I never tire of the seasons changing. There is something special about embracing the next phase of the year and Autumn definitely drums up feelings of contentment. Knowing that Summer has passed and we aren’t waiting for hot sunny days but feeling more blessed if we get a warm one (which apparently is coming all next week!), means we relax more in this season.
When all the leaves change to golden rich colours I find myself drawn to food and the wonderful offerings of what the harvest brings. Blackberries, apples and pears, can all be foraged and boy do I miss my old garden where my neighbour had gorgeous apple trees and handed overflowing baskets across the fence to help make apple pies on a Sunday!
No apples to call my own this year but I have bought some delightful English ones and looking forward to a few recipes. I love how cooking and baking can make you feel at ease, preparing nice jars and turning the Autumn crops into delights to be savoured over Winter.
Here are a couple of recipes for you to try and if you have favourite recipes you love and trust then please pass them on.
Apple, Pear and Chilli Chutney (Taken from The Little Library Christmas by Kate Young)
I love Kate Young as a food writer, she is easy to read, comforting and uplifting all at once. This recipe is great if you have the privilege of owning any apple or pear trees in your garden and if not then you can buy lot’s of English varieties this time of year. Making food presents for friends and family is a nice thing to do. Serving this chutney with a cheese board is a delight and comforting while cosying up on the sofa, watching all those Autumn telly series that always pop up!
1kg eating apples, peeled, cored and finely diced.
500g onions finely diced
500g pear, peeled, cored and finely diced
500g granulated sugar
300 ml cider vinegar
1tsp chilli flakes or you could add a teaspoon of Spice Island Chilli sauce to add another depth to the flavour
1tsp fine salt
Place fruit and onions in a large pan and cook gently over a low heat for an hour. Stirring regularly. The apples will give off plenty of fluid so you don’t need to add any at this stage.
After an hour stir in the sugar, cider vinegar, salt and chilli flakes. Bring to a simmer and reduce until thickened. To check if it is done, draw a line along the bottom of the pan with the spoon; when the chutney is ready, the line won’t flood with liquid. Spoon into sterilized jars. The chutney will last for 6 months if kept in a dark cool place.
My next recipe is from Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros, who is another of my favourite food writers. This recipe is so good and offers a good alternative to banana bread. Tessa says this bread is great with cheese and also with fresh cream. I like it just as a snack and I also love it served warm with some decent ice cream or with a handful of fruit like blueberries, blackberries and softened pear and a dash of mascarpone.
Apple Bread with Sugar and Cinnamon Topping
150 g sugar
150g butter softened
120g plain flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
400g apples, peeled, cored and grated coarsley
60g walnuts lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
60g walnuts finely chopped
60 brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180oc. Butter and flour a loaf tin. Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat them in well. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cardamom and cinnamon into the mixture and then add a pinch of salt. Mix well and then add the apples, walnuts and vanilla extract. Mix through well and then scrape the mixture into the loaf tin.
Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake for around 45 minutes or until the top is crusty brown and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. You can check after 30 minutes to see if it is done and will depend on your oven. You can also cover the top of the bread with foil if you think the topping is getting too brown.
Cool slightly for a good 5 minutes before turning out carefully onto a plate. You can serve while still warm with ice cream or mascarpone and save leftovers for snacks in the week. Will keep for a good 7 days if wrapped up well and stored in a place like a bread bin.
Hope you enjoy these apple recipes and get a chance to do some cooking and baking throughout the Autumn.