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Blackberry Vinegar

Blackberry Vinegar

Blackberries are back, baby. This time last year, when the blackberries were growing faster than I could eat them, I started thinking about vinaigrette – I used to really enjoy the Annie’s Naturals raspberry vinaigrette when I lived in the U.S., and wondered if I could make something similar with blackberries. Meanwhile, apple season was also in full swing, and I was having fun making my own cider vinegar following Carl Legge’s recipe. Could both of these forces somehow combine for the greater good?

Short answer: yes. Lynne Clark gave me this super recipe for blackberry vinegar that I’ve been using throughout the year. It’s a sweet and sour, thick-ish vinegar that works especially well with fruit, sweet root vegetables and goats cheese. I use it as I would balsamic – simply tossed into a salad with olive oil, salt and pepper, with perhaps a little extra blackberry vinegar drizzle at the end.

My favourite salad so far has been this beetroot and orzo salad with goats cheese and pine nuts consisting of: 1 beetroot, about 40g cooked orzo, 3g pine nuts, 20g goats cheese, a handful of spinach, 1 thinly sliced spring onion, salt, lots of pepper and a good drizzle of blackberry vinegar:

Beetroot and orzo salad with pine nuts and goats curd

A similar approach works equally well with any combination of grain, fruit and nuts. I especially love strawberries, peaches and/or figs with toasted walnuts or cashews. Here’s one with strawberries, basmati rice and pistachios:

Lunch salad with leaves & strawberries I grew myself! Plus goat cheese, pistachios, rice & blackberry vinegar. #SaladChat

You could also make a vinaigrette with this – I’ve been meaning to adapt this raspberry vinaigrette recipe but so far havent been able to diverge from enjoying it in its pure form. Thanks to Lynne for sharing her vinegar mojo!

Blackberry Vinegar
 

Recipe courtesy of Lynne Clark (@josordoni) who sent this to me in a tweet last year.
Ingredients
  • Blackberries
  • Cider or wine vinegar
  • Sugar

Instructions
  1. Weigh your blackberries.
  2. But the same weight of vinegar in a large container. Add the blackberries and let the mixture steep for 7-10 days.
  3. Strain the mixture, reserving the liquid.
  4. Add the liquid to a sauce pan with 450g sugar per 700ml of liquid.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Bottle!

Blackberry Vinegar

Yellow Pea Dahl

Yellow Pea Dahl

I went through a long phase where I was cooking and eating a lot of Indian food, so much so that I’m pretty sure I was one of those people who perpetually smelled like a curry house. Indian is one of my favourite cuisines and I feel like I’m at a point where I have a good repertoire of techniques and go-to recipes that work every time (red lentil dal with panch phoran, besan cheelas, cucumber and coconut salad to name a few).

But then suddenly the phase stopped. The recipes got old. I got bored. Then, a few weeks ago, my recent weekend with Urvashi Roe rejuvenated my appetite for Indian with a slew of new flavour sensations gained largely at her breakfast table and at the buffet at Sakonis. I’ve been heavily experimenting with new Indian recipes ever since.

Once such recipe is this Yellow Pea Dahl from the Green Seasons cookbook by Rachel Demuth. Though not Indian herself, Rachel’s traveled the globe, learned from the best and has been passing on her knowledge of Indian cookery (amongst other cusines) at her Vegetarian Cookery School for years.

This dahl caught my eye for its lack of tomatoes and inclusion of tamarind, a tart, sour fruit. The only substitution I made was to use channa dal rather than yellow split peas. This was such a refreshing change from my usual dal, with the lemony tang of the tamarind giving this a fresh edge. It’s also a cinch to throw together and does really well with a bit of spinach added to the mix. Give me this and with some raita, spicy pickles and warm chapatti, and I’m a happy camper.

I think this may even become my new breakfast “porridge”, but I’ll save my current savoury breakfast phase for another post.

