(Soft) Apple Sauce

(Soft) Apple Sauce

I know that apples aren’t great at this time of year; they’ve been in cold store for ages, and probably flown up from South Africa (about 6,000 miles), Chile (7,000 miles) or New Zealand (11,000 miles).  The UK apple season starts in late August with first Discoveries, and everything is harvested by around mid-October.  After that, apples are cold-stored, kept in suspended animation so that we can have UK apples.  A year-long supply of *anything* – carrots, onions, pears even potatoes – is a very modern invention.  So, growers grow varities that have to travel well, from orchard to picking to sorting, packing, airplane, packing, warehouse, supermarket. Seeing as a lot of fruit is best eaten straight off the tree, then flavour and texture are often lower down the list of priorities for supermarkets and growers than an apple that can move 7,000 miles.

 

So, your fluffy apple that may or may not have had a more exciting travel life than you.

 

11,000 miles for your after-lunch apples. That is a bit shit and a bit wooly and a bit brown … and it’s just a couple of apples, right? Just a few to chuck in the bin?  What if you’ve taken just one bite and you shuddered –  you were expecting a crisp, sweet, crunchy apple. The thick skin of your apple gave way to wooly, loose apple.  You put the apple down but please, do not sling it in the bin, feeling happy that you got a slam dunk/hole in one/back of the net (I think this is the right way to use sporting analogies…).

 

The simplest thing to do with your crappy apples is to make them into apple sauce. You can freeze it for a day when you have roast pork, or eat it for pudding, on its own or with yoghurt. Mostly I like it on the top of porridge, where the texture contrasts nicely with the (sometimes a bit much) texture.

Apple sauce

Makes around 400ml

Ingredients

600g apples
100ml water

You can make this with a smaller amount of apples; it’ll just make less sauce!

Tools
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Peeler
Measuring jug
Saucepan
Potato masher

Optional tools
Immersion blender

Time
10 minutes prep
30 minutes cook

Level
Easy

Prep

Peel the apples, going from top to bottom rather than round – it’s quicker!
Cut off any brown bits
Cut the apples into quarters, so you can see the core
Cut out the cores
Chop the apple into pieces around a centimetre big

Method

Put all the apple chunks into you saucepan and add the water
Bring to the boil
Cover and turn the heat down so that the water is simmering
Occasionally stir the apples
When they are soft (a sharp knife goes into some of the larger pieces easily),
get busy with your potato masher and squash up the sauce
Optional: use an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce

Storage/further meals

You can leave it to cool and store in the fridge for between 3 and 5 days (depending on how cold your fridge is)
Store in a lidded container for the longest shelf life
Apple sauce freezes really well. Again, a lidded container or a freezer bag – just make sure to write what it is…

 

 

 

 

 

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Squashed strawberry & banana muffins

Squashed strawberry & banana muffins

Squashed strawberry muffins

Fancy a nice, soft, double-food waste busting muffin??  Squashed strawberries AND brown bananas?!  Now you’re talking. 
I used to make these muffins a lot; when my youngest was tiny, she adored them.  One birthday I made them for her breakfast.  As with all muffins, they’re best fresh. I set my alarm, nice and early, get them done in good time for the school run.  Maybe I’d even pre-measured the dry ingredients (it’s a top plan if you ever bake for brunch). Anyway, the chopping and mashing of berries and bananas does take a little while and… well they were baked in time.  Candle after candle drooped and sagged in her little birthday breakfast, dripping wax all over the little muffins.  Knowing me, I picked off the wax and ate them all the same.
This is a super-simple recipe and you’ll love these for brekkie, lunchboxes or tea-time.  As I mentioned, they are best fresh, so if you’re not eating them all at once, pop them in the freezer and take out as needed.
These muffins are high in fruit and have a good, slightly dense texture.  Don’t let the few steps put you off; the time is more in prep than mixing. And enjoy the virtue of a double waste-busting, squashed strawberry muffin.
Happy breakfast!

 

Squashed Strawberry & Banana Muffins

Barely adapted from ‘Leith’s Baking Bible’ (old edition, now out of print), p261
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients
  

Ingredients

  • 250 g strawberries
  • 1 large ripe/over-ripe banana apx. 115g peeled weight
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 85 g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 220 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Demerera or caster sugar for sprinkling
  • Pinch salt

Tools

  • Bowl/saucepan to melt butter
  • Scales
  • Colander/sieve
  • Kitchen paper/clean tea-towel
  • Small bowl
  • Two large mixing bowls
  • 12 dip muffin tin
  • Muffin cases
  • Potato masher
  • Balloon Whisk
  • Teaspoon
  • Cocktail stick/skewer
  • Wire cooling rack

Optional/Helpful

  • Measuring spoons

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Turn oven to 190C | Gas mark 5
  • Place the paper or silicone muffin papers in the tin, if using
  • Melt the butter either on the hob/in the oven as it warms/microwave
  • Whisk the eggs in a small bowl
  • Stir/sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together
  • Wash the strawberries and remove the hulls
  • Leave on the kitchen paper/clean tea towel to dry

Method

  • Cut the berries into 1/2 cm chunks. Place about 55g of the berries in a large bowl and add the banana
  • Using your potato masher, mash them up!
  • Add the melted butter, sugar and beaten eggs to the mashed fruit
  • Sift the flour mixture over the fruit mixture
  • Using your balloon whisk carefully fold in
  • USE NO MORE THAN 20 STROKES! Muffins can become tough when over-mixed
  • Stir the remaining berries in
  • Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases and sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon sugar (or less) over each muffin
  • Bake in the centre of the oven or 20 minutes
  • Check them: push a cocktail stick into the middle of a muffin that’s in the centre of the tin. They are cooked if the stick comes out clean
  • If it’s not clean, pop the muffins back in the oven, put a timer on for a couple of minutes, clean the cocktail stick and check again

Storage

  • Serve warm or at room temperature
  • If not eating all within a day, bag them up and freeze. They will freeze for a couple of months.

