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Friday, 16 October 2009

GIVE ME SPOTS ON MY APPLES ...

In Daisy Cottage last week we noticed the apple trees had lots of big, fat rosy apples just ready for picking. The branches are a bit high just to reach the apples, and shaking the tree was getting us nowhere.  My husband had the idea of using the rake we had been clearing leaves with and started to pull down branches to shake off some apples.  It was slightly chaotic in that apples were springing off their branches at random and had health & safety rules applied, we would almost certainly have been required to wear hard hats.  But we threw caution to the wind and went with our improvised idea to get the apples. Dodging about ensured there were no injuries, and when we decided we had enough apples released, I gathered them to take home to cook.

Looking at them, I thought they weren't the prettiest apples in that they weren't all shiney and perfect but rather, had spots and imperfections. But then they ARE organic and so I can do without the perfection to enjoy a chemical free apple.  And that reminded my of the Joni Mitchell song, 'Big Yellow Taxi':

"Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
"

(To listen to the song, click on the heading at the start of this post).

So I took the apples home and now I have lots of organic cooking apples to think up dishes to put in. Yes, of course I will do apple crumble and possibly apple pie too (and maybe even apple jelly if I gather enough apples next time) but I decided to try something different and made an apple sponge. I've never made this dish let alone sponge before so the fact that it was edible was something of a miracle. Added to that I didn't bother finding a recipe and just made it up as I went.

I peeled and sliced the apples, which are delicious I have to say, tart but with a touch of sweetness and bursting with a flavour only achieved by such freshness. I buttered a ring bound tray and put the apple slices, sprinkled with a little sugar, into the tray to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches to allow for cooking shrinkage.

Then I made up a sponge mixture and put this in on top of the apples. Into the oven for 40 minutes and and removed from the oven and allowed to cool. After running a knife around the edge to make sure the sponge was not stuck, I clicked open the ring around the tray, put another flat tray on top and flipped over. Perfect. And, much to my delighted surprise, it all stayed together ~ I had expected it might just spread out like warm jelly.

And to finish off the dish, I made some homemade custard.  Real comfort food which was enjoyed by all and afterwards we sat around like very happy cats who'd got the cream.  Or in this case, cats who'd got the custard.


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