Monday, 28 September 2015

.... Cooking with Bramley Apples
Bramley Apples and Blackberries

We are lucky enough to have a large old Bramley Apple tree in our garden which at this time of year is bountiful with fruit.  We get a lot of "windfall" apples that drop from the tree and I do my best to make use of them, however, as they can only be eaten once they are cooked this means I have to put in a little effort to try and keep up with what is available. 

One of my usual tactics is to take carrier bags full in to work to share with my colleagues, however, I recently accepted voluntary redundancy so that is not an option. This has not been without some laughs as I tried to explain to my Moldovan and Polish colleagues that they must be cooked before eating, it turns out that cooking apples are peculiar to the UK.  

There was nothing for it but to roll my sleeves up and spend Saturday in the kitchen.  Hubby was working a 12 hour shift so I knew I could get stuck in without any interruptions.  I scavenged the last of the blackberries from behind the garden shed and set to.  First up was an apple and blackberry crumble for Hubby to take into work the next day to share with his co-workers.

This is all based around Delia Smith's basic crumble recipe

225g plain flour
75g butter (at room temperature)
100g sugar (I use what ever kind I have to hand)

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it is evenly distributed and resembles cake crumbs, add the sugar and mix through.  This is ready to be used now or it can be frozen to be used as and when required or it will keep in the fridge.

For the filling I peeled and sliced about 900g of Bramleys put them in a pan with enough water to cover the bottom and about 40g of sugar, cook until the apple starts to collapse and go fluffy. Place the apple mix in baking or Pyrex dish about 9 or 10 inches long. Add the blackberries they will make the apple go pink.  Cover with the topping, fork it  down, dont press.  Bake at Gas mark 4, 350 F 180C for about 30-40 minutes.  Serve with custard, cream or ice cream and don't think about what is happening to your waistline!!

I also made a couple of smaller ones where I added some mincemeat to the apple mix instead of the blackberries, absolutely delicious with vanilla ice cream.  The reason for using the mincemeat is that I brought quite a lot when it was reduced to 25p a jar in the supermarket after Christmas last year, Some have expiry dates as late as 2017, however, there are a couple that go out of date in October so any excuse as I love those festive flavours. 

This link will take you to the delia on line website, although I couldn't spot this basic recipe on there.
Bramley apple and Blackberry crumble

My other makes were both chutneys so I won't be able to feed back on these until they have matured a little.

First up was this classic apple chutney from the BBC good food website, I found the recipe easy to follow, it didn't require me to purchase a lot of extra items and didn't have to be cooked for hours.  I made a bit of a mess up and put in more ginger and mustard seed than the recipe asks for (wrong sized spoon), I tried to take some back out but know that there is more in there than there should be, oops.  Hopefully it will still taste fine and you and I will be the only ones who know about this misdemeanor.
Classic Apple Chutney

My second chutney make was also from the BBC good food website autumn tomato chutney  I only made half the quantity suggested as I was using tomatoes from the garden and wanted to save some to eat fresh.
Autumn chutney bubbling away
It yielded 3 jars and I can't wait for it to be ready to try, there is something so satisfying about making things with your home grown produce and this contains both tomatoes and apples from the garden.
Autumn chutney

There are plenty more apples left on the tree so I am in the market for recipe suggestions.

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