Category Archives: Apple

Wonderful Walnuts

We have Walnuts in our kitchen all year round, lovely to munch on as a quick snack but at this time of year they really are brought to the forefront in the supermarket aisles in readiness for Christmas, along with all manner of nuts, some of which I will be highlighting over the next few weeks.

Walnuts are considered to be superfoods these days,  as a child my mum would buy them loose in brown paper bags from the greengrocer and we would sit together cracking them open with a nutcracker and picking out the nutty, crunchy, nobbled seeds from the shells.

Walnuts are a high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron. 


Miss ND has teaspoon of ground almonds in her breakfast each morning and lately I have been crushing half a walnut (introducing slowly) too.  It is amazing to see the oil seep out of the walnut seed with even a light crush, so richly abundant it is!   Recommended intake each day is around 8-12 halves, I know I don’t manage that many some days but some is better than none.

Including walnuts in our diets couldn’t be easier, they make a lovely addition to salads, but I also bake a few different cakes with walnuts, this Apple, Cheddar and Walnut Loaf is one of Mary Berry’s recipes from the Great British Bake Off Every Day.  I love it because it is really easy to put together, the little ones can help mix as it is not a finicky batter needing gentle folding and it is completely sugar-free!   The apples do  give some sweetness but it is a lovely savoury, cheesy, nutty loaf that is equally good warm or cool.





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Jam Making

And so the jam making experiments start.  I have never made jam, I do love eating jam but over the years have eaten less and less and now it’s a rare occurrence as I do try to keep my sugar intake down where I can.   I am starting with granulated sugar then moving on through fruit sugar and grape juice.  There is no added pectin in this recipe as apples are a good source.  The process of ripening involves the breakdown of pectins, which softens the fruit as it ripens.  If not overripe, apples and blackberries usually have enough natural pectin and acid for gel formation with only added sugar.

This recipe is from Camilla at Fab Food 4 All  – you can find her recipe here,  I have halved the recipe  as this was an experiment, thankfully it all went amazingly well and very delicious it is. The nutritious part comes from the fruit packed with antioxidants but wow what a lot of sugar goes into jam. Apple jam is the next on the list with fruit sugar.

Excuse some of the blurry images, rushing to take photos at every stage whilst watching the clock to go pick Miss ND up from nursery!





 Quick Nutritional Info:

Apples – Vitamin A, C & iron, Flavonoids (Quercetin).  Antioxidants and Polyphenols

Blackberries – rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids , Vitamin A,C, E, K, Folic Acid, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron & Copper.

French Apple Tart

When we viewed the house we currently live in we were both working long hours and our viewing all took place in the evenings.  We were house hunting in the winter months and only looked at the back garden in the dark.   When we finally saw the back garden we were pleasantly surprised to see 3 apple trees to go with the one beauty in the front garden.  For years now they have been very prolific (except last year, see my post here on the weather saga)  and we have found ourselves (Mr ND loves to bake too!) baking like crazy from the end of August until the Autumn and stuffing the freezer with as many apple goodies as we could fit in.


I’ve started picking this year’s crop and giving some away to friends and family but the rest I’m cooking and baking with myself starting with this very simple French Apple Tart.  There are two ways of doing this, with or without the apple purée, today it’s with.   

I’m using ready rolled puff pastry, I have made puff pastry before but probably never will again as the store bought is so good and so convenient.   Once the apples have been sliced for the top of the pastry, pop in some lemon juice to stop them going brown.


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Servings: 12

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C,/160 C fan/Gas 4


2-3 medium Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped – for the purée
Ready rolled puff pastry- cut a piece to fit your baking tray
1 free-range (I use organic) egg yolk, beaten

2 medium Bramley apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
50-75g butter, melted
3-4 tablespoons caster sugar


 –  Add a couple of tablespoons of water to a pan with the chopped apples, cover and place over a medium heat and simmer for a few minutes until apples have broken down and are soft.  Beat lightly so they are apples are smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

–   Roll out the puff pastry onto a baking sheet, it’s best taken out of the fridge a few minutes before baking, and lightly score an inner margin inside the edge of the puff pastry, the edge should then puff up nicely.  I usually prick the pastry too to stop the middle puffing up.  Brush the pastry with the beaten egg yolk.  Wait a minute or two then repeat.

–  Spread the apple purée all over the pastry leaving out the outer margin.  Layer the apple slices over the apple purée.  

–  Brush the apple slices with the melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar.

–  Bake for 25 -30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft and lightly golden brown.

–  Dust with icing sugar (optional) and slice into 12 portions. 

I shall be making these a lot as they are so delicious but as I have so many apples (have I mentioned that I have 4 apple trees!!) I will double up on the apples on top as they do shrink once baked and also make into individual round apple tarts, lots more to try!

 Nutritional Info:

Vitamins A & C, plus iron and calcium

Apples are a good source of pectin which is high in fibre.

Apples should store well for months if unblemished and placed in a cool, dry place.   They should be wrapped in  newspaper and then placed in a single layer in a cardboard box.  

It’s not often I can get tree-ripened, truly organic, fresh from the tree produce to cook with, it doesn’t get better than that!

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Apple and Sour Cream Flan Cake

appleflancake1Apple and Sour Cream flan cake

Last year our apple trees produced no fruit, a first for them since we have lived here, the beautiful, delicate pink blossoms were rained on so hard that they didn’t get pollinated so no apples.  We have 4 trees, 3 Bramley’s and 1, as yet, unidentified eating apple tree.  We cook, bake, freeze and finally give loads to the neighbours.   This year all is well again,  I have been on blossom, rain, wind, weather watch and although we had a lot of rain this year, we have a healthy crop.  

apple Collage

This Apple and Sour Cream Flan Cake was inspired by an old Woman & Home recipe that I have tucked away and is a firm family favourite.   I have lowered the sugar content again but feel free to use more if your tooth is sweeter than ours.

 Pre heat your oven to 180C, 160C Fan, gas mark 4

Bottom line and butter a 23cm (9″) round cake tin, I use a springform, so easy to use.

My Ingredients
3 medium sized cooking apples, peeled and cored
125g butter,softened plus a little extra to brush top of apples
90g golden caster sugar
2 organic free-range eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g sour cream
1 tblspn apricot jam for glazing

Beat the butter and the golden caster sugar together until pale and creamy, add the eggs one at a time and beat in. Stir in the vanilla extract, then the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the sour cream until smooth.

Chop one of the apples into small bite sized chunks and finely slice the others, you may not need all the slices.  Add the chopped apples to the cake batter, then spread the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Make smooth and even then arrange the apple slices to top. Melt a little butter and brush over the top of the cake and apples.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake has risen and is golden. It should be firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack, then glaze the top with the warm apricot jam. Serve with creme fraiche or a dollop of double cream, this cake is so lovely and moist it doesn’t need anything but it’s summer and a blob of something creamy is so de rigeur!  Enjoy!