Wednesday, 10 September 2014


A kind friend gave me 3 sacks of windfall apples this week- hence this blog about using them up!

I also began my retirement last Wednesday- which feels like a windfall gift (even if I did have to work 35 long years as a teacher to earn it!)

What better way to spend the first day of my future life of leisure, than happily stewing apples and making chutney?

My chutney recipe used up 2-3 lbs (1 1/2 kilos) of the apples.

First I sterilised the jars by giving them a hot wash in the dishwasher and then dried them on a low heat in the oven until ready to use (about an hour and a half in all, which was just about the time it took to make the chutney.)

In a large saucepan, I softened 250g of sliced onions in some flavourless oil and added the peeled, cored and sliced apples (minus any bruises or worms of course). I mixed in 2 tsp mixed spice, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp salt, 400 ml of cider vinegar and 400g of sugar and brought that up to the boil.
I then added 150g of chopped dates and 150g of sultanas and left the whole lot to simmer away until the apples had broken down and the colour had changed to light golden.

I took a spoonful of the mixture and put it on a clean saucer. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, I drew a line through it -and the chutney remained parted like the Red Sea -so I knew it had reached the 'jammy' stage.

I bottled it up into the hot jars, using a jam funnel and topped each jar with a wax disc before sealing loosely. Once the jars had cooled, I tightened the lids and put them away in the store cupboard to mature. I'll open one in a few weeks time, to see it I got the whole process right.
Apple, Date and Sultana Chutney

Next, I stewed another 3 apples to make a crumble- including some mini ones which I served as part of a cafe gourmand: a cup of expresso coffee with a selection of mini desserts.
This one was autumn themed: afore mentioned mini crumble, a mini bottle of creme anglaise, some blackberries from the hedgerow and a bramble jam tart. Very pretty- and went well with a little glass of Calvados too.
Autumn cafe gourmand

Tonight I am baking two of the smaller Bramleys 'in their dressing gowns'. The apples are peeled and cored, filled with dates and sultanas and a good squirt of golden syrup, laid on shortcrust pastry rounds

 and painted with bramble jelly before being encased completely, brushed with a milk and sugar glaze and baked in a moderate oven for 20 minutes until golden brown ( and the apple tender within).
Apple in It's Dressing Gown

Other apple recipes on the blog include Normandy Apple Tart, Black Pudding and Apple Muffins, Apple Lattice, Toffee Apple Ice Cream, Apple and Sultana Battelmann and Spiced Apple Cake.

Apple Lattice

Spiced Apple Cake

Toffee Apple Ice Cream

Black Pudding and Apple Muffins

Normandy Apple Tart

Apple and Sultana Battelmann

I am also going to add one cooking apple to a chicken curry to make A Very English Curry. Watch out for the recipe on a future blog.

I still have one whole bowlful of apples to go, so would appreciate any of your apple recipes and ideas.

In the meantime- I hope you find these recipes scrump-tious.

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