It is Autumn in Sydney still, with a lovely sunny day today but a crisp and cool evening as the sun sets. Apples are in abundance and my inspiration for this post.
One of my favourite cosy, comforting desserts as the temperature drops is apple crumble. I used beautiful green granny smith apples, which are perfect for cooking because they retain some of their texture when cooked. I cook my crumble topping separately because I like the contrast in textures between the soft apples and crunchy crumble topping and want to exaggerate that contrast.
If you happen to have any left-over crumble topping, store in an airtight container and use again next time (or sprinkle on whatever takes your fancy).
Cloves and apples are a classic combination, but because I didn’t want to have to go fishing whole cloves out at the end of the cooking process, and I didn’t have any ground cloves on hand, I used mixed spice instead.
What I was cooking this time last year: Spinach Dal
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 50g butter
- 125g walnuts
- 4 large granny smith apples
- 50g butter
- 50g brown sugar
- To make the crumble topping, add the oats, flour, brown sugar, butter and mixed spice to your food processor bowl.
- Process until everything is combined.
- Transfer crumble mix to an oven proof dish and add the walnuts. Stir to combine.
- To prepare your baked apples, add the butter, brown sugar and mixed spice to a saucepan.
- Heat oven to 180°C.
- Heat the butter and sugar mixture, stirring, until the butter is melted.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and prepare your apples.
- Peel and core the apples, and slice.
- Add sliced apples to the saucepan and stir to coat in the butter and sugar mixture.
- Spoon the coated apples into 6 individual oven-proof serving dishes or 1 large oven-proof serving dish.
- Add the crumble mixture to a medium shelf in your pre-heated oven, and your apples to a bottom shelf.
- Cook the apples and crumble for 30 minutes, stirring the crumble mixture occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly.
- Remove your apples and crumble mix from the oven.
- Spoon crumble mix on top of your baked apples. Serve with cream, ice-cream, custard or natural yoghurt. Enjoy.
What is your favourite warming dessert? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Easter is next weekend and I am super eggcited because it is one of the few times in the year when I can eat chocolate for breakfast without too many raised eyebrows. For most of us, the 4 day Easter break means we go away somewhere, or spend some quality time with family and / or friends. I will be going on a road trip with friends to the Blue Mountains, and will also get to spend some quality time with family (thanks mum and dad for letting us all invade your home).
With a steady stream of visitors calling in during the Easter break, and everyone prone to over-indulging in chocolate, I wanted to share with you my recipe for Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake. My recipe is adapted from a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe by Annabelle White, who I believe is the New Zealand equivalent of Australia’s Margaret Fulton – someone who a lot of Kiwi’s grew up learning to cook with. I like that Annabelle included her recipe in the breakfast section of her book, but you can eat this cake any time and it goes really well with a cup of tea or coffee.
I have a plentiful supply of vanilla beans at the moment, so borrowed Jamie Oliver’s trick and blended a whole vanilla bean in with the sugar. If you don’t have a vanilla bean you could use a teaspoon of vanilla paste or vanilla extract and add that in when you add the eggs. I use raw sugar rather than white sugar in my baking because it is less processed. Apples are in season at the moment in Sydney and delicious. I like the presentation of a bundt tin, but you could of course use a round or loaf tin. Next time I make this recipe I will need to use a larger cake tin, as some of the mixture spilled out during the cooking.
Apple Sour Cream Tea Cake
* This recipe was adapted from a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe in “Annabelle White’s Best Recipes” by Annabelle White. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 125g butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 300mls sour cream
- 2 cups of self-raising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 granny smith apple
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Cooking oil spray to grease your baking tin
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, spray your tin with a generous coating of cooking oil spray.
- In a food processor, blitz the vanilla bean and sugar until the vanilla bean is finely chopped.
- Add the butter to the food processor with the sugar and vanilla and blitz until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the food processor, and blitz to combine.
- Add the sour cream to the food processor, and blitz to combine.
- Peel, core and chop the apple into small dice.
- Add the diced apple to a bowl and mix with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Add the flour and salt to the food processor and blitz until everything is combined and smooth.
- Add alternate layers of apple and cake mixture to your cake tin.
