We love baking in this house – have you guessed that? We’ve also enjoyed trying to grow some of our own fruit and veg this year, with varying levels of success. So when I heard that Waitrose were running a project to help educate children about the benefits of seasonal fruit and vegetables, I was eager to involve Monkey in the process. It is now Apples Season at Waitrose – a time to celebrate the good old apple. Waitrose runs the Grow & Sell campaign with schools, aimed at children aged between 7-11 years of age. The campaign encourages these children, all over the UK, to grow their own produce and sell it to Waitrose customers.
I was lucky enough to grow up with a garden stocked with a few apple trees along with other fruit trees. Apples have always been a part of my diet and Monkey likes them too.
The wet spring and hot summer have brought Britain the best harvest season for years and apples are particularly sweet and colourful as a result.
As you’ve probably seen from recent news stories, chef Raymond Blanc, stresses the importance of teaching children where food comes from and the importance of fresh ingredients.
As part of the Apples Season at Waitrose we will be planting our own apple tree soon – so watch the blog for news on that in the coming weeks!
In the meantime, we thought we’d do a bit of shopping and get baking with some apples to make a scrummy Apple Cake – one of my favourites.
You will need:
175g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
pinch of salt
125g Caster Sugar
1 Egg (beaten)
3 Eating Apples, peeled, cored and sliced – I used Waitrose Royal Gala and Braeburn apples
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Honey
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir in the caster sugar. Rub in the butter/marg until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg and milk and pour the mixture into a greased 20cm cake tin. Press the apple slices into the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and brush with the honey.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200 deg C/Gas Mark 6 for 45 minutes and voila!
Now if that’s not enough to get you cooking with apples then Waitrose have some great ideas over on their website, which also gives you more information on the Royal Gala and Braeburn apples I’ve used in my Apple Cake, as well as other seasonal varieties. Or perhaps you fancy trying Ginger and Apple Puds:
You will need:
150g essential Waitrose Butter, softened plus extra for greasing
175g unrefined dark brown soft sugar
3 medium Waitrose columbian blacktail eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
3 pieces Waitrose Chinese stem ginger in syrup
2 small Cox or Royal Gala apples
Butter 2x200ml pudding basins and line the base of each with a disc of parchment. Cut 6 squares of kitchen foil about 15x15cm in size, butter one side of each square and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat 150g of the sugar with the butter until very pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, then the flour. Strain the ginger, saving about 3 tsp of syrup, and finely chop. Peel, core and dice 1 apple. Mix it into the cake mixture with the ginger.
Cut the top and bottom from the remaining apple. Cut the apple into 6 horizontal slices. Sprinkle the remaining sugar onto a plate and dip the apple slices in, to coat thickly. Place a slice into the base of each basin. Divide the cake mixture between the 6 basins and level each surface. Cover tightly with tin foil squares.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C/Gas Mark 4 for 30-35 mins or until risen and spongy to the touch. Leave to rest for 2-3 mins. Use a sharp knife to loosen the edge of each sponge and turn out. Drizzle with the reserved ginger syrup and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Tip: Use smaller apples so that when sliced, the pieces easily fit into the base of each pudding basin.
disclaimer: we were provided with a Waitrose voucher to enable us to purchase the ingredients for our apple cake, along with some garden tools so Monkey can help plant his first fruit tree soon.