Blackberry and Apple Pie

So, today we’ve reached R in The A-Z of Cooking (1977) and…what?  Yeah, I know the heading for the post is Blackberry and Apple Pie. But we’re at R already; you should know by now that The A-Z is never going to give you Roasts or Rice or Root Vegetables. Anyone want to guess the “R” in blackberries or apples or pie?  No?  Good thing because you may as well be shouting “Rumpelstiltskin”.   The R in question is “Reheatable”. What makes this even weirder than the normal bonkers of The A-Z is that you’ll quite likely never need to reheat this Blackberry and Apple Pie because it is so good that you’ll eat it in one go!

Blackberry and Apple PieIf you follow me on Instagram, this picture may be somewhat familiar as I posted it the day I made it which was waaaaayyy back in February. As they say, good things some to those who wait!  The February baking also explains the heart-shaped decorations because nothing says “I love you” like pie right?

Pie Pastry 5The pastry for the Blackberry and Apple Pie came together really well which was awesome because pastry and bread, even after just doing two months of bread with Tasty Reads, are still things that frighten me!  I used frozen blackberries so my mixture was quite wet so when before I placed the filling into the pastry I sprinkled some almond meal into the mix.  This helps to soak up any juices that would have resulted in that anathema to the British Bake Off – the soggy bottom.  Having recently spilled my water bottle all over my lap en route to the gym and having to do an entire class feeling like I had wet my pants, I am also totally against the soggy bottom!

Blackberry and Apple Pie2

Blackberry and Apple Pie3Okay, I know I need to work on my edges but come on, you gotta give me points for the hearts right?  

Blackberry and Apple Pie4Long story short.  This was one of the best recipes so far from The A-Z of Cooking.  Shame it was hidden away in “R for Reheatable”.  If I was going to randomly allocate it a category, it would certainly fall under “T for Totally Awesome”.  Here’s the recipe, including my l’il almond meal trick.

Blackberry and Apple Pie
A delicious and easy to make Blackberry and Apple Pie
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For The Pastry
  1. 200g flour
  2. 100g butter
  3. 1 tbsp castor sugar
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. Water
For The Filling
  1. 500g cooking apples
  2. 1 punnet fresh or 250g frozen blackberries
  3. 1-2 tbsp almond meal
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. Sugar
To Serve
  1. Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
For The Pastry
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and rub until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar, the egg yolk and enough water to make a firm dough.
  4. Roll out half the dough into a circle and line a 22cm pie dish.
For The Filling
  1. Peel, core and slice the apples.
  2. Mix them with the blackberries, the lemon juice, the almond meal, and sugar to taste.
  3. Spoon the filling into the lined pie dish.
  4. Heat your oven to 425F or 220C.
  5. Roll out the rest of the dough and use it to top the pie. Seal the edges, trim neatly and decorate as you wish. Make sure you include a hole in the centre, either as part of the decoration as I did or, just with a skewer. This will allow the steam to escape.
  6. Sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Place in oven and bake until the pastry is golden-brown, about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired!
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking 1977
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking 1977
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Back to work tomorrow after an Easter break filled with doing a whole heap of nothing!  I feel like I’m getting back into the swim of blogging regularly.  Let’s hope my holiday filled May doesn’t derail my best intentions!

Have a wonderful week!  And enjoy the pie!

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Neapolitan Easter Bread

Looking for something different to make this Easter?  This Neapolitan Easter Bread  aka Casatiello Napoletano could be just the thing!  Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread?  And when that bread is stuffed with salami, bacon, cheese eggs and olives it becomes even more irresistible!  

Neapolitan Easter Bread1

Meantime though, who can believe it’s already Easter?  Where has this year gone?  March is always super busy for me at work and this year has been no exception.  I’ve been working into the early hours of the morning some days!  So, despite my best intentions of blogging MORE this year, it has actually turned into less. It’s also been hard to settle into a routine; with my step father’s passing earlier in the year I am living part of the week at my mum’s house and part of the week at home so my usual routines have had to change.  It has been a hard time in many respects but also has been great spending more time with mum from catching a movie to a manicure to painting classes and most importantly cooking and eating together. 

