New beginnings can take a little while to get a handle on. Having swapped my full-time employment with a part-time job, I am now chief cook and bottle washer. Oh wait, that was me before too. Just now I have half a day plus all evening to do it, whereas before I had to scramble to fit it all in after work. I now have little excuse for my house being untidy and my children unfed. I feel pressure to send them to school with lunch boxes full of home baking and sparkling clean and pressed uniforms.
So it is taking me a while to get used to having time to do everything. The problem with having more time is that I find more things I want to fit into that time, so I am currently scrambling to fit stuff in. I really do need to sit down with my life planner that The Anster keeps printing out for me so that I don’t find I have placed my ladder against the wrong tree. Unfortunately I have about three of these buried under a pile of other stuff to be done.
So anyway, since I am now at home most of the day, I figured I could become the green fingered gardening guru. I retrieved all the NZ Gardener special Home Grown publications from our library – the good thing about having so many books is that I have a good reference library. The problem is that I know I have a rose pruning book somewhere, but I just can’t find it right now!
Sitting down with a lovely hot ginger syrup (ahhh, yes store-brought syrup but I have located a recipe to make my own syrup as soon as I manage to get to the supermarket and buy a large quantity of ginger root. But in order to plan a supermarket trip, I actually have to put town-suitable clothing on therefore not my pink pajama pants with butterflies on them! So with a cat on my knee and a dog by my side, I browse through the publications looking for things to do in the garden. Adding tasks to my calendar such as feed citrus, mulch citrus seems like a good place to start. At least then I know when I should be doing these things.
The NZ Gardener magazine puts out a special collector’s edition every once in a while – there are about 9 or 10 of them now. We have two copies of the Potato edition as I bought it and The Anster, not knowing I had already purchased it, decided it looked useful, so we each have our own reading copy. Homegrown 4 Fruit Trees: grow your own fresh, healthy fruit is a great resource for any home owners with a wee orchard out back. Covering pruning & orchard design, pests & diseases, varieties for the different regions of NZ and how to plant for a year round fruit harvest, the section that caught my attention was the recipes. Funny that.
Sally Cameron has contributed a Granny Smith and Apple Cheesecake recipe that looks like I need to organise a dinner party just so I can make it. Stay tuned as I am sure that recipe will pop up here at some point. Instead the Apple & Raspberry Loaf was earmarked for try-out at some point in the near future. With the Amish Friendship Bread Cake tin empty, it was lunchbox baking time that was reallocated to the top of the pile (oops, sorry, life planning tree moves a bit further down the stack).
I used to blame my forgetfulness on stress – when you have six eggs in the air, at least 2 of them are going to drop and smash sooner or later. I still have six eggs in the air, just different eggs, maybe smaller eggs – quail eggs instead of kiwi eggs. So anyway, I had the oven preheating ready to accept and bake my lovely apple & raspberry loaf.
This loaf should be named 4-bowl loaf – I might need to go and buy some more bowls if this loaf becomes a staple at our house. Actually I have been after some more mixing bowls for a while so hopefully the family like this loaf.
End result: I cooked the loaf at 150ºC instead of 180ºC because we have a mystery oven temperature adjuster in our house (or I am a bit absent-minded) so the loaf had a few rising problems. It didn’t look quite like the loaf in the HomeGrown 4 picture (page 117 if you have this edition). But the loaf is all gone, vanished in a blink of an eye. Which was probably quite good as it was very moist and wouldn’t have kept well. Will I make it again – for sure, I have found some cute mixing bowls that will fit quite nicely in my nearly overfull pot drawer. Then again, I might try to de-bowl the recipe by one or two.
NB – don’t bother peeling the apples just wash them under fresh cold running water and dry them well.
2 medium apples
200g frozen raspberries
2 T tart apple syrup
½ cup + 1 T (140g) butter
½ cup (120g) white sugar
1 ¼ cup (160g) plain flour
1 t baking powder
Preheat oven to 180ºC (yes, it does really need to be 180ºC, 150ºC doesn’t work nearly as well)
Grease and line a loaf tin (loaf tins come in a variety of sizes – I used a fairly large one)
Core and dice apples. Mix apples, raspberries & apple syrup in a glass bowl and marinate together for 30 minutes.
Melt and cool butter.
Beat eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy, sift in flour and baking powder then fold gently together (yay, one bowl down). Drizzle in cooled melted butter and fold in. Fold in fruit & juices.
Spoon into prepared tin and bake until loaf is golden brown (about 40 minutes).