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Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.

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Baby bear has been having a love/hate relationship with blackberries – or ‘grapes’ as he insists on calling them. He is incredibly excited that he can find food on branches outside, and does not discriminate between any colour of berry at all. He will even try the odd leaf, smile at me and say ‘mmmmmmmmmm’. What he is much less keen on are the thorns, and no matter how many times he gets prickled, the expression is still the same; a sort of ‘Huh?! What the hell just happened to my hand?’ type face. But his enthusiasm combined with the beautiful field beside the Bears house, means we now have a huge glut of blackberries, and have been making blackberry jam a plenty.

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Some of the jam was experimented with in Apple bear-y cakes with a blackberry jam filling and a custard buttercream frosting. Honestly, they were like Autumn in a mouthful! And gone so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to grab the camera, which I feel speaks volumes about their deliciousness!

The rest of the jam is in jars in my fridge, and has presented the perfect opportunity for some experimental bread baking. I wanted to make something which had an autumnal feel to it (Silly, I know, as this encompasses the whole genre of bread really!) but what I settled on were Wholemeal rolls with poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, golden linseed,  chopped walnuts, raisins and dried apple –  a type of Autumn muesli breakfast roll. Which as it turns out is perfect for    filling with butter and spreading with blackberry jam!

I used Allinson Premium wholemeal very strong bread flour, and followed the recipe on the back, adding in handfuls of the seeds, nuts and dried fruit once the dough had been mixed. I split the dough into five pieces, rolled each segment into a long sausage, then tied it in a knot and tucked the ends underneath. Leave it to rise for 40 minutes and then brush with an egg wash before popping in the oven et voilà, as soon as they look golden on top and have a hollow knock on the base, they’re ready to be devoured by hungry Bears!

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I’ve just seen Nigel Slater make a blackberry sauce to go with roast pork, now there’s an idea for the next basketful of berries. Provided Baby Bear stops eating all the unripe red ones on the bushes first!

Mummy Bear x

…all these autumn leaves are yours tonight.

...all these autumn leaves are yours tonight.

Part of me is still desperately mourning the loss of the summer that never really got started. The other part is ridiculously excited about autumn baking, bonfire night, woolly scarves and fireworks!

This is one such autumn inspired bake – A toffee apple cake. Its a toffee sponge, with chunks of toffee in, filled with apple preserve and then topped with a spiced apple buttercream and toffee sauce.

It is also very much a cheats cake – the actual sponge was a Wrights packet mix. (Please, don’t judge me. It was on offer in ASDA!) The buttercream I did create myself however – Its 250g unsalted butter, 500g icing sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon about 1/2 cup of apple preserve and 2 tbsp of whole milk.

And now the Bears are off to go Blackberry picking – Autumn is awesome!

Mummy Bear x

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