- Bake the for approximately 45 minutes. When the cake bounces back when touched and is cooked, remove from the oven.
- Leave the cake to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the tin.
- Turn the cake out of the tin onto a serving stand or plate.
- Your cake is ready to serve, enjoy it while it is still warm or once it has cooled.
What is your favourite Easter tradition? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
There is currently an ice-rink set up right on the sand at Bondi Beach, as part of the Bondi Winter Magic Festival. It is a very bizarre sight to see waves crashing behind the ice-rink. I really like the market stalls that accompany the rink, they remind me of European style Christmas markets, selling mulled wine and other treats to warm up the crowds. The thought of mulled wine inspired me to share this recipe with you for Winter Punch.
In the recipe I suggest you use calvados, which is an apple brandy. If you don’t have any calvados available you could use brandy or cognac or even try experimenting with the addition of some frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur. You could of course also make a non-alcoholic version and skip the alcohol altogether.
A fabulous ingredient in this recipe that deserves special mention is quince paste, sometimes referred to as quince cheese. Quince paste is also sold in tins labeled as dulce de membrillo. I find a tin of dulce de membrillo better value than the tiny tubs quince paste. You might be able to track down a tin (there are a few different brands) in your gourmet greengrocer or deli, quite often in the jam section. Once you open the tin, transfer the dulce de membrillo or quince paste to a plastic container and store in the fridge, it keeps well as it is a type of jam. I recommend using a wedge of quince paste on your cheese board – it works especially well served with a triple cream brie.
* This recipe was inspired by a Hot Apple Punch recipe by Louise Mackaness that appeared in a Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine. I have modified and adapted it over the years to come up with the below reincarnation.
- 2 large oranges, zested and juiced
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 litre cloudy apple juice
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
- 100g quince paste
- 4 nips (30ml) of calvados, or other liquor, if using
- Add the orange juice, zest, cloves, apple juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, vanilla and quince paste to a saucepan. Heat over gentle heat, stirring until the quince paste dissolves.
- Once the paste is dissolved and the punch is warmed through, strain to remove the cloves, zest and cinnamon [keep the cinnamon sticks] and transfer the punch to 4 mugs.
- Add a nip of calvados or other liquor to each mug, if using.
- Add a cinnamon stick to each mug as a stirrer. Your punch is ready to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite warm winter drink? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
I love a lazy weekend breakfast, when the alarm hasn’t chased me out of bed – eggs or pancakes, coffee – either at home or out and about at one of the many fabulous cafes in my area.
During the week I find breakfast much more of a struggle – preferring an extra 10 minutes in bed than eating breakfast before I head out the door to work. In an effort to improve my healthy eating habits [and resist the temptation of the vending machine mid-morning], I have started making Bircher Muesli on a Sunday evening for the week ahead, and taking this in individual serving size containers to eat at my desk as I sift through my emails when I first arrive at work.
LSA mix is a ground linseed, sunflower kernel and almond mix. For further details about the benefits of LSA mix, visit this blog post by Goodness.
If you have been busy making Anzac biscuits lately, you probably have some left over oats available for this recipe.
Don’t feel you have to be on-the-go to try this out, this recipe works just as well if you are able to take your time in the morning to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
- 1 cup instant oats
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 100 g dried apricots
- 1 apple
- 200 mls apple juice
- 250g plain natural yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons LSA mix
- 115g packet slivered almonds
- Heat oven to 180°C, place slivered almonds on a baking tray and cook in the oven until lightly golden [approx. 10 minutes], you may need to stir the almonds around occasionally to ensure they cook evenly and those on the outside don’t burn before the center almonds get some colour. Once a light golden colour, remove from the oven and leave almonds to cool then store in an air tight container.
- Grate the apple [avoid the core and leave the skin on] and chop the apricots into small pieces.
- Add the grated apple, chopped apricots, mixed spice, apple juice, oats, yoghurt and LSA mix to a bowl or container and mix thoroughly to combine.
- Refrigerate overnight for the liquid to be absorbed and the flavours to infuse.
- When ready to eat, transfer serving to bowl and sprinkle with toasted almonds.
What helps get you going in the morning? Has this post inspired any new ideas?