Last weeks high winds seem to have brought down most of the remaining apples from the tree in my garden, at least the ones that our resident squirrel hasn’t already nibbled. He’s very picky and won’t touch them once they’ve hit the ground! This is […]
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended.
I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as pudding a little odd. We also refer to things that quite clearly are not pudding as pudding (e.g. Yorkshire pudding, steak & kidney pudding, black pudding) but that’s a whole other post! In America ‘pudding’ is pretty much only used to refer to a thick custardy dessert with the exception of bread and butter pudding, although over there it’s just called bread pudding. They seem to love it though, maybe it works so well because their bread is so sweet.
Anyway, I was thinking of how to make bread and butter pudding into something really special. The answer is obviously to add chocolate and use the richest, fattiest ‘bread’ you can find – cue the croissants!
butter for greasing
6 croissants (ideally a little stale)
125g cherry jam
75g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
3 tsp brandy (optional but really good!)
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Slice the croissants in half horizontally and spread the cut sides with the jam. Arrange them in the baking dish, scattering the chopped chocolate amongst them.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a jug, ensuring that they are really well blended. Pour this custard mixture over the croissants and then set the whole lot to one side for 15 minutes so that the croissants can soak up the custard. Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the custard is softly set. Cover the top with some foil if it starts to get too brown. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving.
When I was little a battle would be waged every summer in our garden between my mum and the resident blackbirds over who was going to get to the blackcurrants first once they reached peak ripeness. On the occasions when my mum won the war […]
I’ve returned to the UK and I’m overjoyed at having a garden again, even if it is going to take a lot of work to sort out how over grown it has become. One of the best things about my garden is that it has an apple tree. When I left 3 ½ years ago it was a spindly little thing that produced about three apples a year. Now it has been somewhat left to its own devices it’s become a bit of an overachiever and is weighed down with fruit.
It has so many apples on it that it was listing very badly to one side. My mum (who I consider to be the next best thing to an expert on these things) had to come and strategically prune it to shed some of the weight and we’ve had to anchor it to another tree!
I couldn’t quite bring myself to toss the fruit which we sacrificed into the compost so I’ve turned it into this yummy apple butter. It’s great spread on toast and English muffins, or if you feel particularly decadent in the mornings even on warm Scotch pancakes.
makes about 2 jars
800g windfall apples
1 tsp ground spices (I like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger but use any combination you like)
Roughly chop and core the apples but don’t bother to peel them. Put them in a large pan and cover them with water. Bring this to boil and then reduce the heat a little and let it simmer until the fruit has become soft and pulpy.
Strain out the fruit and put it in a blender. Blend until it’s fairly smooth and then push the pulp through a sieve with a wooden spoon to leave you with about 500ml of very smooth puree. Return this to the pan and stir in the sugar and the spices. Bring this to boiling point too and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Carefully stir the apple butter occasionally and let it simmer until you have reached a soft setting stage. You can test this by dropping a spoonful of the butter onto a chilled saucer, letting it cool and then pushing your finger through it. If it gently wrinkles then it’s ready to be poured into sterilised jars and sealed.
Today’s Colonial Cravings contribution from the Facebook community comes courtesy of Katy. This is a lovely summery sounding pickle recipe that her granny used to make, which makes it particularly appealing to me because in my world food and memory go hand in hand. Mr […]
This was made purely as a way of using things up. Whilst rummaging in my overfilled fruit bowl I discovered some slightly geriatric peaches, not too far gone but the skins were certainly starting to get the sort of wrinkles I wouldn’t be happy with! We also still have several chilis growing on our deck, along with some basil and oregano, all seemingly in denial about the rapidly retreating warmth and sun.
That’s kind of the point of jam making though isn’t it? Preserving what you can’t consume now, it also means that in the gloom of winter you can open a jar of summer!
makes one large jar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 red chili
8ish basil leaves
2 sprigs of oregano
Put a small saucer in the freezer to test the jam later for setting point.
Roughly chop the fruit. You can peel it if you’re that way inclined but I can never muster the energy to do that. I quite like the skin in the jam, it reminds me of the chunky apricot jam that we always used to eat slathered on crusty baguettes in France.
Put this in a large pan and stir in the sugar and lime juice. Stab the chili with the point of a knife. I tend to go a little bit Norman Bates with mine because I like quite a lot of warmth from it but do it less if you want to keep it subtle.
Put this in the pan too and place it over a moderate heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle rolling boil and leave it to bubble for around 30 minutes.
Test the jam to see if it’s reached setting point by dropping a spoonful of it onto the saucer that you put in the freezer earlier. Leave it to cool for a moment then push your finger through it, if the surface wrinkles then it’s ready. Once it has reached this point turn off the heat, remove the chili and stir in the chopped fresh herbs.
Pour the jam into warm sterilized jars, label, seal and leave to cool.