Friday, August 1, 2008

What to do with a box of….

Part 1: Apples

I love buying things in bulk. Not only is it cheap, but it forces me to come up with new ways to use things. One Saturday we were driving around some of the local farms and came across one selling a box of granny smith apples for 5 bucks. My husband couldn’t resist and hey, it was a bargain! What I love is that these apples didn’t have that waxy coating that so much fruit has these days. It might make it look shinier and prettier in the supermarkets, but what the hell am I eating?

You can see the box in the background there with my fabulous apple corer in the foreground. Now, one may accuse me of having some unnecessary items in my kitchen, but I don’t think that my apple corer/ slicer is one of them. Yes I don’t use it all the time, but you try coring, peeling and slicing apples by hand, and then try a whole box, and you will understand why it is useful!

The original idea was to use it for juicing and as snacks in our lunchboxes, but we were not getting through them quick enough. So we had to use our imaginations a little…

So the first thing I tried was making an apple and pecan crumble cake. This recipe was taken from ‘Mix and Bake’ by Belinda Jefferies.

It was an olive oil based cake with pecans throughout the cake as well as on the crunchy topping. Nathan thought the crunch had a strange consistency but I didn’t mind it. The recipe did say to put it in a bundt tin which I didn’t have so I used a round tin. It needed a much longer baking time and I was still unsure if it could have done with a bit longer, but the olive oil keeps it very moist.
The next thing I made was apple and walnut muffins. These were based on Stephanie Alexander’s general recipe for muffins to which I added a grated apple, cinnamon and walnuts. The preparation takes about 10 minutes and then the baking 25 minutes. I love easy recipes like these!

Towards the end of the box, we still had a lot of apples left and they were starting to get a bit floury for eating. At this point some friends of ours loaned us the use of their dehydrator. Basically a load of trays with a heater and a fan, we loaded up the trays with cut apples (dipped in a lemon bath to stop discolouration) and then left them overnight. The resulting dried apples then went into a jar which was snacked on. They would have stayed good for a decent time in the pantry, but we got through them in under a week (I’m pointing the finger at Nathan here!). It did occur to me though that if I had children, these would be a great substitute for lollies as they are sweet, tasty and completely natural.

So that concludes part one of my series of ‘What to do with a box of…’. The next instalment will be carrots – some friends and I went halves on an organic box of carrots (20kg for 25 bucks) and we are still making our way through it…

I have my eye on the neighbours lemon tree which is so full the poor thing looks like it will collapse under the weight of all the lemons, and they don’t even use them!! They have just moved in and I haven’t introduced myself and am feeling a little reluctant to do so as they also just got a new dog which they don’t give enough attention too so it spends all day tied to the deck crying. I love dogs and don’t think people should get dogs if they don’t intend to give them the attention they need (and no we don’t have one for that reason).

But those lemons! I want to make preserved lemons, lemon curd, lemon tart, marmalade and of course use it for juicing. I have to find a box of lemons for 5 bucks somewhere… anyone?


Agnes said...

Maybe you should jump the fence while your neighbours are at work and help unload their tree. ;)

What did you think about the dehydrator? I thought about getting one, until I saw that they're kind of expensive! I'm still a bit tempted though....

Ran said...

as my friends pointed out, they are probably not worth it for one family but if you share one between a few families/ friends then it works out pretty well(not that we paid for this but are rewarded with the products)

they have dehdrated mangoes, bananas (yum!) all sorts of stone fruit and they have all been great. They noticed that they hadnt used theirs in a year though so we are now 'borrowing it'. i think it is totally worth it if you like dried fruit and can get cheap boxes of it from somewhere!

Ran said...

oh and i have thought of jumping that fence but am worried about the poor dog!

Jenaveve said...

I've just discovered your blog so looking forward to a good read... and I love the look of those muffins. I have Stephanie A's Cook's Companion at home so I hope the recipe is in there. They sound too good not to try.