So I had all these apples… I stewed up one of the two boxes into my first "canned" apple sauce. Made in Ball Mason jars bought online, process boiled in my big stock pot. They're on the shelf in the pantry and still look mould-free although my deep, deep fear of botulism will mean we crack them open sooner rather than later.
That other box just sat around and sat around on the floor of the pantry.
I'd look at them every day and feel guilty about them aging on my floor, all that work in a box. You know?
Then on Sunday, my sister Naomi, inherently a girl of action, peeled and cored the entire box for me (less five which wouldn't actually fit in the stock pot) using our addictive apple slinky machine (one of these.)
I really wanted to try making apple jelly. It's not big in Australia. I've read a bit about it, and I recently saw it for sale at the Berry Sourdough Cafe, but I've never tried it and alway wanted to.
It was a bit of an epic.
I followed this recipe. LOVE David Lebovitz.
Except after boiling it for over half an hour it was still not setting. At all. I was trying to figure out what to do with a few litres of apple syrup. I persisted, poured it all into sterilised jars and left it for a few hours, blindly hoping it'd set. It didn't.
So in the middle of making lunch for visitors, I poured it all back into the pot, washed and sterilized the jars again, and left it boiling until it had reduced by a third. THEN it set.
And OH MY GOODNESS the JAM! It's an apply autumny burst of flavour. Light. Sweet. Glorious.
I used brandy as the liquor, but added in the first round so I'm guessing it was completely cooked out.
Afterwards, Mum said she thought something like apple jam would need the pectin in the skins of the apple to set. She said she's never made jam but has been around a lot of jam makers. I re-read the recipe. Supposed to have used the skins! And seeds! Oh well. Next time I have a cheap box of apples at my disposal I'll try this again.
Meanwhile we have jars of the stuff! And homemade wholemeal, sunflower seed and chia bread.
Simple and YUM.
And a testament that even after all this time I am still incapable of following a recipe properly.
You? Are you a recipe follower or a recipe general-sense-gatherer? A forget-the-recipe-lets-wing-it cook? Or are you I-LAUGH-in-the-face-of-recipes-ah-ha-ha-haaaaa?
Fruit skin. Kinda essential. Bet the proper stuff tastes even better.
P.S. My latest favourite bread recipe is this River Cottage one, I make half volumes (500g flour at a time), two thirds bakers flour, one third wholemeal. I love it with a shake of sunflower seeds and black chia seeds.