Yellow Pea Dahl
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

With a bit of tang from the tamarind, this dahl is a total surprise. It’s a fresh, light dahl, that works as well for breakfast as it does for lunch or dinner. Channa dal works a charm in place of the yellow split peas, and I suspect red lentils would be pretty good too. Reprinted with permission from Green Seasons cookbook by Rachel Demuth.
Ingredients
  • 150g yellow split peas
  • 6 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 600ml water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsps sunflower oil or ghee
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste, diluted with 2 tsps water
  • 1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
  • small handful fresh coriander, chopped

Instructions
  1. Soak the yellow split peas in water for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  2. Simmer the yellow split peas and shallots in the water until cooked, approximately 25 minutes, adding more water if needed.
  3. Add the salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Mix well, take off the heat and set aside.
  4. Heat the sunflower oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves, cumin and asafoetida, stir and remove from the heat.
  5. Add the tamarind and jaggery to the seasoned oil, return to the heat and cook until thick and bubbly.
  6. Heat the split pea mixture. Pour the seasoned oil over the split peas and stir in.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 186 Fat: 2.9 Saturated fat: 0.3 Carbohydrates: 31.3 Sugar: 4.5 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 9.7 Cholesterol: 31.3

Ranch Dressing


Match Made in Heaven

While I was in the US, I rediscovered Ranch dressing. Or should I said, discovered Ranch dressing, because I was never really a big fan of the stuff even when I lived in America.

Ranch dressing has a bad reputation.

First, Ranch is generally regarded as being terrible for you. Not only is it full of high fat mayonnaise and sour cream, but it’s often served with other fatty (but delicious!) foods like breaded fried zucchini and french fries. Ranch is a staple of the salad bar, usually with its friend “low fat Ranch”, America’s attempt to satisfy the nation’s craving with a less sinful but entirely substandard imitation.

Second, Ranch dressing is almost always of the bottled “Hidden Valley Ranch” variety. Highly processed, and just sort of generic-tasting, this type of Ranch doesn’t taste horrible, but it doesn’t taste remarkable either.

And yet, the concept of Ranch is entirely promising. Made with mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, garlic, onion and herbs, it sounds like it could be good. After all, creamy dressings, for salad or for dipping, have their place in society. And while I’m saving Ranch, I’d like to also put in a few goods for mayonnaise which also gets a bad wrap. What is mayonnaise but a lot of oil and a little bit of egg? We put oil on our salads every day! How is mayonnaise so different?

But back to Ranch. Seeing its promise, my sister Stephanie set out in January 2010 to create a Ranch dressing that is truly remarkable. She succeeded in spades, discovering that pickle juice is the magic ingredient that gives Ranch a fresh lift. The rest comes down to herbs and spices, of which parsley, chives, onion and garlic are key. The result is pungent, dynamic, creamy and, as I discovered on this last trip, good with almost anything you throw at it.

Breaded Green Beans and Homemade Ranch

The Great Ranch Fest of 2011/2012 began at my friend Abby’s and Matt’s on New Year’s Eve. We were mulling over recipes and salads and I mentioned the Ranch dressing. Abby suggested we make it to serve with her breaded green beans. The first bite blew our minds. The Ranch was PERFECT with the breaded green beans. Then, we tried some Ranch on our pizza. Again, ka-pow.

We finished the whole batch of Ranch that night, and the next day, made another batch to go with fish tacos. Again, the Ranch was gone by the end of the meal. (This probably goes a fair way to explaining why my clothes don’t fit quite like they did before the trip!)

I made Ranch again later on my trip with Stephanie, where we staged a repeat of Abby’s breaded green beans (they are about as awesome as the Ranch itself). It was here Stephanie taught me a thing or two about why her recipe works.

The secret(s) to good Ranch

First, there’s the pickle juice, which should be from dill pickles – Claussen Kosher Dills are best (I just discovered to my delight that Claussen owns pickles.com, and to my disappointment, Kraft owns Claussen – alas). It’s important that the pickle juice be not very sweet (I’m pretty sure Claussen’s has no sugar in its pickling juice). As I discovered at Abby’s, for lack of dill pickle juice you can use normal pickle juice with a good pinch of dried dill.

Then there’s the mayonnoaise. I made my first batch at Abby’s with Hellman’s, and the second batch with some hippy organic mayonnaise. Guess what: the Hellman’s won. Annoying, but true. I would like to try making Ranch with homemade mayonnaise, or the stuff that Riverford sells which is truly awesome. Verdict TBD (please let my mayo win!).

