  

I thought I would write a post about what to do with windfall apples, as it's usually best to cook them first.  We have also found that some of the local varieties of apples have been a little sour for our palate this year, I think because of the amount of rain we had this summer; So we have had plenty of apples that we have needed to use as ingredients.  

 Preparing windfall apples 

I placed my windfall apples in a bowl of warm salted water for half an hour, this should draw out any nasty residue and bugs/maggots.  I use windfall apples each year and have never found a maggot!

Rinse them off in cold water.  Peel off the skin and remove any bruises/bad bits.  Unless in an almost perfect state, I would advise that it's best to cook with windfalls rather than eat them fresh. 

Uses for windfall apples

So what have we been doing with our windfalls?  Obviously we have made crumbles!!! 

Apple Crumble

The thing I like about crumbles is that we generally have all the ingredients already in the house for the crumble, which sort of makes me feel like I have made a pudding for free, when i'm using windfall apples or foraged blackberries.  It's obviously not free but they can be whipped up pretty cheaply and pretty quickly and they freeze really well oh and they taste great.  It's a win win.  I have experimented with using less sugar and adding dates instead and adding chopped nuts and seeds for texture and this worked really well.   I generally go to the BBC Good Food website for all my crumble needs.  I am yet to find a dud recipe on this site


 Image source BBC Good Food

Apple and raisin scones

I add a grated apple or two to any scone recipe and suggest that you do too, oh my, very tasty indeed. I have already consumed two whilst wring this post.    

Tray bake apple cake

I make this every year.  Again, another BBC recipe. I'm not a great cake baker and I tend to find that tray bakes are much easier.  A little note with regards to the apple quantities in this recipe, this recipe works fine using what ever quantity of apple you have.  I have made it just using half the quantity and it still tasted really appley    

Image source BBC Good Food

Other great things to do with windfall apples

  • Apple tastes great in curries, thinly slice and add to a curry at the simmering stage
  • Apple tastes wonderful on pizza with blue or goats cheese
  • Put some chopped apple in home made pasties
  • Chutney, windfall apples are great for this
  • Parsnip and apple soup.
  • Apple Sauce.
  • Apple Pie

Have you been cooking with apples this season?  Any recipe ideas would be much appreciated.  

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

And that was September

September is up there as being one of my favorite months.  I love the fact that the sun shines bright and it can feel both warm and chilly at the same time.  It's the month that I dig out my woolens and my thoughts turn to candles, comfort food, knitting and the i player.  I like the fact that I can think about all these winter treats whilst still basking in the last of the summer light.  It's the month that I usually associate with fresh starts, I can never quite shake off that new academic year feeling, despite having left education a long time ago. This September I have had to listen to my body and slow down a bit as our family start to prepare for the new baby.   

We have celebrated the harvest, of this time of year, attending chili festivals, apple days, foraged for berries, visited farm shops and picnicked.  We have spent time in doors, sorting and clearing out and trying to make space for a new baby. There have been sleep deprived nights, as we have all suffered with low level colds and days spent with blankets on the sofa.  Recipe books have been perused in search of comfort soups and stews. I have also been playing at making some Autumn stamps.

Reading ~ After months of being in a reading black hole, I have finally re discovered the joy of reading ACTUAL BOOKS and not just stuff on the internet. I have been really enjoying Tove Jansson Life, Art, Words: The authorised biography.  I was old school and got it out from the library.  Many a September evening has been spent under a blanket with a book in hand and a cup of mint tea. 

Listening ~ The Radio 4 series Natural Histories is just amazing.  There is a great one about blackberries and their appearance in art, history, literature and religion.

Eating ~ Cake and quite a lot of it.  I have reached that stage of pregnancy where only cake will do.  Apple and blackberry cake sticks out in my mind.   

How was your September?


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