Friday, 6 December 2013

Apple windfall

Coldness has dipped his toes into our lives and decided he's here to stay. The wild gales have hit my cheeks and the tips of my ears like icy paint splashing them pink and the poor, skinny trees have been stripped to their bare bones to rattle in the wind.

One lazy Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I woke up to the forgotten sight of a bright sun reflecting off all the dew tipped grass blades and wrapped up warm to help my parents bring in all the chopped logs to stock up for the winter months that seem to last eternity.

The Winter can make everything look bleak. Frosted mud covers all the garden and the beautiful colours of Summer flowers have well and truly died and disappeared. But there are still beautiful wonders unique to Winter to be found.

Like the icy jewel droplets of water shining like Christmas glitter.

The last few golden leaves clinging on for dear life.

The plump, red berries huddling together for warmth.

We even have a little robin who follows my mum round the garden, plucking the worms out of the ground as she digs up the soil.

This is a little new guy, moved in on the territory of his predecessor who met his tragic end at the merciless claws of our cats...

Look at them plotting their next murder...

Speaking of which, I had a go at swinging the axe. It barely split the wood, so I pondered aloud "How do people kill people with axes when they can't even chop through wood?", to which my Dad calmly replied "Well that axe is for cutting wood, you wouldn't use one like that to kill someone."

Bit disturbing...

And so it's farewell to Autumn and, most dramatically, farewell to an endless supply of fruit and vegetables.

All Summer and Autumn all of our meals have revolved around our fresh homegrown vegetables followed by sweet strawberries and the tastiest cherries, either mashed with cream or whizzed up in smoothies or (best of all) straight off the plants.

The addition of a greenhouse to our lovely, wild garden this year resulted in an abundance of ripe tomatoes which we cooked into a massive vat of sweet and spicy, tomato ketchup which is now my most favourite thing ever to eat with just about anything..

Then of course there's been the apples. Hundreds and hundreds of apples in all varieties, shapes, sizes, colours and textures.

So in a desperate attempt to use up every last apple and let no poor apple go to waste I have cooked three very different apple recipes, all scrumptiously festive.

Simple Apple Tart

This was a recipe in The Great British Bake Off  Showstoppers book. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a showstopper, but it was unbelievably easy to make.

I made the pastry myself... so proud!

Then you simply roll it out really thin, then layer loads of thinly chopped slices of apple, before painting with melted butter and sprinkling with caster sugar.

Similar recipe here.

This went down well with my parents. So well in fact, that the whole lot had gone before I even had to transfer it to my tin.

But it was a bit too simple for me, not stodgy and fatty enough.

So recipe number 2.

Apple Flapjack

Once again, a piece of cake this recipe. Only it's flapjack, so a piece of flapjack. What I'm trying to say is it's easy. Oats, golden syrup, butter and brown sugar, with diced, peeled apple.

This one wasn't such a looker, and for some reason it was dead gooey and messy. But once again my parents ate it all up...

However, I'm just not a flapjack fan, too much like cereal and therefore too healthy for me...

And so last, but not least, recipe number three

Apple Windfall Cake

This is an old recipe from a big old-fashioned book we have called Country Harvest full of golden pictures of sugar crusted treats in quaint, countryside cottages, adorned with cute little jam jars, flowers in vases and even the occasional candle. I found a similar recipe here, but you'll be missing out on the pictures...

This is a favourite in our household and my mum is constantly requesting it. In case you haven't gathered by now, I'm not a massive fan of apple desserts. I just don't really like cooked fruit... I don't even eat mince pies. But this cake is unbeatable. It's so sweet and full of flavour, yet not sickly like you're average chocolate cake or Victoria sponge.

The third recipe was jusssssst right.

And so like the apples themselves that blossom and ripen only to fall and die, our cake too was a fleeting affair.

But rather than be sad that it is now gone, be happy that it ever existed. And you can always bake another one (or two) if you need to.

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