Ranch Dressing

This recipe was created by my sister Stephanie and appears in the family cookbook, “Seasoned with Love” (Mom’s title). If you can’t get dill pickles, use any kind of non-sweetened pickle juice, plus a pinch of dried dill. And for UK folk, “sour cream” in the States is a bit different from the “soured cream” you get in the UK – it’s thicker, and possibly more sour. I’ve never tried “soured cream” but suspect it would be OK, just a little runnier – if anyone tries this let me know!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp dill pickle juice (Claussens is best!)
  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried chopped chives
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper

Method

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, and buttermilk and mix with a fork until smooth. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and stir until mixed. Chill at least 2 hours before serving (well, you don’t have to do this if you just can’t wait, but it does help the flavours blend).

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Yield: 5 servings (approx. 2 Tbsp per serving)

Per 2 Tbsp: 73 Calories | 6.4 grams Fat | 3.6 grams Carbohydrates | 0.6 grams Protein | 0 grams Fiber

Carrot and Swede Soup with Coriander and Creme Fraiche

Carrot and Swede Soup with Coriander and Creme Fraiche

It’s three days before I fly to Chicago for the holidays, and I’m on a mission to use up everything in my fridge so I don’t have to throw anything away. I’m down to the tricky vegetables: swede, beetroot and a mountain of carrots.

Some of the carrots (along with a cucumber and some cauliflower) are going into a Piccalilli. The rest I turned into this soup, an obvious riff on the classic carrot and coriander soup. But you know what – I think I prefer this version with a bit of swede added to the mix. It tones down the sweetness of the carrots and works very well with the flavour of ground coriander. I stole the creme fraiche idea from Delia (good old Delia). It’s a keeper.

This recipe got me through all of my carrots and half a swede. Tonight, I tackle the beetroot.

Adapted from Delia’s recipe for carrot and coriander soup. There are no hard and fast rules on the proportion of carrots and swede to use – just go with whatever’s convenient. I used roughly 600g swede and 300g carrots for this.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900 g) carrots and swede, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 oz (25 g) butter
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 pints (1.2 litres) vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, plus 6 small sprigs, to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Dry-roast the coriander seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat, stirring and tossing them around for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to look toasted and start to jump in the pan. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and crush them coarsely.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan, then add the chopped carrots and swede, garlic and three-quarters of the crushed coriander seeds. Stir the vegetables in the butter and crushed seeds, then cover the pan and let them cook over a gentle heat until they are beginning to soften – about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper and bring everything up to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes, partially covered, or until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Leave the soup to cool a little, then liquidise the whole lot in batches. Return the purée to the pan and stir in the chopped fresh coriander and 2 tablespoons of the crème fraîche.
  6. Re-heat the soup, then taste to check the seasoning and serve in warmed bowls and garnish each one with a swirl of crème fraîche, a sprinkling of the remaining toasted coriander seeds and a sprig of fresh coriander.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 163 Calories | 8.2 grams Fat | 21.3 grams Carbohydrates | 3.6 grams Protein | 6.0 grams Fiber

Cauliflower and Broccoli Omelet with Feta

Open-Face Omelet with Cauliflower, Broccoli & Feta

I’m not really sure what to call this. Open-faced omelet? Frittata? Chunky vegetable pancake? Whatever you call it, I’ve really been enjoying this style of “omelet” lately, and this particular combination of ingredients worked very well. I use parsley here, but I could see dill and/or mint also working very well.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Omelet with Feta and Parsley

This is an easy omelet for one, which I make in an oven-safe 20cm frying pan so that I can grill it at the very end. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you could cook it for a few extra minutes on the stove top with the lid on. Adapted from this recipe for a Cauliflower and Feta Omelet.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • ~2 cups broccoli and cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, whisked (with a splash of milk if you like)
  • ~2 Tbsp of feta or more to taste
  • 5 cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Turn on the grill / broiler in your oven
  2. In an oven-safe skillet, saute the broccoli and cauliflower on medium-high heat in some olive oil. Try not to stir too much so they take on some colour in the pan.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the garlic, half of the parsley and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for another minute.
  4. Pour in the egg and rotate the pan to distribute the egg evenly.
  5. Crumble the feta over the top, then distribute the cherry tomatoes.
  6. Place under the grill for about 5 minutes, or under the omelet is nicely coloured and the cherry tomatoes have started to burst.
  7. Garnish with the rest of the parsley, a couple grinds of fresh black pepper if you’d like and serve.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Per serving: 212 Calories | 13.3 grams Fat | 13.2 grams Carbohydrates | 12.9 grams Protein | 4.8 grams Fiber

