there’s nothing quite like an apple pie, is there? how about apple pie and apple cake? drunk with apple tea? OTT? greedy? Who cares?! I made both today, they should do us for a few days to come 🙂

licking the screen is NOT good for your monitor...

note: licking the screen is NOT good for your monitor...

Before i share recipes though, i went down to the housing today. The guy i spoke to is going to look into what our records say (he tried himself but he’s not trained on it, and the person who is, had left for the day) and email me tomorrow. He also confirmed that if the tenant was given permission to have a pet, and they are current tenants, then even if they transfer to another property owned by them then there won’t be a problem, it will just limit the tenants a little, certain properties where they feel a dog wouldn’t be appropriate, for example (like a flat in a multistorey, which is understandable). which is one fear off our minds. He also gave me the names of the other housing associations operating in this area, and i’ve emailed the main one to check if they will allow pets in their properties. I had an email back from them very quickly and they confirmed that they do, but only when the property has its own front door (i.e. a flat with a communal hallway would not be permitted pets). which is fair enough, you may have a situation where someone’s allergic or something. So good news, and we just have to hold on.

I also took a meter reading today of both our gas and electric meters. E-On have very kindly sent us details of our pricing structure, including when the secondary rates kick in on both gas and electric, so i’m now able to work out not only exactly how much we’re using, but how much its costing us. Since 12th August, we’ve used 39 KWh units of gas, which costs us around £2.43. Which doesn’t sound right, so i’m obviously doing something wrong (our gas covers heating, water and cooking by the way, even taking into account the fact that we were away for a week and a half during this period, someone else was here, and we both use quite a lot of water. Electricity, we used 151 units since 19th of August, and i think this will cost us around £50.29, which is okay, what we’re paying at the moment will cover that, thankfully.

Monday is check in day not just for the meters but for the weight… i lost another pound over the last week (i’ll probably put a pound on next week with the pie and cake though!), so i’m pleased with that. I just hope the weightloss continues – I’m going to have to restrict myself with home cooked bakery goods! We pigged out a bit tonight on spaghetti with tomato sauce and leftover meatballs.. i have to say, doing the meatballs in lots of different flavours makes a great meatballs for meatballs with tomato sauce.. it was really really really good!!

tomorrow: going to get the patterns, and hopefully, some material! Recipes and more photos behind the cut…

Apple Pie Recipe – this is a dutch apple pie, so its deeper than an English one, and the recipe reflects that. Its also been passed on from Michiel’s Mom, so its authentic! (and many many thanks to her for the recipe). I’m also assuming here that you know how to make and work with pastry. if you don’t, then a couple of good links are here and here – they describe it much better than i ever could (at least, the first one does, the second is a video (without subtitles) but its fairly well rated so that’s a good sign)!

1. Preheat Oven to 150*C/Gas Mark 2
2. Grease an 8 inch (or similar) spring loaded cake tin.

750g eating apples – choose one that is quite tart, i chose royal gala today, Michiel’s just commented that its a little too sweet, so either less sugar or a tarter apple next time
2 tbsp each of raisins and currants
1 tbsp sugar – this is flexible, depending on how sweet your chosen apples are, do feel free to put more/less in.
2tsp ground cinnamon

peel, core and slice the apples into a large bowl. mix all of these ingredients together in the bowl with the apple slices and put the whole thing in the fridge. It needs that maturation time!

250g plain flour
125g caster sugar
125g butter
1 egg (reserve some for brushing across the pastry top)
2 tbsp milk

1. rub butter into the flour, then stir sugar in to the crumbly mix.
2. stir the egg in, then the milk, till the whole thing comes together
3. handle the dough as little as possible, with cool hands, when the dough has formed, wrap in clingfilm or put in a small plastic bag into the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
4. cut the dough into 2, flour the worksurface and roll out the first batch of dough till its about 3-4mm thick. Cut a circle or square large enough to fit the base of your tin – i just pressed the tin into the pastry to get the size then cut it out and placed the pastry in the bottom of the tin.
5. Re-roll the leftover pastry and about half of the remaining dough, then measure the depths of the sides and cut lengths of pastry to the same size (or slightly bigger). Roll up, stand against the side, then unroll around the outside of the tin. It will want to fold in on itself, so i found it helpful to cut it just a little bit deeper than the the tin, then fold the excess over the lip. you’ll probably have to cut 2 of these to get the pastry all the way round the outside of the tin. Make sure you press the edges together to form a seal.

the sides of the pie

the sides of the pie

At this point fill the pastry case with the apple slices. then roll out the rest of the pastry and cut strips from it to make a lattice to cover the top of the apple. once this is done, cut the pastry hanging over the side away, the excess, then fold, higgeldy piggeldy, the very top of the pie case over the apple. the photograph below illustrates.

you can see, if you look at the side, where the top of the pastry case was folded down over the top of the apple and the latticework

you can see, if you look at the side, where the top of the pastry case was folded down over the top of the apple and the latticework

Brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar for some added extra crunch. Bake in the oven for an hour – you may need to give it a little longer at a slightly higher temp to get the pastry to brown. Serve slightly warm with some whipped cream and coffee.

Apple Cake

appley gorgeousness

appley gorgeousness

This is an adaptation of this recipe.. instead of using Bramley Apples, i used royal gala, and at the end, i mixed a teaspoon or so of demerara sugar with a little just boiled water from the kettle and a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to make a syrup. don’t try to dissolve all the demerara sugar – you want that crunch. When the cake is removed from the oven, immediately pour the syrup over the cake, as you would with a lemon drizzle cake. It really gives a lovely lift to this cake, and the apple keeps it lovely and moist. Personally i would add more cinnamon to the apple mix next time, i could barely taste it, and i happen to adore cinnamon (we drink cinnamon tea here every couple of days!). Still, a lovely cake, and one worth repeating.. i may experiment with the amount of cinnamon in it!