No Recipe Applesauce

Organic is not always pretty.

Organic is not always pretty. Late summer and organic equals freckled, spotted, worm-holed, wasp-stung, mouldy fruit and veg. That’s when it’s time to cut out the mucky bits of apples and make applesauce. I don’t use fruit that’s rotten or mouldy; we have enough from windfall and those still clinging to branches, so it’s unnecessary. I leave heavily damaged fruit to the wildlife and insects, most of whom seem drunk from the fermentation at this time of year.

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Applesauce freezes well, so we have a good supply during the winter, a happy reminder of what summer tastes like. And best of all, applesauce requires NO recipe. If the apples are too starchy, I add water (small amounts at a time, ie., a spoonful) or old dry cider (which I freeze in ice cube trays). I have a foodmill, so I don’t bother peeling the apples. The peel adds a lovely warm colour to the applesauce. I cut out the mucky bits, core them, and then cube the apples into equal-size chunks. Toss the whole thing into a large stock pot (I make it in huge quantities at this time of the year), keep the heat at a low temperature, and stir when I remember to do so. Just don’t let the apples at the bottom of the pot stick and scorch. When the apples are cooked down and mushy, I spin the mass through the food mill, and chuck away the peel and remaining bits.

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I sweeten after the apples are ‘milled’, adding as little as possible. I am cooking for a diabetic, so minimal added sugar. I use ‘half-sugar’ substitutes, if needed.

If you feel the need for a recipe, the No-Recipe recipe at Food52 is a good one to follow.

 

Autumn Transitional Food and Winding-Down the Garden

Autumn Transitional Food and Winding-Down the Garden

Sedrick-the-sourdough-start went to work this week and produced some excellent bread. My starter is now a couple of years old, and was blended with some San Francisco starter in March that gave it a lovely depth of flavour. Sedrick was originally quite tart, very lively, and often blew the sides out of sourdough loaves. The addition of the San Francisco blend has mellowed the flavour and calmed Sedrick down a bit, although it still gives a good oven-rise and an excellent flavour.

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Good sausages from the butcher at the farmer’s market, a golden hued onion, and a burst of sudden colour in the trees calls for the reintroduction of heartier food. Comfort food. Comfort as we slip into another layer of clothing to ward off the chilly mornings. And my favourite recipe for bangers and onion gravy is Nigel Slater’s “non-recipe”. No ingredient list, just eloquent writing about this process of creating a good plate of food. Food that Peder eats without hardly spilling a word until he’s finished, and then he says, “Well, that was good.” He’s a man of few words. But good taste.

Nigel Slater’s recipe for Sausages and Onion Gravy is at http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/12/nigel-slater-classic-sausage-mash

And speaking of Peder, he put up another two jars (massively huge jars) of pickles from his Danish asker plants. I suspect that’s the last of the cucumbers that those plant will produce. They’re taking on white powder mildew now, a sure sign that the plants are stressed and declaring their job done.

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The garden is turning autumn-ish. The flowers are still with us, but many are holding on to their petals like dying lovers. Every gust of wind sends a few more toward freedom. It’s seed collecting time in the garden, and I love that almost as much as I love deadheading spent flowers.

As you can see, we are still working our way through a good supply of tomatoes. The larger ones are finished but the cherry and plum tomatoes are still ripening. The yellow plum tomatoes disappointed; too meaty, no juice, prone to insect attack more than usual. I’ll not suggest those next year.

I’m looking forward to heartier meals now that autumn is here. Do you have favourite autumn meals you rely on at this transitional time of the year? Salad just don’t seem right anymore. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

The Ultimate Scone Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

This is not my recipe, so I’ll not take any credit for it. It is however one of the best that I’ve stumbled over, so I thought you’d like to know about it. It’s called Ultimate Scones, and it’s at the BBC Good Food website. And here’s the way they look when you’ve baked them!

Food Photography, Day 29

Day 29. Already. Time is flying, and I think I’ll miss this course when it finishes in a few days. But I’ve learnt a lot, and I plan to practise until all this becomes second nature.

Today we covered post-processing using photo editing software. It was suggested that we rush out and invest in PhotoShop or Appeture. Yes. Well. Ahem. I don’t think so. I don’t have Photoshop. I use free online photo editors for the basics like cropping, straightening, brightness tweaking or adding text. I use PicMonkey online or the Google Picasa app.

So we’re to tweaky-weaky a photo’s white balance or temperature. Adjust the Kelvin, we’re told. There’s no Kelvin on my program, no Kevin, Jack, George or Freddie, so I did the best I could to mess up a perfectly good photo. Here’s the result.  Pffft.

Day28 Collage

Food Photography, Day 27

Day 27: Analysing photos. For today’s assignment we were asked to apply the following questions to a food photo that we like. My photo is from Mimi Thorisson’s Manger  and the original tomato and squash photograph is on Manger’s blog.  Below is an small part of that photograph.

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The questions are:

1.    What is appealing about this photograph?
2.    Who is the main character of the story?
3.    What do you think is the story?
4.    Identify the direction of light source?
5.    What props do you see in the photo?
6.    What can you tell about harmony of the photo and its balance?
7.    How is the space used?
8.    Identify the camera angle and where was camera relative to the food?
9.    How is the background?
10.   What can you say about the location of the food photo?

My answers to those questions are:

1. It feels warm, and intriguing. There’s something almost Gothic about it.
2. Fresh tomatoes and squash.
3. The story is healthy, wholesome,  real living, which isn’t very Gothic … is it.
4. To the left and behind the camera.
5. No props. Just a black wooden background with minimal texture.
6. The heavier squash are balanced with extended lines on the right upper and lower side.
7. The background fills the negative space, thereby creating a sense of levitation.
8. The camera angle is from the bottom and above.
9. The background is black stain plank wood.
10. France; a tabletop; a dark room.