Apple mini cakes

Apple mini cakes

So many people commented on this picture that it seemed like a blog post was in order to explain the story behind it.

I guess it all begins with apples. When the apple glut arrived a few months ago, I started amassing apple recipes, including this Apple Brown Sugar Cake by Azelia’s Kitchen.

Meanwhile, I’ve recently been very lucky to work with Rosalind Rathouse, the one-woman powerhouse behind Cookery School at Little Portland Street in London and Rosalind’s Kitchen, a hidden little gem of a takeaway that does beautiful, healthy lunches using amazing ingredients including loads of beautiful fresh vegetables, organic produce and good-to-think sustainable fish (watch the video).

One of the things I keep hearing about from Rosalind and her customers are their cupcakes, which Rosalind says should really be called “cakes in cups” because they’re made using artisan cake-baking techniques but are baked in cups so as to be more portable.

Now enter Eleni and Eni’s birthday part last Sunday. Eleni is a friend from my past life in the City as a banker. Her and her partner are from Greece and cook amazing food – a dinner party at theirs was not to be missed. As this was a birthday, I thought it a great excuse to try another apple cake recipe and impart a bit of the orchard harvest into the festivities. I also knew a lot of people would be there, and “cakes in cups” seemed the perfect way to easily share the cake amongst many people.

One final bit of inspirado came from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Apple and Pear Crumble Cake, which has a tasty crumble topping to make the cake extra special.

So here is how I made the apple mini cakes:

  1. Get two mini muffin trays (about 48 muffins) and line it with cupcake liners. (You can also halve Azelia’s recipe and use one tin, or do one tin of muffins and one mini loaf tin!)
  2. Make a crumble topping with 200g cold butter, 300g flour, 100g caster sugar. Put the mix inside the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Make Azelia’s Apple Brown Sugar Cake batter and spoon into the muffin tins.
  4. Sprinkle a generous amount of crumble onto each muffin (it will go everywhere and be a mess – don’t worry about it; you will also have lots of crumble leftover – put it in the freezer and save it for later!)
  5. Decorate each muffin with a sliced almond or two.
  6. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes (check half-way to make sure they are baking evenly and rotate the muffin trays if needed).

Apple mini cakes

Fagioli all Uccelletto with cavolo nero

Fagioli all Uccelletto with cavolo nero

Sometimes a dish comes along that reminds me how wonderfully flavoursome, satisfying and comforting good vegetarian food can be.

Fagioli all’ Uccelletto, or “beans made in the manner of little birds”, is a Tuscan dish classically made with cannellini beans served in a rich tomato sauce. The name is derived from the herbs (particularly sage) used to season small game birds so dear to the Tuscany culinary tradition.

I came across this dish at Silvana de Soissons’ Foodie Bugle lunch party earlier this month. She prepared her fagioli all’ uccelleto with a mix of borlotti, haricot and butter beans, along with cavalo nero (my favourite type of kale). This was by far my favourite dish of the meal.

Cavalo Nero

When Silvana came ’round to serve the beans, she said, “to me, this is lunch”, and I couldn’t agree with her more. This is precisely the kind of food I love and live on, and this dish reminded me that some of the most deliciously wholesome food in life comes from the combination of just a few simple, quality ingredients.

This is also the type of dish that might inspire people who are usually mystified by vegetables like kale to use more of these ingredients. The beans and tomato sauce really bring the cavalo nero into its own. Forget River Cottage Veg, THIS is what everyday vegetarian cooking is all about.

Thank you to Silvana for sharing the recipe with me and allowing me to reprint it here. I’ve already made a batch once, and suspect I’ll be making it many times again.

