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Happy first day of Autumn!
This week I’ve had a real sense of the seasons changing into autumn and the need to hunker down is coming close. Darker mornings are helping with ThriftyBaby’s sleeping patterns, as are the cooler nights but I’ve noticed I’m having to put the light on in the bathroom to get ready in a morning and the lights in the lounge are going on earlier at night. Where I can I prefer to light a lovely scented candle instead (obviously high out of reach from our little mountain goat of a child).
A particular favourite is this one:
Part of getting ready for winter in our house is the closing down of our garden. I’ll still make use of my garden office so these days it’s not an actual closure but I still feel the need to get the beds cleared and grass cut once last time. A tidying of general garden debris, stacking of fire wood and covering of garden furniture is included. My favourite job though is apple picking. I attempted to grow a pear tree this year which didn’t go too well when it scorched one hot summer’s day but the apple tree has been here since before we moved in so is well established and fortunately doesn’t require a lot of upkeep apart from an annual prune.
This year’s harvest wasn’t very plentiful but what I did manage to pick (before the hungry birds or gusty winds got to them) looked delicious, especially after a good scrub and peel.
The ThriftyNeighbours also had a little harvest of their own and we benefitted from a surprise delivery over the fence of lots of lovely salad items. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.
I’ve always loved the time of harvest festival. I think I would be even more into it if we celebrated this thanks for farmed foods like American’s during ThanksGiving. Sadly I think the convenience of supermarkets and the concept of next day delivery have left a lot of people forgetting to show gratitude for where food actually comes from.
I gave the family a choice of how they wanted the apples to be cooked and the choice was for a crumble so here’s my simple to follow ThriftyCrumble Recipe:
Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 45mins
For the crumble
- 300g/10½oz plain flour, sieved pinch of salt (sacrifice some of this weight for a handful of oats for added texture)
- 175g/6oz unrefined brown sugar
- 200g/7oz unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
- Knob of butter for greasing
For the filling
- 450g/1lb apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm/½in pieces (throw in any other spare fruit you want to use up – I like to add some frozen rhubarb or berries for extra tartness)
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1litre of fresh orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Place the fruit in a large pan with the pinch of cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Butter a 24cm/9in ovenproof dish. Drain fruit and spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
- Bake in the oven for around 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.
- Serve with thick cream or custard.
Any left-over harvested apples can be washed, peeled, cubed and frozen or turned into apple sauce and jarred for a later date but the apple season is far from over yet and there are lots of apple festivals to get involved in next month.
Wherever you are in the UK you can find local events to attend and enjoy by having a quick google of Apple Days or Apple Festivals.
This one looks particularly lovely to me:
Side Oven Apple Festival, Driffield on 16th October
This is a FREE event where you can try your hand at pressing your own apple juice, attend a guided walk and nature trail and sample their home baking. Plus they allow well behaved dogs on leads.
Or if you’re looking for something even closer to home, you can search for accessible trees for foraging from on the interactive site Falling Fruit.
I’d love to see pictures of your harvests or foraged autumnal hauls over on my Facebook page so remember to share your photos there.