Have you ever experienced Nature at such close range that it almost becomes overwhelming..in a comforting sort of way? Walked on a carpet painted red by none but Nature itself? Tasted a juicy, sun-ripened fruit picked straight off the tree?
I have not…..
A drive to the beautiful countryside with breathtaking views. Signs of an approaching autumn. A lovely weekend afternoon spent in the company of good friends, lots of sunshine and …apple trees. The kids danced with joy, running through the orchard. They set themselves to work, plucking apples and racing back to show their precious little pick. We loved their enthusiasm.
I am over the moon as I share some sweet news with you. We are now the owner of an apple tree. Sounds weird..? Its true! We adopted our little tree.. a small step to support the Australian farmers, our way of acknowledging our gratitude for food and where it comes from.. Most importantly we did it for the boys…to teach them to appreciate God’s beautiful creation, to learn to care for the environment. Apple lovers, you are now assured of a number of of apple recipes coming your way in forthcoming posts.
I knew what I was going to bake that evening.
A apple and blackberry cake has been on my mind for a while. I couldn’t have got a better opportunity than this.
We had a Parsnip and Apple soup and Fish Tacos with Apple and Avocado salsa for dinner. Light and easy.
The soup is our current favourite. The earthy flavor of parsnip along with the tart- sweet apple makes a lovely pairing. Plus onion, garlic..cannot go wrong. Some fresh chives and cinnamon croutons. A hearty comforting dish to sit together and enjoy.
I did think of a carrot, ginger, apple soup. But I would be accused of posting ginger recipes every time. I hope to post that soon for another wonderful variation.
The fish tacos were easy to put together. A few spices, red chillis and lime. I love Mexican food but am not a fan of Guacamole. In fact I don’t like anything that is mashed up. I enjoy having food with different textures hence a avocado-apple salsa sounded great. And tasted great too. Spicy fish..a sweet-sour salsa..a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.
The kids kept talking about the apple trees till they fell asleep while I went through the pictures over and over again. I wanted to pick up the phone and call family and friends to share our beautiful experience. But then i realised, they could live the entire experience on the blog. Yes, I am a blogger now..and a proud one.
Sometimes, simple things in life bring you the biggest pleasures.
Apple tree, I can’t wait to go back to you!
Apple-Blackberry Cake (adapted with a slight variation from Martha Stewart)
Yields a 8 inch round cake
Granulated sugar, for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 apples (I used Red delicious), peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1 cup blackberries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Butter a 8-inch springform pan, and dust with granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, the milk, and eggs in another bowl. Whisk into flour mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Arrange apple wedges over batter, and sprinkle with blackberries. Gently press fruit into batter. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle over fruit. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until top is dark gold, apples are tender, and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool. Serve with whipped cream if desired
Parsnip and Apple Soup
3 medium Parsnips
1 tart-sweet apple
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoon Butter
750 ml milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup single cream
Ground white pepper
Fresh chopped chives
Cinnamon croutons (recipe below)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Peel and quarter the parsnips, ensuring you remove any woody centres. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, then peel, core and quarter the apples.Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan until it starts to foam. Add the onions and garlic and cook gently without browning for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsnips and apples and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes .
Pour in the milk to cover the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until the parsnips are tender.
Remove the parsnip and apple soup from the heat and pour in the cream
Purée the parsnip and apple soup in a liquidizer, then pass it through a fine sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese,chives and Cinnamon croutons. Add a dash of olive oil.
2 slices wholegrain bread
1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Slice the bread into cubes, drizzle with cinnamon and olive oil. Toast in the oven.