Fagioli all Uccelletto with cavolo nero

Recipe courtesy of Silvana de Soissons. You can see a picture of her version on Flickr.

Ingredients

  • 400g cooked beans (butter, haricot, borlotti all work well or a mixture of all)
  • 250g cavolo nero
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of finely chopped sage or rosemary needles
  • Zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon
  • 250g fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (can be tinned tomatoes if that’s all you’ve got)

Method

  1. If you are cooking dried beans, soak overnight in water and then drain them. Boil in fresh water for an hour or more, until they are cooked and soft. If using jars of cooked beans then just drain and rinse.
  2. Wash the cavolo nero and tear off the leaves in small pieces. Discard the tough stalks. Blanch the cavolo nero in boiling, salted water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain.
  3. In a large sauté pan heat quite a generous amount of olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli for about 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cavolo nero, the tomatoes, the beans, lemon zest and the rosemary or sage. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a drizzle of more olive oil and lemon juice, hot bread or crostini.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 272 Calories | 11.2 grams Fat | 34.6 grams Carbohydrates | 11.7 grams Protein | 9.9 grams Fiber

Roast Quinces

Roast quinces

The only thing I don’t like about quinces is the word itself. “Quince”, the word grates on my ears, much like the word “panties” or “moist”. Maybe it’s because I’m American, and I’m just not accustomed to the sound. Quinces are rare in North American due to its susceptibility to fireblight disease, but in England they flourish and seem to be very popular this time of year. They were first recorded in about 1275, when Edward I had some planted at the Tower of London and are still grown successfully as far north as Scotland.

I had my first quince two Fridays ago at Silvana de Soisson’s epic Foodie Bugle Lunch Party. Silvana has a bountiful quince tree. Some of those quinces made their appears at the dessert table, cooked in a spiced sugar syrup, delicious with the various cheeses making the rounds.

One of the highlights of the lunch was going outside and watching Silvana shake her quince tree, resulting in a rainfall of quinces (only one of which gave her dog a nasty bonk on the head).

And so, that’s how I ended up with six quinces and now that they’re here, I’ve gotten to know them a bit better.

Quinces

Quinces are a very hard, astringent fruit that give off a strong but pleasant fruity aroma (potpourri be damned!). They are too hard and tart to eat raw, but they can be cooked into some amazing things, often jam, jelly or membrillo, the Spanish word for “quince” used to denote a fruit “cheese” classically served with Spanish sheep’s milk manchego cheese.

Quinces can also be stewed, baked or roasted, which is what I decided to do with three of mine using Nigel Slater’s recipe for roast quinces with star anise, cloves and maple syrup. Quinces require lots of sugar to cut through their tart astringency, but once roasted, they take on a soft, pear-like texture and a delicate flavour that works well with the warming spices. They were delicious for dessert last night with a bit of cream. I think they’d also be good for breakfast with muesli and yogurt.

All that’s left to do is get used to the word, because as much as I don’t like how “quince” sounds, I do love how they taste. For my last three quinces, I think some classic quince jam is in order. Thank you, Silvana.

Roast quinces

Roast quinces

Adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe for roast quinces. Before roasting, the quinces are poached in sugar and water so that the flesh becomes “melting and almost transparent”. You could also add something boozy to the mix. Stuart Vendent, also a recipient of Silvana’s quinces and an excellent food photographer, suggests Pineau des Charentes, port or sherry.

Ingredients

  • 4 heaped tbsp sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 smallish quinces
  • ½ a lemon
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup

Method

  1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cloves and star anise. Peel and halve the quinces and rub them with lemon to stop them browning.
  2. Lower the quinces into the sugar syrup and let them simmer till tender. They may be ready in 25 minutes or perhaps take a little longer, depending on their size and ripeness.
  3. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 5. When they are tender to the point of a knife, lift the quinces out and put them in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin. Take150ml of the cooking liquid, add the maple syrup and, together with the aromatics, pour over the quinces.
  4. Bake for 30 minute or so till very soft and tender. Serve with their cooking juices.

