Unless they are fed a diet of junk food and refined carbs, I believe children instinctively do not over eat. So when Harvey decides he has eaten enough breakfast, I never insist he finishes the bowl. But I hate throwing food away. So I decided to add some pumpkin to his left over Oat Crunchie cereal and make a smoothie.
I made a smoothie with the left over cereal, 1/3 of a can of pumpkin puree, almond milk and a tbsp of clementine cashew nut butter. Oh my! It was great. It was thick and smooth and the cereal gave it some lovely chewy texture as I only blended it slightly. Delicious.
Before going to play tennis, I finished something I had started yesterday. I made apple butter for the first time ever. My apple tree has produced a bumper crop this year. I have eaten plenty already and more are in the freezer, ready for pies or crumbles. There are still so many apples left on the tree.
One of my dogs loves apples and he has eaten lots too.
There are so many apples this year so I looked around my favourite food blogs and came across apple butter. This seems to have the texture and consistency of butter and is the colour of marmite. It is made by slow cooking apples with sugar and spices for many many hours so it reduces. I adapted this recipe from various that I looked up.
- 5 1/2 pounds of apples
- 3 cups of sugar (I used 2 cups of golden granulated and 1 cup of soft brown)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of cloves which I ground finely in a pestle and mortar
- 1/4 tsp salt
So I picked 5 and a half pounds of apples.
Mixed the sugar with the cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large bowl. I peeled and chopped up each apple, and as I put it in the cooking dish I covered it with a tsp of the sugar and spice mix so the apples didn’t go brown. I used a large Le Creuset (ironware) casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.
The apples nearly filled the dish.
I put the covered dish in the oven at 200 ° C for one hour and then reduced the heat to about 90 ° C for 9 hours. Yes, you read it right, NINE hours. I took it out and stirred it every 3 hours or so. If you have a slow cooker, you can use that.
The apples brown as their sugars caramelise and they reduce in size. The smell in the kitchen was quite heavenly.
After 9 hours cooking, there was too much liquid left so I turned the heat up to 200 ° C again and cooked it without the lid for about another hour and a half, checking regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn.
You eventually end up with this, and as you can see, the apples have reduced massively!
It was dark brown, very thick and tasted lovely. Hard to believe this used to be apples and sugar.
I sterilised 4 jam jars by placing them in the oven on 180 ° C for half an hour. I put 2 layers of newspaper on the oven shelf and stood the jars on that. I put the jars in to a cold oven and then turned it on, so they adjusted to the heat and did not crack.
The apple butter was boiling hot and it sizzled and bubbled when I added it to the jars which was slightly disconcerting but the glass held firm and once it had cooled slightly, I put the lids on.
Le voila, 3 and a half jars of apple butter. Ready to be stirred in to smoothies, porridge or natural yogurt or spread on bread, as it is or with cheese. I think a slice of bread, spread with apple butter and a strong Cheddar would be delicious.
Yesterday the apples were on the tree, today they are reduced and caramelised and in a jar!
For lunch I wanted to use up some of the broth left over from Sundays gammon. The gammon was cooked in cider with clove studded onions, leeks, carrots and potatoes. I removed the onions and blitzed the rest in the blender so it was smooth. I added some water and red lentils.
Red lentils take about half an hour to cook and lunch was ready. It was a very thick soup and quite sweet due to the cider. Very enjoyable.
In the afternoon I was peckish so I had some Greek yogurt with some almonds and apple butter. It was lovely. I am storing it in the fridge as I have never tried to sterilise a jar before and I don’t want it to go off. It has set, like a jam. The flavour is fabulous; apples and caramel. Looking forward to the next spoonful.
Supper was brown rice with vegetables ( red and green pepper, pak choi and mange tout) stir fried in oyster sauce, prawns and a side salad of cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
Simple, delicious and nutritious and enjoyed by all, as evidenced by 3 cleared plates 🙂