Yesterday I cooked two recipes for dinner for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge – Pork sausages braised in cider with apple and juniper, and Perfect mashed potato.
Basically you brown the sausages and onions and apples separately , then you combine them together and stew them in a casserole dish on top of the stove. It took about half an hour prep time, and then an additional one hour stewing, so this isn’t a quick after work dish.
Matt adjusted the pan as it wasn’t sitting on the hob properly in the center. I had to take the lid off to boil some of the liquid off and thicken up the cider sauce.
I boiled two potatoes to have as a side and mash them with a cool device which looks like a spiral on the end of a masher. (I don’t know what it’s called but it works a treat.) I added cream instead of crème fraîche because I couldn’t find any in either Coles or Woolies.
The highlight of the dish was the lovely apple and cider gravy. It was nice but I wouldn’t cook it again. The mash was delicious based on cream, but again a bit of treat since rice milk works just as well without the guilt.
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)
Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge
Despite the drizzly rain, we decided to spend our Saturday at the Pig and Whistle’s Fluid Festival. I tried three new exciting ciders.
Willie Smiths Organic apple cider is made from 100% organic apples grown on the farm at Grove in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. It is Australian’s first certified organic Cidery. It had a nice cloudy and pronounced apple taste. I liked it!
Next I tried the dcider in it’s distinctive pink labeling. The company is barely a year old and is already winning fans. It’s made with no added sugar and not from concentrate. It has a clean apple taste and is not overly sweet.
Batlow Premium Cider is the all round good guy of ciders, with 3 and half freshly crushed batlow apples in each bottle and no added sugar. It was very drinkable and refreshing.
Overall three great new ciders to add to my favourites list.
This fruit loaf is made with apple cider, spices and dried fruits. It is perfect with marmalade – actually I had it with my Aunty’s cumquat marmalade and it was delicious. I think this could be nice with half a cup of dried apple added. I’ll try that next time I make it. I used the new James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider – which incidentally is a nice drop on it’s own.
I go through periods of having fruit loaf for breakfast, but I wonder how much sugar the store bought ones contain. This one doesn’t have any. Alas I have fallen off my sugar-free challenge. I have made leaps and bounds in reducing my sugar intake, but I’m still having some!
Isn’t it strange most bakeries don’t sell fruit loaf?
Apple cider fruit loaf recipe
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sultanas
335ml bottle of dry apple cider
3 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
7g dried yeast
- Soak the dried fruit in the apple cider while you measure out the other ingredients.
- Add the flour, spices and yeast to a bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Strain the cider from the fruit, reserving the fruit. Add the liquid to the dry mixture.
- Knead well for 15 to 20 minutes until the dough is stretchy. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Knock back the dough and add the fruit. Knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
- Shape into an oval loaf and place of a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and prove a second time for 30 minutes or until doubled.
- Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
- Dust the loaf with flour and score it with a knife. Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
Every couple of days I have a foot bath to help relax the muscles in my feet and detoxify my body.
I fill a small tub up with just enough warm-hot water to cover my feet and then add a handful of one of the following ingredients:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Bicarb soda
- Dead sea salt
- Epsom salt
Sometimes I’ll add couple of drops essential oils.
I’ll sit and try to meditate for about 20 to 30 minutes so it’s my relaxation time. The hot water and salts combination works to leach toxins from your system.
Hands down, or should I say feet down, my favourite is the Epsom salts baths. It’s an easy way to give your body a boost in magnesium.
The Epsom Salt Council lists the following health benefits from the proper magnesium and sulfate levels:
- Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
- Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
- Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
- Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
- Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
- Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
- Improved oxygen use.
- Improved absorption of nutrients.
- Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
- Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.
I will warn you – the seaweed one leaves your feet with a green tinge!
Did you know that inorganic apples can be sprayed up to 16 times? One way to reduce your exposure to chemicals is to peel your fruit and vegetables, as the chemicals will be concentrated there. Unfortunately, you’ll also be removing many of the natural nutrients, which are also located in the skin.
I’m going to warn you these are very sweet, but oh so good. You could serve them with a cake or ice cream to balance out the flavour. The vanilla pod will sprinkle black flecks through the sauce, so you can use vanilla essence if you wish.
3 cm vanilla pod
2 Tbsp butter, organic
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup
- Place the split open vanilla pod and butter in a frying pan over low heat and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the apples and sugar and cook for about 20 minutes or until caramelised, stirring frequently.
- Add the golden syrup and 1/4 cup of water. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Before the drought, my aunt and uncle used to have a lush native rainforest in their backyard. Unfortunately with the water restrictions it has since been cut back and only the hardy plants remain. Over the autumn, they found two different pumpkin vines growing from their compost heap. They harvested over 30 pumpkins and my aunt made soup, bread, and curry. We gratefully received one golden nugget and one jap.
I try to keep my soup recipe simple and let the pumpkin shine. Having said that, some pumpkins taste much better than others, so try a different kind if you think you don’t like them. If it’s a special occasion and you have the time, you could roast the pumpkin and apples first (and then follow the rest of the recipe cutting down on the simmering time). The apple and nutmeg give this comforting pumpkin soup a flavour lift.
It’s also worth using a decent stock as there are so few ingredients in this recipe. If you boil the kettle, you can top up with more hot water as you go and the soup won’t lose heat.
1 red onion, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
½ pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2 cups of vegetable stock + hot water
½ tsp of nutmeg
- Brown the red onion in some oil in a pot.
- Boil the kettle for your stock. Make up stock and add to the pot.
- Add the pumpkin, apples and nutmeg. Add more hot water to cover all the ingredients.
- Gently simmer until the pumpkin and apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
- Season with sea salt and pepper.
Cooked for the Austrian entry in the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.
6 sheets of of filo pastry
50g organic butter, plus some for pastry
handful of raisins
pinch of cinnamon powder
- Peel the apples and and cut them thinly. Fry the breadcrumbs in butter. Spread the filo pastry out, and carefully brush some melted butter between each layer. Cover half the dough with the apple slices, add the breadcrumb mixture, sugar, raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll the strudel up very carefully.
- Grease a baking pan, and place the strudel on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
Too easy and absolutely delicious!