Neapolitan Easter Bread4

However, March madness is over at work, it all should be smooth sailing from here, right?   Maybe not…I have a crazy May coming up but that is filled with travels and fun rather than work.  Can’t wait.    However, let’s get back to the bread!  I used the Food 52 recipe for Neapolitan Easter Bread except I swapped out the ham for salami. Another difference between this recipe and more traditional versions is that chopped hard boiled eggs are included in the filling whereas traditional versions have them whole on the top of the loaf:

Traditional Neapolitan Easter Bread

I thought having the  eggs on top like that would make it quite difficult to eat!  And believe me, you will want to eat this, it is soooo good!

Neapolitan Easter BreadAnd the good news is that, if you don’t eat it all at once, it keeps really well. I’ve had it in my fridge for nearly a week now and it is still great when you place it under the grill to toast. 

The bread dough was easy to make and  turned out perfectly. 

 

Neapolitan Easter Bread2Then it was simply to put on the filing, roll it up and pop it in the oven. 

The Neapolitan Easter Bread is lovely warm just as it comes!  Food 52 suggest pesto or chimichurri as n accompaniment.  Warm with butter is superb!  Warm with a little bit of guac is also pretty damn special.!!!!

We ALL wanted a slice of it!

Neapolitan Easter Bread3Speaking of Easter, how cute is this little vintage bunny vase of my mum’s?

Bunny VaseHave a wonderful Easter everyone.  I hope the bunny brings you all the chocolate (Or Neapolitan Easter Bread) you wish for! 

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Strawberry Whip

Today we’re whipping it, whipping it..kind of mediocre  as we stroll down Avenue Q of The A-Z of Cooking (1977).  Quick Desserts is the chapter and Strawberry Whip is the verse.

Strawberry Whip1

I’ll give The A-Z this.  The Strawberry Whip is quick to make.  However, I’m going to come right out and say it.  This was not for me.  But surprisingly not for the reason I thought it would.  The strawberry whip is a cross between a milkshake and an ice cream, kind of like a thickshake. 

I am not a milk drinker. 

Even as a child, a glass of milk would make me  gag.  So, I fiddled with the recipe provided by The A-Z because there was no way I could have faced it.  I halved the milk and doubled the ice cream.  I left out the ice cubes.

Strawberry Whip4

And I still had to give it up after about three mouthfuls.  Not for the reason I thought I might which was the milky strawberry mix.  No, it was because my first mouthful was of straight whipped cream and that was me gone.  I KNOW!  What kind of freak doesn’t like whipped cream?  This kind of freak apparently.. . And I semi-defy anyone to eat a whole mouthful of whipped cream and enjoy it.  Oh?  You did?  And you liked it?  You’ll LOVE the strawberry whip then!

Strawberry Whip1

However, whilst we’re bitching about it?  Don’t even bother with the brandy.  I felt it was a bit redundant to add vanilla to vanilla ice cream so
I used the brandy.  I couldn’t taste it at all.  My recommendation would be to save your booze (and your vanilla) for when it counts. 

Strawberry Whip3

Strawberry Whip3That’s all folks, we’re done with Q.  But before we hit R, the bunny cometh, and to celebrate I made bread.  It was good.  Really good.

Next time…

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Balinese Chicken Satay Skewers

Okay, so I was planing on giving you the next instalment of The A-Z of Cooking this week.  But, my plans went awry in much the same way as my life seems to be going awry. So Balinese Chicken Satay Skewers it is!  Not that I’m complaining (and nor should you be) because I know what is coming  up next from the A-Z and believe me, even though I haven’t made it yet?   I strongly feel that we are onto a winner, winner chicken dinner with the Balinese Chicken Skewers.  

Chicken Satay2I love chicken satay skewers and have been making these regularly since my return.  The recipe provided below is based on the one we learned at Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class in Ubud.  Sadly it is not as good.  Possibly because it is not cooked in an open air kitchen overlooking rice paddies and cooked over coconut shells:

Chicken Satay7Nor were the spices hand ground in the traditional way:

Chicken Satay9Also, the Balinese have about forty types of ginger and here, we have one. However, whilst these won’t absolutely transport you to Bali, they are utterly delicious! How could it not be?  I am a big fan of pretty much any meat on a stick.  Here, the marinated chicken remains tender and juicy after grilling

Balinese Chicken Satay SkewersAnd the spicy peanut sauce is a perfect accompaniment.  I bought a tiny terracotta Balinese grill, however, I cooked these in the oven.  I really like my terracotta friend though!

chicken Satay6Here he is again!

