Our windfall!

Apples! I’m talking apples 😉 Although it would be nice if someone wanted to give me a big ‘ol chunk of money too! Haha

Our neighbour has a beautiful apple tree in his front garden that has been covered in big, lovely looking apples for the last few months. And given the strong winds we’ve had over the last few days, most of these apples have fallen off. Which is a bit of a shame as last year I was able to collect them right up until mid December.

What I just can’t get my head around is why nobody else, including the owner, is interested in collecting them!? Most of the apples fall right onto the pavement, so anybody could pick some up. Whenever young sir and I are out with a bag we always have people stop and chat saying things like “oh they look nice!”, ” you’ll enjoy those!”, “they look like good cooking apples” and yet not try one for themselves. I don’t get it!

So on Saturday we collected a big carrier bag full and brought them home:

And I spent the evening with a little production line. I started with washing them (they did fall on the pavement and the road after all), then peeling and chopping them, before adding them to my biggest pot. In the pot with the apples was just water and a glug of lemon juice to stop them going too brown. I didn’t add sugar as I wanted the flexibility to add it later depending on what I use the apples for.

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I cooked the apples for 20 minutes once they had come to the boil (they probably didn’t need quite that long but I was dealing with a meltdown of the toddler variety and that’s how long they got!).

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Then they were blitzed in the food processor and I ended up with this huge bowlful of apple purée!

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That’s about 3 litres of apple purée that I’ve been able put in the freezer, all for the cost of the gas to cook them. A winter of crumbles, pies and whatever else I feel inspired to make. Yum!

I’d boast to the neighbours but I still don’t think it’d make a difference! I suspect young sir and I will have our own personal apple tree for a while to come 🙂

Individual bramble crumbles

With nearly a kilo of brambles in the fridge and freezer from our foraging trip on Tuesday it was fairly inevitable that they would start to feature in my cooking!

So yesterday I decided to whip up some individual crumbles for pudding. There’s no reason they have to be made small, I just fancied using my ramekins as they don’t often get an outing.

Ingredients

Enough filling for your dish (perhaps an unhelpful statement but it depends how deep you like your fruit layer to be. I filled mine to about 1cm below the top of the dish). Use brambles, apple, rhubarb, cherries, etc.

For the crumble topping (per ramekin):

2tbsps plain flour
1tbsp caster sugar
1tbsp vegan butter

Start by preheating your oven to 180°c.

Fill your dish with whichever fruit you are using and level off the surface. If you are using fruit that’s quite tart, you may wish to sprinkle sugar over the fruit to help sweeten it. Most of my brambles are nice and sweet, but a couple are quite mouth puckeringly sour, so I used about a teaspoon of sugar and they turned out beautifully, not too sweet and not sour at all.

Add all of your topping ingredients to a bowl and mix together using your fingers until the consistency is similar to sand. Divide evenly between the ramekins and pat down with the back of a spoon.

*Note: to make your topping more interesting try using 1 1/2 tbsps plain flour and 1/2 tbsp porridge oats, keeping the same quantities of sugar and butter.

Bake in the oven for 20-22 mins until golden on top and piping hot in the centre. Delicious on its own, but also great with cream or custard, vegan or otherwise 🙂

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Bramble picking, or: why I’m covered in nettle stings

It has been a glorious afternoon so young sir and I headed over to my parents house for a spot of bramble picking. (Brambles are also known as blackberries if you’re wondering!)

Unfortunately a certain young man got too excited by the prospect and promptly fell asleep once he left the house!

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Good for my mum and me though as we were able to keep everything we picked, instead of the usual pick one, eat four when our helper is awake!

I may have become a bit obsessed, getting just a little stuck in the bushes at one point! And it is definitely much easier to balance on one leg for better reach without a big ‘ol bump on my front. I just wish the brambles weren’t quite so spiky or quite so intertwined with the nettles. Note to self: remember gardening gloves next time!

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But still, I had lots of fun. I love picking wild food, I really wish I knew more about what else I could be collecting, I’m sure there must be so much right under my nose that I have no idea about.

Once our containers were full overflowing, our little assistant finally woke up so we had a walk along to say hello to the cows.

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But they were all lying down and didn’t want to come and say hi. So we wandered slowly, eating more brambles, and admiring the view.

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It’s such a lovely place to go for a walk, do you see the Forth Bridges in the background?

I do like a nice trip home 🙂 Especially when there’s nearly a kilo of fresh wild fruit involved!