Thursday, 18 November 2010
A little story . . .
It had been a very difficult for the Brown family. The washing machine had broken down, the car had gotten a flat tire and Dad had had to struggle with fixing it in the pouring rain, nine year old Stephen had fallen on the playground at school and given his knees a nasty scrape, and his sister Katie, age five, had come home from school with her blouse all covered in paint and glue.
Tempers were a little frayed and patience was worn quite thin by the time they awoke on Saturday morning. Everyone was feeling tired and more than a little fed up. Mum decided that she was going to do something about it, determined that the end to their week was going to be a lot better than the beginning.
A beautiful golden sun hung in the bright blue sky and the day had the promise of being beautiful, dry and warm. With a little preparation and coaxing she decided to organize a picnic and before too long they all climbed into the car and headed out into the countryside.
What a lovely day they had, filled with laughter, good food and even better company. The picnic was a huge success and a fitting compensation for the frustrating week they'd all just experienced . . . all the angst having soon been put behind them and forgotten. This lovely day together also helped each of them to be able to happily face the week ahead.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
"Life isn't meant to be easy, my child, but take courage, it can be delightful."
and I might add that it is never more so than after we have been through a particularly bad spell. How much more we all appreciate the good times when we have been through a rough patch.
Only one more sleep until I get my new stove. I can hardly wait! Baking will be a lot easier then, and all of my pans will finally fit in the oven!
My sister has always been a greatly accomplished baker! She has always made beautiful cakes and pies and cookies. Where I was always really good at putting together the meat of the meal . . . she was always really good at putting together the dessert. So, between the two of us, we made two halves of a whole! (and nobody went hungry!)
*Danish Apple Bars*
This is a recipe my sister shared with me many moons ago. It’s like Apple pie, only better and somewhat easier to manage, for some strange reason. This pastry is very forgiving. Your family and guests will thank you for these, over and over again. These are best served warm, with some cold vanilla ice cream melting on top!
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (Such as Crisco or Trex or White flora)
1 egg, beaten, with enough milk added to make 2/3 cup in total
6 tart apples, peeled and sliced (I Like to use Granny Smith apples)
1 cup cornflakes, crushed with your hands (secret ingredient)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 cup caster sugar
1 TBS ground cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 beaten egg to glaze the pastry before baking
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Beat the egg and milk together and stir in with a fork until well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it all comes together and is smooth. Divide in half, wrap in cling film and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Peel and slice the apples. Mix the sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. If you like you can also add the finely grated zest of a lemon. Mix well.
Roll out half the pastry, on a floured board, in a rectangle shaped to fit into a 9 inch by 15 inch pan. Line the pan with this. Crush the cornflakes evenly over the bottom with your hands and then cover evenly with the sliced apple mixture, pouring any juices that have accumulated over top.
Roll out the other half of the pastry to fit on top and place over the top of the apples. Roll edges together and press shut. I like to crimp it attractively all around. Brush the top with an egg wash and bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour,or until nicely browned, the bottom is done and the apples are soft and cooked. Remove from the oven and let cook for about 10 minutes before glazing.
To make the glaze combine all the ingredients together, sifting the icing sugar to remove any lumps first. Drizzle over the top.
Serve warm in nice big squares with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yummy!
On The English Kitchen today, Ultimate Cheese On Toast.