Chicken Satay3

Ketut suggested that you serve your chicken satay skewers with white or yellow rice.  In the first photo above, I served mine the way my Malaysian friend Aiden serves his – with a very simple salad of cucumber and red onion.  Simply stab the tip of the skewer into the cubes of cucumber and onion and then into the sauce.   So good!

My favourite way of eating these is in a wrap (more traditionally a roti) with some tomato, cucumber, onion and coriander salad and sprinkled with extra peanuts!

Chicken Satay4Just looking at these photos is making me want to make them again, right now!  So, here’s the recipe!

Balinese Chicken Satay Skewers
Perfectly grilled chicken and a spicy peanut sauce is a match made in heaven!
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For The Skewers
  1. 500g chicken breast
For The Marinade
  1. 3 tbsp chopped shallots
  2. 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  3. 1 tbsp lime juice
  4. 4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  5. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  6. 5 tbsp coconut oil
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
For The Peanut Sauce
  1. 300g peanuts
  2. 3 cloves of garlic
  3. 4 shallot cloves
  4. 2 tbsp palm sugar
  5. 1 tbsp red chilli (more / less to taste)
  6. 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  7. 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  8. 1 cup chicken stock
  9. 2 tbsp coconut milk
  10. 1 tbsp ginger
For The Chicken
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together.
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak these in water to prevent them burning.
  3. Cut the chicken into cubes and marinate 15 minutes.
  4. Thread onto skewers.
  5. Grill until browned and cooked through, basting with the leftover marinade.
For The Peanut Sauce
  1. Fry the peanuts until golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Drain off most but not all of the oil.
  2. Grind the chillies, garlic, shallots, palm sugar and ginger in a food processor or mortar and pestle until they form a paste. Add the peanuts and grind to a paste again.
  3. Place the peanut paste into a pan. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk.
  4. Add the sweet soy to taste.
  5. Bring to the boil.
  6. Simmer until thick and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the lime juice to taste.
Adapted from Ketut's Balinese Cooking School - Ubud, Bali
Adapted from Ketut's Balinese Cooking School - Ubud, Bali
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

Chicken Satay5

Have a wonderful week!  I’ll be back, next week possibly with something quixotic and quaint  that hopefully will not leave me feeling too queasy!

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Rumanian Herb Omelette

Oops…I P’ed too early last week.  Which, although unfortunate is a lot better than peeing too early!  So, tonight we’re taking a step back in the alphabet along with our step back in time and heading back to the letter O in The A-Z of Cooking.  The chapter I skipped is called “On Your Own” and is, of course, meals for one.  I eat a lot of meals on  my own so I was looking forward to trying some of the recipes starting with a Rumanian Herb Omelette.

Rumanian Herb OmeletteIt may surprise you to know that my knowledge of Rumanian (Romanian?) food is…well…sketchy…would be an overstatement!  Non-existent except for a herb omelette would be another.  But how authentic is the herb omelette?  I turned to the keeper of all knowledge aka Google.

This article on Romanian Food doesn’t mention an omelette. It does have a beef salad cake though!

No omelette on the Wiki either.

This wiki does.  But there doesn’t seem to be anything specifically Romanian about it.  In fact, it seems like a fairly bog standard omelette recipe. 

So, now feeling somewhat older but none the wiser, here is the recipe from The A-Z of Cooking.

Rumanian Herb Omelette Recipe2

 

The addition of sour cream seems suitably Eastern European and added a nice flavour to the eggs and herbs.  The flour?  Hmm…I’m not entirely sure about it.  The texture of the omelette became slightly more pancakey than a normal omelette which was not unpleasant, but not altogether necessary.  Maybe, in this age of cro-nuts and cruffins I should be embracing the concept of a new hybrid food a little more enthusiastically but I’m not sure the world needs an omecake or a panlette!

Rumanian Herb Omelette2Having said that, this was a tasty, quick and easy meal for one and perfect with a side salad.  Mine was a very simple chopped avocado, shaved fennel and balsamic vinegar. 

I also used tarragon, parsley and chives as my herbs because (smirk smirk) I have them all growing in my garden.  You can pretty much use what you have or what you like but this was a deee-licious mix!

Okay, back on track now and next time we’re looking at Q.  Will it be 100 things to do with a quince?  Quirky food?  Quiet food?  Find out next time!

Have a great week!

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