14 February 2008

Valentines Day

We don't make much of a big deal about Valentines Day in our house. If we have the time and energy (sadly lacking since having a child!), one of us will get a card or flowers for the other, but more often it's just a nice meal at home together, and sometimes a DVD after DD has gone to bed. This year, we had sweet and sour chicken on rice, one of our favourite meals. DD had chicken nuggets and chips. All home made of course. For the sweet and sour, I'm afraid we buy bottled sauce, Kan-Tong. They're the only bottles we get anymore, and as you'll see later, they all get used. We like to breadcrumb the chicken, fry it up, pull out the 'nuggets', then add the sauce. For chips, we steam the potato for about 10-15 minutes, then put them on trays in the oven, sprayed with some olive oil, and cook until crisp. Not quite as good as fried, but passable, and a lot quicker and healthier.

For desert, I made apple crumble! I had some apples that had been sitting in the cupboard since last market day, and a couple of them were starting to go bad, so I figured I'd better get it done before they lot was wasted. There were about 4 bad ones, but plenty that were still good. I grabbed the extra apples out of the fridge too, and all up probably had about 20 or so apples. Now you would think they would take hours to peel and cut wouldn't you? But I have this REALLY COOL apple peeler, peels, cores and slices all in one. I don't happen to have any good pics of this, so check out this video of how it works. (I'm sorry, I don't have sound, so I hope there is nothing offensive said, but I don't think so.) My sister liked it so much she went out and bought one on her way home the day I showed it to her.

Lots of apple peel later, I had a full saucepan of apples. I think maybe a little too full, as it boiled over while cooking. It reduced a little as it cooked though. I added 2 cups of sugar to the apples, but probably could have done with less. This is a decent sized saucepan too, about 20 inches or so!

Once the apple was cooked, I ladled it hot into recycled glass jars (those Kan-Tong ones I was talking about earlier!), and put the lids on while it was still hot. I sit them on the wooden cutting board while filling them, and haven't had one crack yet. I used one of those grippy rubber mat things, the ones that you can use to get bottle lids off, to hold the hot glass jar while tightening the lids. As the apple cooled, it shrinks, creating a vacuum seal. You know you've got a good seal when the 'pop tops' of these bottles pop down. I'm keeping it all in the fridge to be certain though, and don't expect it to last above a month or two. Out of my saucepan of apples, I got 3 (500ml) jars of apple, and enough for tonight's apple crumble.

I don't bother with a pastry base, it's a huge hassle, and isn't that easy gluten free anyway. I just pop the stewed apple straight into the pie dish (this one is Pyrex), and then make up the crumble. I use a recipe in "Day to Day Cookery", which was my home economics textbook in high school! Yes, more than 10 years on, I still have it, and use it often. That and the old W. M. U. (Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union) Cookery book are my standby. That, and all my mum's old recipes that I have copies of.

Crumble for Apple Crumble recipe:

1 cup plain flour
3 tablespoons of sugar (more if you have a family of sweet tooth's)
3 tablespoons of coconut
3 tablespoons of butter

Mix butter through flour with fingertips until breadcrumb consistency
Add sugar and coconut and mix together.
Sprinkle on top of apples, and cook in a medium oven until lightly browned.

Here it is ready to go in the oven. We didn't have any coconut, so I just left it out, and it turned out fine.
Served with some still warm home made custard, and it didn't last long!


MyThreeDaughters said...

Wow, I love hearing what text book you had in high school. We used "Cookery The Australia(n) Way".

Nikki said...

I was just cooking apples today and thinking about those apple slinky machines, I was going to come post to the forums asking if anyone had one...before I did the apples I clicked on preserving in your blog labels, so the first thing I read when I came to the computer was...apple slinky machine LOL! I love the video, especially where she drops it on the floor at the end ROFL! Methinks I must definitely get one!

Rinelle said...

The apple machine is GREAT! I can't recomend it highly enough. Cutting up apples used to be one of those hated chores, and it would totally put me off making apple crumble, but not anymore.

As a note as well, I opened the last of the jars of apple a day or two ago, and made up some apple crumble. Still good, even after 5 months! They were sealed in a pop-top jar and in the fridge, but still, I think that's a pretty good shelf life for something that hasn't been preserved in a hot bath.