Prep Time: 20 minutes


Cook time: 60 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Jablecznik: Polish Apple Cake


Jablecznik: Polish Apple Cake

The apple theme continues. This time, apple cake. There’ve been loads of recipes making the rounds and three have caught my eye which I plan to try this season:

My first cake, chosen purely because I had the ingredents, was Carla’s Jablecznik. The 25% of me that’s Polish was giddy at the thought.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m not really a big cake eater, or fan of sweets in general. But this apple cake suited me perfectly, largely because it’s less like “cake” and more like a sweetened apple frittata: think layers and layers of apples held together by a luxurious egg- and flour-based batter. The moisture from the apples give the cake an almost custard-like quality.

Jablecznik: Polish Apple Cake

This is the kind of dessert food I like: rustic, full of fruit, layered with texture and not overly sweet. Being Polish, I feel compelled to add creme fraiche, but it doesn’t need it. It does, however, really enjoy the company of a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Jablecznik: Polish Apple Cake

A true celebration of apples. I’ve halved the ingredients of the original recipe to fit a 20cm spring-form tin, which serves about 8. For Carla’s original 25cm cake, check out her recipe on Facebook.

Ingredients

  • 135gr plain cake flour or Italian ’00′ flour
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 gr of granulated sugar
  • 55 gr soft unsalted butter
  • 125 ml full fat milk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 4 large apples peeled cored and thinly sliced

For the topping

  • 22 gr cold diced butter
  • 25 gr granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Line a 20cm cake tin with parchment paper (if you don’t know how, read this).
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Than add the sugar,butter, milk and eggs. Beat well till smooth. The batter should be of a soft dropping consistency.
  3. Pour half of the batter into the cake tin, spread it out and layer on just a bit more than half of the sliced apples. Spoon half of the remaining batter on top and then add the rest of the apples. Dot the rest of the batter on the apples.
  4. With your fingertips work together the cold butter, sugar and spice till you have “butter crumbs” and scatter on top of the cake.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the apples poking through the top have started to brown.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 262 Calories | 9.6 grams Fat | 42.5 grams Carbohydrates | 3.6 grams Protein | 2.6 grams Fiber

Blackberry and Sloe Gin Sorbet

Blackberry & Sloe Gin Sorbet

While the apples and pears continue to fall, their need for a storage solution is far less immediate than that of the blackberries.

The farm is pretty much hedged in blackberries at the moment. Many of those blackberries are bland and a bit pippy, but there’s a few choice bushes with the best blackberries I’ve ever tasted. Every day on my post-lunch walk I can’t help but pick whatever blackberries have ripened since the day before: this is a lot of blackberries.

Blackberries and Sloes

Blackberries don’t keep very long off the bush, so I tend to freeze most of the ones I pick straight away. But with the freezer filling fast, it was time to take action. The solution did not solve my freezer space issue, but it did result in something delicious.

David Lebovitz, my source of inspiration for all things ice cream, has a recipe in his excellent book The Perfect Scoop for Banana and Blackberry Sorbet. I decided to make this with a little autumnal twist by adding sloe gin. The upshot: alcohol helps keep the sorbet from going rock solid in the freezer, making it more scoopable and hopefully giving it a nice subtle undertone of sloe gin.

I subbed some of the sugar for some blackberry plum jam I made a few weeks ago and added three tablespoons of sloe gin to the original recipe (the maximum amount of alcohol David recommends to keep the sorbet scoopable without being slushy).

Blackberry & Sloe Gin Sorbet

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. David’s original recipe called for 1/2 cup of sugar; I did 2 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp of blackberry plum jam. I suspect my version is much less sweet than his, but I wanted something with a bit of tartness, not too sweet to overpower the fragrant sloe gin. To me, this is the perfect after-dinner palate cleanser. It packs a lot of flavour; a small cup is all you need.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 240g blackberries
  • 3 Tbsp sloe gin
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp blackberry jam (or similar)
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste the mixture and, bearing in mind that the frozen version will taste less sweet, add more sugar if you’d like.
  2. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  3. Churn in an ice cream maker.
  4. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Churn time: 10-20 minutes

Yield: About 1 litre or 550g of sorbet

Per 100g serving: 94 Calories | 0.3 grams Fat | 17.9 grams Carbohydrates | 0.9 grams Protein | 3.2 grams Fiber