I've now made a dozen pairs of wrist-warmers and love doing them. The pattern is in my head and as soon as I've finished one colour combination, I can't wait to start another. But I think that's enough for now. A dozen pairs should suffice to begin with. So I'm back on a scarf, but rapidly running out of lovely soft felting wool.
This is probably boring because everything looks similar at the moment but I love working with these colours. I'm inspired by the shades of autumn, Persian carpets and traditional costumes of women from the Caucasus. I imagine the interiors of yurts and painted wooden houses with strong warm colours...Perfect for autumn.
I'm still trying to read Lucas but finding it a struggle. I suppose after reading Steinbeck whose one of my favourite authors it's not surprising. I keep picking it up and giving it a go but put it back down again. I read the gushing comments on the cover by Kit Spring of the Observer and Adele Geras of the Guardian and wonder what they see, that I don't. And wonder if I'm being overly critical, after all this was written for young adults. I'm going to keep going and read at least two chapters before I decide whether or not to give up.
I think I'm still in the apple orchards with Jim and Max. Steinbeck's characters always get in my head so much. Like Doc in my favourite Cannery Row. I love the way he writes about ordinary people, those that often get overlooked, even looked down upon. In Dubious Battle, along with mum's apple strudel even inspired my apple pie recipe....It's amazing how that book has influenced so many meals recently...
To make my windfall Apple pie you will need:
For the pastry:
- Eight ounces of plain flour
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- Four ounces of butter
- One large egg
- A tablespoonful of honey
For the filling:
- Lots of apples as I like to have a pie that's packed full of fruit. I had about three or four pounds of windfall apples. I don't know what they were because I foraged them from a tree on free land.
- A cup of raisins
- Natural red grape juice
- Maple syrup
- A cardamom pod
Plus a pie tin approx. 20cm/8in
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
- Cut up the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Beat the egg reserving a little of it to glaze the pastry before baking. Add a big spoonful of honey to the rest, stirring well.
- Make a well in the breadcrumb-like flour and gradually pour the egg/honey mixture in, drawing the mixturemtogether to form a soft dough. Add a little chilled water if necessary.
- Wrap the pastry in butter-paper or baking parchment and leave to chill while preparing the filling.
- Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a saucepan and add maple syrup or honey to sweeten and a little cinnamon, raisins, grape juice and the seeds from a cardamom pod.
- Cook until the apples are soft, the raisins have plumped up and absorbed most of the lovely juices.
- Leave to cool.
Making the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 180c.
- Grease the pie tin. Cut the pastry in half, re-wrapping half and returning it to chill. Flour the work surface and roll out the other half until it's a little larger than the pie tin, remembering that it has to cover the sides and lip of the tin.
- Line the pie tin. Bake the pie blind for about five or so minutes until it's beginning to cook, but still soft. This will prevent the pie having a soggy bottom.
- Remove from the oven and fill with the apple mixture packing it well into the base.
- Cut out the second half of the pastry to form a top.
- Brush the edge of the filled pie with a little egg around the lip. Attach the lid and trim, crimping the edges together . Cut a couple of little slits in the top. Decorate and then glaze with the remaining egg.
- Return to the oven and bake for about twenty minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling bubbling hot...mmm...
I love this pie because it has all the flavour of mum's apple strudel but with crumbly buttery shortcrust pastry. Great for this time of year.
I wonder if anyone else gets inspiration from what they're reading...
...I'm joining with ginny of small things for yarn along today...