Tag Archives: seasonal

Blackberry and Toasted Hazelnut Muffins

The garden has produced a bumper crop of apples this year, the cherries didn’t do so well and what little we had the birds got.  The blackberries have been so abundant in our garden that I’ve picked several bucketloads already and still they are coming!  We’ve made the usual Apple & Blackberry Pies and used a quite a few in our breakfasts and I can’t resist popping a few every time I pass the kitchen (allegedly they have super skin-tightening properties so hopefully no need for that facelift!) but I needed to use more and quite fast too as once picked they only last a couple of days in the fridge.

These Blackberry and Toasted Hazelnut Muffins from Tesco Real Food use 200g of blackberries and includes a fair amount of yoghurt  (we use Total Greek Yoghurt, it’s thick and stays on the spoon, vital when the toddler is aiming for her mouth and of course she loves it!)  in the recipe for a lovely moist, fruity muffin.  You can find their recipe here.

Blackberrymuffins Collage

I made a couple of adjustments to suit us, I used self-raising wholemeal flour instead of plain wholemeal flour and less baking powder to compensate.  Also swapped out 50g of the wholemeal flour for self-raising white flour, these muffins will be eaten by a toddler and the addition of a little white flour makes the muffins lighter.   And of course, no surprise I took the sugar down to 80g from 100g.

I shall be making another batch, it’s a great recipe, the softness of the fruit with a satisfying little crunch from the toasted hazelnuts.  Next time I will add more blackberries to the top, after all I have plenty!  

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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!