Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Berry and the Baking.

We're still living an appley life here with bowlfuls of them dotted all over the kitchen. Some look as though they have come straight from a child's drawing with that perfect pinky-red gleam and two neat leaves hugging close to the stalk; others are full of holes and bruises, the typical warwounds of the windfall apple. I love both as the first makes for perfect snacking, just begging to be bitten into and making me feel rather wicked step-motherish as I entice the children to 'try a bite or two'. The tattered and battered are also perfect in their way as they make great bases for jellies, particularly for fruits which are low on pectin. We have had them all in so many forms including this rather lovely (though I do say so myself) tarte tatin - don't you just love that golden crust on clotted cream? Cornish of course.

I also made a srt of streudel traybake thingy with blackberries thrown in for good measure. This was very popular with the children

as was Nigella's 'damp apple cake' -well, it was mine actually and although the 'damp' of the title didn't suggest anything too promising, I knew Nigella would come up trumps yet again. It was gorgeous and perfect for someone like me who loathes those really dry cakes that stick in the throat with their dusty crumbs. Even better, I stowed slices of the last two bakes away in the freezer ready for the impending return to packed lunches (something else I loathe...well, the making of, that is!)

We managed to pick over 6lbs of blackberries in one session and have made wine with these. For those who have never tried it, blackberry wine is like drinking autumn with a deep richness of colour and a round, full flavour that has that perfumed edge of burdgening hedgerows in warm, rosy sunshine. Just wonderful.

The picture below shows the weather we have been experiencing here. Hardly makes you think of August does it? The light has been so dark and even the usually calm waters of this local reservoir turned decidedly choppy in the blustery winds buffeting its shores.

Clearing areas of the garden has been another project this holiday, though one more usually undertaken later in the year. The poor summer has caused many of our plants to fail and the whole has a green woodland look which suggests summer is long behind, the reality being that it never actually came! By cutting back the herbaceous plants - the loosestrifes, ox-eye daisies, jacob's ladder and so forth - we are hopeful of a second showing particularly if we have an Indian summer like last year's. This dear chap was discovered under one of the logs around the campfire; I quickly placed its cover back to enable it to hide away once more.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday x


  1. Droooling here! The tarte tatin with the crusty cream - oooh yum - and the apple cake (must look that one up). Blackberry wine always makes me think of the Joanne Harris book. Delicious, but dangerous! I hope we get an Indian summer too.

  2. Looks like lots of appley goodness going on over at your neck of the woods. I'll have to try that apple cake.

    Have a lovely bank holiday Monday too,

    Nina x

  3. Our apples are nearly ready and the blackberries are within days of picking. I look at the flowerbeds and think that they're at their very best right now - how could I cut them back?

  4. hi pip,
    we had only a small crop of apples.. the best we are eating and the others have been stewed and frozen, ready for crumble fillings through the winter. your treats look delicious.. and the wine sounds like heaven!
    i think i may be in denial yoo now as i still haven't sewn on isabellas labels!
    enjoy these last few days of the holiday.. it is really sunny here and i am painting the back door... second coat... rod is on the shed roof repairing and the girls are building lego houses and animal shelters! happy days indeed .
    with love
    ginny xxx

  5. Gorgeous mouth watering post. I would love a slice of that traybake and to wash it down with a glass of Blackberry wine! X

  6. I have been peeling, slicing and chopping Bramleys for the freezer all day! And we have frozen some blackberries. But it is swelteringly hot here! And all the grass is yellow.

    Pomona x

  7. Oh my, those look absolutely delish. A friend of mine gave me a huge amount of plums the other day but apart from eating them I don't know what else to do with them!

    The summer hasn't been great has it!

    CJ xx

  8. a mouthwatering post Pipany! Here to that Indian summer!!!

  9. Those cakes look good, yummy.

    Looks like a good year for plums round here - the little victoria outside my window is really laden. We'll be hard pressed to eat them before the wasps get to them I think. any ideas?

  10. You've inspired me (again!) and I think I'm going to mix up two of your bakes and make an apple and blackberry strudel thingy. Yum.
    P x

  11. Cor blimey, can I come round yours for a plate of pie? Seriously, lovely pictures. Sadly we can only get enough blackberries for a few crumbles, but there's nothing like a good crumble.

  12. Pipany, I can't get over how advanced your blackberries are. Ours are still green and hard.

  13. Honestly, Pip, you put me to shame. Right - today will make an apple cake and a tarte tatin (yum yum yum) and will go and look for brambles in the hedges.
    I think I may have to try some blackberry wine. I make elderberry cordial and sloe gin and cassis, but haven't tried blackberry wine yet.

  14. I adore blackberry wine I really do believe that it is the best of homemade wines. Trouble is I adore blackberry and apple pie too!

  15. My mouth is watering here! I dont suppose you could link us to some recipes could you?
    Aqeela xx

  16. Oh yes PM I loved that book.

    Sorry Pipany - distracted by Mags comment there! We are in the midst of a glut of apples and I have been making jelly and jam all week, only stopped coz I ran out of sugar. No idea who is going to eat the darned stuff I don't have a large and hungry family to feed just one skinny husb & 21 jars of apple, Rowan and Rosemary (among others!)
    That Tarte Tatin looks delicious as does the cake. Aren't your lot back at school yet? Locally the kidshave been for a week if not two now. But polish that halo for being so organised!
    PS love the 'feeding chickens' hanging from the shelf.

  17. All those pictures of beautiful, scrumptious food - it really isn't fair. I shall have to go in search of tea and biscuit now. You are quite right about blackberry wine. I have drunk it but never made it - we always made elderberry in my wine making days with enough tannin to make a spoon stand upright. Yes, terrible weather. We are quite washed out here. Can't remember the last completely dry day.

  18. My hubby is practically willing the apples to fall from our tree at the moment, he loves making apple pies and I adore apple cake so I can't blame him! Those blackberries look delicious, making my mouth water...

  19. Just discovered your gorgeous blog through sew on and sew on. I went foragng for blackberries at the weekend - managed 5lbs but there are still lots more to come so I might have to try the blackberry wine!