 

 

 

(Why do I always have leftover) double cream pancakes

(Why do I always have leftover) double cream pancakes

This post came because I bought a *huge* pot of double cream on yellow sticker clearance and forgot about it.  It wasn’t off at all, but I felt a little  old … yeah even I had second thoughts.  I tried making it into butter by pouring the double cream into a large jar (a clean, old mega-mayonnaise jar) and shaking and shaking but … five minutes later and my arms were tired and I was bored.

 

Making butter is great but who has the time to do that, in any normal week??  And it only works with double cream – you’ll never make butter with single cream.  Not enough fat.  Seriously.  So here are some helpful recipes to make sure that the cream you bought to go with your Sunday apple crumble doesn’t end up in the bin.

 

I put out a call on my Insta stories about what to do with half a kilo of whipped cream and got loads of ideas: making a pavlova, freezing it in little portions for a later date and more were all great.

 

But once I got thinking I got thinking and thinking and my mind starting whirring so here, my friends, are 3 things you can – no, *should* – do with your leftover double cream.

 

Note: my half-hearted butter attempts meant I had very whipped cream, not pouring double cream.

 

Keep your cream in the fridge until needed.  Give it a sniff. Even if it’s past it’s Best Before date, and you are in good health/not pregnant etc., you should be fine.

 

Pancake mix/batter needs milk.  American pancakes often use buttermilk.  A great approximation of this is half full fat yoghurt and half milk.  So, why not cream instead?  Just whisk the milk and cream together and you have just a creamier milk.  You can do this with any cream or yoghurt.  Won’t always be the same, but you are saving cash.  And avoiding food waste.

(Leftover cream) pancakes
Serves 4

Ingredients

around 150ml cream
around150ml milk
2 eggs
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
30g unsalted butter + more for frying

Prep

Turn oven to 100C
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl
Melt the 30g of butter in the microwave or on the hob and set aside

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Fork
Balloon whisk
Frying pan
Teaspoon
Oven-proof dish

Time

10m prep
20m cooking

Level

Medium

Method

Add cream to jug and top with milk until you have 300ml
Whisk together
Crack the eggs in and whisk until fully mixed
If you’re using a big jug, add the flour mixtrure straight in and beat until smooth
If you don’t have a massive measuring jug, pour the liquid into the bowl and beat until there are no lumps remaining
Stir the melted butter through
** Put frying pan on the hob and add a pinch of butter – sort of 2 peas worth
Put the heat to medium hot
When the butter sizzles, pick the pan up and swirl it around so the butter is all over the bottom
Pour the batter on – enough so the pancake is about 6-7cm across (I can only cook 3 a time in my large pan)
Turn the heat to medium
The pancakes are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface
Using your flipper, flip them!
Mine are rarely perfect circles, so don’t worry about that
Cook for about a minute. They’re done when they are golden on the bottom
Place in the oven-proof dish, pop in the oven and start from **, until you have used all of your mixture
Serve with jam, or spreads, or fried eggs and bacon

Leftovers?
Store in a lidded container in the fridge. Use as soon as possible for the best taste, but they keep okay for up to 3 days
Reheating: in the microwave for a few seconds, or in a dry frying pan

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Brown) Banana and nut butter smoothie

(Brown) Banana and nut butter smoothie

Anyone who’s looked at my feeds knows I love a good banana bread.  Specifically Nigella’s from ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ – dense, sweet, keeps well, uses two bowls.  Yes, another recipe where the pages are crusted and have strings of banana dried on.  Yummy.

 

But there’s got to be more ways with a browning nana than a banana bread, and given how my youngest will sometimes eat 3 in a day (I know) to zero in a week … well, I’ve got some practice.

 

Waaaaa….​​

 

Banana peanut butter smoothie

 

Quick.  Cheap.  Currently believed to be healthy.  Delicious.  Frugal.  So basically yeah, love em.

 

You don’t have to add the yoghurt and oats, but we sometimes have these as breakfast, so the oats help to keep you going.  Or leave them out, I’m not checking am I?

 

Blend the bananas first; I used to add extra sugar but if you blend the bananas alone, first, then it’s unecessary – and that’s some ££ saved, hoorah.

 

Sweet, cheap and filling banana smoothie​​

Banana and nut butter smoothie

Serves 2 kids or 1 adult

Ingredients

1 large banana (about 190g with peel on)
40g nut butter
40g yoghurt (cow or vegan)
20g small oats
150ml milk/milk alternative

Tools

Knife
Spoons
Stick blender/smoothie maker

Time

10 minutes max

Level

Easy

Prep

Remove bananas from freezer if necessary

Method

Blend banana on its own

Add nut butter and blend

Next oats (if using) and yoghurt.  Make sure it’s really smooth

Add milk until it’s the right texture for you (I like mine thin, but with the odd bonus lump of peanut butter…)

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

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