The stars aligned for one of my increasingly rare opportunities to bake. I was hosting a gathering at my house for my quidditch team, one of whom was having a birthday the next day. Since she is lactose intolerant, I decided to have a go at a dairy-free bake. I looked specifically for a recipe that still included eggs, since I’ve had mixed success with vegan bakes in the past. This Nigella recipe popped up on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a go. The cake is also gluten-free.
The recipe states that the cake is best eaten warm, so I made the apple sauce in advance to save some time. The apple sauce was delicious- I might well make that again. I enjoyed this cake, especially considering it’s a ‘free from’ type recipe. Not the best pictures I’ve ever taken. I may have already started drinking when I was making this cake.
One of my flatmates moved out last week meaning one thing: random free food!
In some ways I have inherited my grandmother’s wartime spirit of unrelenting pennypinching. Not with regard to holidays, luxury yarns or seasonal lattes, but definitely when it comes to food waste. So an ex-housemate’s cupboard is a magical mystery tour of forgotten foodstuffs.
His abandoned jar Pataks spice paste, dried chickpeas and bag-ends of basmati became a delicious chicken and pumpkin curry that I’ll be enjoying for a while to come.
What I especially like is the inspiration to work with ingredients I wouldn’t ordinarily choose. The only Indian style curry I’ve made for the past few years has been a Jamie Oliver chicken korma. This week I have expanded my curry repertoire to something warmer than a korma, that I will likely make again.
Anyway, I digress. The subject of this particular blog post is the twelve random apples found in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Yes, I know, who keeps apples in the fridge?? I transformed them into this.
I am especially pleased because the only ingredient I paid for was the raisins. I’m really hoping I managed to do the jarring correctly as I plan to give some of the chutney away. I also hope it tastes good! There wasn’t much left to try, and anyway I understand that chutney should be left to mature before consumption.
My basic recipe is here, but I tweaked the amounts according to what I had on hand.
- 1kg apples, chopped. This was the weight after coring etc. I didn’t peel them
- 250g onions, chopped
- 200g raisins
- 15g paprika
- 15g ground coriander
- 15g random spices because I don’t know what ‘mixed spice’ is
- 15g salt
- 350g sugar. I used a combination of dark brown and granulated
- 450ml vinegar, at least 5% acidity
Yield: 3 jars plus two small jarsh
I played fast and loose with the recipe, which may turn out to be an error when I have never made chutney before. I will update with a review of how it tastes.
- Put all ingredients into a very large pan.
- Bring to the boil slowly until the sugar dissolves
3. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. After about an hour, begin sterilising your jars
5. Once the chutney is very thick, so that a wooden spoon drawn through it leaves a channel that doesn’t immediately fill with liquid, begin jarring
I may also have been distracted as I was watching Breaking Bad while I was cooking. My feels!
I’ll be cracking my first jar open in a few weeks, so until then the jury is out.
I’ve been really seized by the desire to make things this week. I’m also trying to use up the ingredients in my cupboard as I’m planning to move house soon. I’ve had this recipe for apple, pecan and cinnamon bread pinned for a while, so I decided to try it out.
The method of cutting and stacking the slices of dough is the same as I used in my pumpkin tear and share bread.
Since I’m moving, I’ve decided to keep my magical new mixer safe in its box until I’m in my new place. I quite enjoyed making this bread by hand and I noticed that my kneading technique has improved a lot this year. You only have to do it a few times before you get a ‘feel’ for when the dough is ready to rise.
This a lovely soft enriched white loaf packed with apple, nuts and caramel. It’s gooood. I also learnt something, if you use a American recipe that calls for King Arthur All Purpose Flour, you should substitute strong rather than plain flour. Important.
For the bread
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, very soft
- 1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups strong white flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast- note this is slightly over one sachet
For the filling
- 3 apples
- 2tbsp butter
- 1tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the icing
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2-6 tbsp milk
1. Whisk together the butter, milk, water, eggs, and vanilla extract
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast, then add the wet ingredients.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface. Knead until the dough is smooth, about 5-7 mins. It will be quite soft. If it seems very sticky add a little flour, up to a 1/4 cup
4. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover.
7. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf tin
8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll into a 12″ x 20″ rectangle.
9. Spread the melted butter over the top of the dough, using a pastry brush
10. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top, using your hand to press into the butter
14. Bake for 45-55 minutes in the centre of the oven, tenting it with foil after 30 minutes if the loaf is browning too quickly.
15. Remove from oven and transfer loaf to a rack to cool for 15-20 minutes before turning it out of pan to cool completely.
You can tell I’m feeling stretched when I start making simple rustic cakes like this spiced apple loaf. Although it doesn’t look much, the apple and yoghurt keep it nice and moist, it’s not too sweet and you can really taste the butter, the tang of the apples and the subtle spices. It’s great with a cuppa, doesn’t leave you feeling too guilty, and the prep time is only about half an hour.
Adapted from here.
- 100g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g buttermilk or yoghurt*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 medium eating apples
- 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
*I used Greek yoghurt. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and leaving to stand. The recipe notes say that ordinary milk (or low fat yoghurt, for that matter) works fine but I would worry the cake might be a bit dry. Although with all that apple it’s probably be fine.
1. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan). Grease a 1lb loaf tin, or similar
2. Melt the butter and leave to cool. Meanwhile, slice or chop your apples. Peeling is optional, I don’t bother.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined and light, 1-2mins
3. Add the butter, milk/yoghurt and vanilla and mix until incorporated
4. Stir in the dry ingredients. You will be left with a very thick batter
5. Add the apples and nuts if using. It will look like a lot of apple but it’s fine. If you want a simple decoration, reserve 10 or so apple slices.
6. Transfer the batter to your greased pan and level the top. Decorate if you want.