Saturday, May 5, 2012

A New(ish) Season

Autumn is a lovely time of year here in Queensland.  Along with spring, it is my favourite season.  Autumn is when the weather is just starting to cool down as it comes into winter, and my tummy always craves things that are warm and satisfying.  Come to think of it, when does it not crave anything!

I bought some beautiful new season apples at the supermarket yesterday.  I love how they look in the bowl just as they are as a still life. 

Of course now my mind starts to race at what I could do with them.  I love the smell of apples stewing.  All that lovely aroma, laced with clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.  It is comforting and enveloping like a warm hug.  Especially on a cold rainy day. 

Stewed fruits are delicious hot or cold.  With ice cream, cream, custard or alone.  Apple is particularly nice mixed into yoghurt or muesli or on my new found favourite - Latkes (with a hearty dollop of sour cream).

Apple and Rhubarb would have to be one of my all time favourite stewed fruit combos.To stew the fruit it's basically thus: 

Cut a few ribs of rhubarb and 2 or three peeled and cored apples into chunks.  Place into a saucepan with a few tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (You can also add cinnamon/cloves etc here to taste).  Bring to a gentle simmer.  The fruit will yield some moisture, so you will not need to add water, but if you wish you can add a little splash of water to help the cooking process along.  If you are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, add a little apple juice in lieu of some of the sugar.  Cook for about 10 mins.  Once the fruit is fork tender, remove from the heat and clamp on a lid.  Use as desired. 

On a side note, if you are using young rhubarb it should be nice and tender.  If it is older it may be a little stringy so just run a potato peeler along the stalks to remove some of the strings.

My Dad makes a really great apple pie.  I always love his baking.  I have tried to get some recipes from him, but his recipes are more like 'a bit of this, bit of that, bung it in the oven' kind of thing.  Somehow what he does seems to work - I guess I get my baking courageousness from him.  Even if he isn't as experimental as I am with flavours and textures it is nice to know that he has had some influence!

Maybe when I'm done admiring my beautiful bowl of apples I will just eat them as is, cut them into wedges and spread them with Nutella (yum!) or bake them into a pie.  If I go out and talk nicely to my rhubarb plant there may even be a whiff of that too.

Until next time...

Kitty xx

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