Archive for ‘Fruit’

December 31, 2011

2011 leftovers: blackberry and apple pie

Over the years I have been known to wax lyrical (which is surely another way of saying ‘bored people rigid’) about childhood autumns spent blackberry picking – the huge buckets of blackberries that our family would bring back and the freezer full of blackberry and apple pies and crumbles. It’s a story seen through purple-tinted shades.

We did go blackberry picking, sometimes as a family, often my dad on his own. And I did love those home-baked pies and crumbles – the taste of autumn. In fact I loved them so much that shop-bought blackberries and blackberry-based desserts seemed a heresy. Only recently have I bought blackberries from the supermarket. Huge fat ones, not the smallish, round, neat little berries of subtle joy that I remember.

But this autumn, freshly settled into our new abode in the (almost) wilds of north Essex, a-blackberry-picking we did go (see our blog from the beginning of November). Not long after, a blackberry and apple pie was made.

We used shop-bought pastry as I was feeling lazy that weekend, blind baking the pie bottom before adding some slices of bramley apple, the blackberries, sprinkling over some sugar, encasing with the pie top and baking for 20 minutes.

The result? Well it wasn’t quite the great pie of antiquity, but then nothing was ever going to match the sublime taste of my berry nostalgia. However, it disappeared very quickly one wintery Saturday evening. And yes, it still delivered that true taste of autumn. Can’t wait till next year!

October 3, 2011

Deep purple

Early autumn has been the time for collecting blackberries and sloes along the tracks and wooded paths that run beside the creek where we live. With the sloes we’ve made some sloe gin, obviously, while bags of blackberries have ended up in the freezer to be drawn from whenever we feel drawn to them in the depths of winter. Blackberry and apple pies beckon. A walk along the very same tracks this last weekend found the brambles bare again: while the weather has been unseasonably warm, it’s a sure sign that the colder weather is on its way. A good job we made those foraging trips when we did.

August 3, 2011

A summery pavlova to celebrate!

Welcome readers, to Earth to Plate’s new home in the pretty little estuary town of Wivenhoe in Essex. And please, help yourselves to a slice of summer berry pavlova with a passion fruit sauce. Go on, you know you want to.

Yes, we’ve upped sticks and travelled the 60 or so miles from central London to the countryside. And what does this mean for ETP Towers? It means a whole new way of living and sourcing the ingredients for this vegetarian blog.

In our new home it’s no longer easy to make daily trips to Waitrose, or order an Abel & Cole veg box every week. And is there life beyond metropolitan habitudes? Of course! There’s a lovely little independent grocer, Cansdale Ross & Co, up the road from us, a fantastic little deli that does a good line in cheese, amongst many things, and the East of England Co-op, which supplies a good selection of locally grown fruit and veg, including gorgeous summer fruits from Fiveways Fruit Farm, just outside of Colchester.

So, expect more of the usual servings of veggie food as we get the blog back up and running again, plus a look at shopping local and avoiding the big supermarkets.

Oh, and the pavlova? We were eating a lot of Denis Cotter recipes before we left London. It’s one of his – from For the Love of Food, I think. Can’t be certain though, as we were packing up when we made it. It was delightful, but in the midst of the removals chaos we forgot to eat most of it. What a waste. Please don’t do the same.

May 1, 2011

Breakfast blues

The best meal of the day? No. Plain old no. Breakfast is often more likely to be a coffee and pastry eaten at the desk while checking emails, or a dull slice of toast while getting ready to leave the house. Fried breakfasts? Hotels. Proper continental breakfasts? Ditto.

We don’t have enough time on weekday mornings for breakfasts to be great, although they can be good if you give them a little thought. Defrost some summer berries overnight and spoon them over yoghurt and a little oaty muesli – that’s not a bad way to start the day. A bit limited though.

Recently we’ve been experimenting. Around the world, people have completely different ideas as to what constitutes a good meal at the start of the day. A one-pan fry-up in Vietnam? Get outta here. Pastries? Yawn. Instead, what about chillis to wake the senses, hot and spicy soups, noodles with an egg…

My favourite ever breakfast arrived in Bryant Park, New York, and the highlight on the plate was potato. The hotel’s ‘Breakfast Potatoes’ were fluffy little balls of seasoned mash with herbs and cream cheese. Delicious alongside a poached egg. At home on a Sunday we’ll now have all kinds of tomatoey, peppery concoctions for breakfast. We even had some of our own version of breakfast potatoes with some spring greens and chilli the other day. So much for croissants.

Yesterday, after 24 hours where we’d eaten almost nothing very nutritious, we craved fruit. A fruit salad with a dollop of yoghurt was just the thing to get us up and running. Best meal of the day? It’s possible.