Sunday, 7 April 2013

Apple Season on the Apple Isle

Tasmania, otherwise known to most Aussies as "The Apple Isle". I suppose it's because the island looks a bit like an apple but I think it's mostly because we grow LOTS of apples!

Now I don't have an apple tree myself but I never go without. Recently Roge and I counted the amount of apple trees that have self seeded along the road side on the way from Launceston to the shack at Weymouth and there were over fifteen. We stopped counting at that point and started making notes on the best ones so we could come back later when the apples were ripe. Last week I got my first haul from one of these trees but there were still a little green so next time we go I expect they will be perfect.

Anyhow, my Dad who has a very decent sized hobby farm in Deloraine, Tasmania always a plethora of apples on his trees. I don't know what they're called exactly but my favourite variety are about as big as Ewan's head, you only need about four to make a kilo of stewed apples and they are the BEST cooking apples.

This year I sent my usual SMS "Hi Dad, I hope you guys are well. Are the big apples ready and if they are, can you put a bag full aside for me? Thanks, Love you". I not long after got my usual short and to the point reply "You can have a bloody wheel-barrow load if you want". That's love!

So true to his word, I came home the other day to several boxes loaded full to the brim of "the big apples". Mostly I want them to stew and freeze that way later in the year when I don't have any fresh apples, I will still have lovely home grown apples to make into my pies. Plus Ewan loves them and I even made some simple baby puree and froze it in anticipation of the new baby arriving. Whilst he (yes it's a boy) won't eat it for several months, he will still be starting solids before next apple season so I figured it was worth doing.

Best of all, I've been making pies (to freeze) and APPLE CRUMBLE. Such a simple and old fashioned thing to eat but it is one of my favourite deserts (so long as it comes with a load of cream). I've read and tested many a recipe for apple crumble but I always seem to enjoy the simplest recipe which is one I made in grade 8 cooking class.

Apple Crumble:

1kg cooking apples
1 Cup Plain Flour
1/3 Cup Brown sugar (plus a little bit extra just for the yum factor!)
1/3 Cup Oats (I use quick oats, they're milled a bit smaller)
100g Room temperature butter
Cinnamon can be added to dry mix or stewed fruit (about 1/2-1 tsp)
Cream and/or ice cream

1 - Stew about a kilo of cooking apples. To do this, peel and core the apples, put them in a pot with a cup or so of water, a few table spoons of sugar and boil them for about 20 minutes until the apples have lots their shape and gone all light and fluffy.

2 - In a bowl, put all the dry ingredients and the butter. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry mix until it's a similar consistency to breadcrumbs.

2 - In a baking dish, spoon your stewed apples and then over top, tip your dry crumble mix.

3 - Place in a 180 degree oven for approx 20 minutes (or until the crumble has browned a bit and gone a bit crunchy)

4 - Serve with cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Such a comfort meal but I do love it. True to my usual cooking technique, it's simple, quick to make and it uses ingredients I'd have in the cupboard without having to make a special trip to the supermarket. Oh and it's cheap (always a good thing in my book!)

If you're a bit like me and looking for things to make with your apples, here's a really nice recipe that I made earlier in the year for apple jam.

Also, I want to apologise for all the cooking/food blogs of late but seriously that is all I seem to be doing in my spare time (a consequence of this time of year I'm afraid). My sister's house reno is going really well and it's really close to being able to show you. For the last few weeks it's been looking worse than when we started but it's come along now to the point where she can clean and move in....keep you posted.

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