Monday, 20 October 2014

Food: Vintage Apple Pie Recipe

Apple Pies

It's more than possible that I blog about apple pies every autumn, but seriously they are one of my favorite things about the season especially when you pick them yourself like we did on our last trip to the orchard. But I also grew up with apple trees in the back garden so half the fun was being a tomboy and climbing them but also getting to help pick them every autumn, wrapping them up for over the winter and all the apple pies and crumbles we could eat.

Modern recipes for apple pies are far too fancy for my liking, they always to make such a song and dance out of a relatively easy recipe. So I always reach for a recipe that's in one of my favorite vintage cookbooks - The Boston School of Cooking Cookbook. It's a very well loved, a little tattered and worn but essential cookbook in my collection. It has both my go to recipe for plain pastry and for apple pies (which I love playing around and adjusting). 

Apple Pie Recipe

While this recipe is pretty simple, that doesn't mean it can't be jazzed up, I always through in a cup or two of raspberries into each pie and I'm sure brambles or raisins would taste just as good too. But this recipe is to much of my favorite to not share again (with some adjustments from the last time it was posted).

Old good fashioned apple pie

6 medium apples - eating or cooking
2 cups of raspberries
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Line bottom of your pie tin with pastry and cut off any excess pastry from around the edges. Peel, core and cute apples into small bite sized pieces and mix in the raspberries. Dump them both into your pastry lined pie tin. Separately mix the sugar, cinnamon, all spice salt and lemon juice together and sprinkle over your apple/raspberry mix. Cut up your tablespoon of butter and dot it around the top.

Wet the edges of your pie and roll out/take your pie top and lay over, covering the pie. Press the edges together. Cut a little vent in the top of the pie and glaze with a little bit of milk so the crust goes lovely and golden.

Bake at 450F on the lowest shelf for 10 minutes then reduce to 350F for 45 - 60 minutes on the middle shelf.

Going by how many apples we still have left, this recipe will be getting used for many more pies in the next month or so. It's that good and never lasts long around here.

But the big, all important question is, what do you serve your apple pie with? Custard, cream, ice cream?

Blogger Tricks

Friday, 17 October 2014

LIFE: 30 Before 30


On the eve of my tenth birthday I remember walking home, wondering if life would be any different with my age in double figures. Waking up the next day and taking the walk to school, I realized everything remained the same. Ten year old me probably imagined I would feel different turning 28 with all the responsibility being 28 entails - things a ten year old probably couldn't really comprehend. Now that I'm 28, yeah nothing has really changed.

In a little under two years, I turn the big 3.0. The least said about this is probably for the better. But at least Joe reaches that dizzy height in little over 6 months so he can tell me how scary it actually is. Anyway, I thought I'd jump on the old *insert number here* before *insert age number here* wagon and have myself do some challenges.

And I actually came up with 30 of them;
  1. do a 365 photo challenge
  2. visit falling waters (pa)
  3. decorate the bathroom 
  4. establish a butterfly garden
  5. read 101 books I've never read before while doing my yearly goodreads challenge
  6. complete a blog every day for a month challenge
  7. get my own blog url and prob change the blog name again 
  8. strip wood paneling from the back room
  9. reach 1000 blog readers 
  10. learn to drive
  11. visit the motown museum 
  12. read gone with the wind
  13. get business cards (for blog and/or store)
  14. visit cedar point (oh) 
  15. learn to knit 
  16. try 10 new (to me) whiskeys
  17. visit canada 
  18. get another tattoo
  19. bake something using pumpkin
  20. get the house wallpaper free
  21. grow and eat something from my veg patch 
  22. embrace a more organic/green eating, products and lifestyle 
  23. try at least one new recipe a month
  24. crochet a new blanket 
  25. add 10 new pieces to my embroidery hoop wall
  26. put up a bat box
  27. make a wreath 
  28. add 20 vintage powder compacts to my collection
  29. successfully grow a plant from a cutting 
  30. work on self confidence // self love
None of them are out of the way things, hopefully things I'd be achieving anyway, this is just a way to remember what I want to have achieved by then. I want my list to be realists (like no "visit 5 countries" because lets face it, I don't have the money to do that).

Two weeks into life as a 28 year old, I'm already still on task with my photo a day challenge (basically disguised in my instagram uploads), I have a plant growing from a cutting (yey), I've read one new book (The Lodger) and tried three new recipes this month (including the raspberry cake - my late birthday cake) already.

No doubt I'll be blogging about them over the next coming two years and I'll actually get around to ticking off a few of them!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

TRAVEL: Dear Michigan

Cooke Dam

Oh Michigan, you funny little state you. You are a piece of land where your populace describes where they live using their hands. Where you can live happily in the thumb and the UP is more than a direction. It's a state of odd sounding and weirdly spelled place and road names, of Mackinaw, Mackinac, Ypsilanti to Dequindre and Schonherr. You know it's a place you call home when A2 makes sense as a city name, people argue over where "up north" actually begins, and you know that Hell freezes over when winter rolls around and it's down the street.

Of course you like to trick outsiders when calling liquor stores a party store but those are for insider giggles. Just like calling soda, pop and Vernor's ginger ale sits in our cupboards for both beverage and medicinal reasons. Call Michigan home and you know the difference between a coney and a chili dog, where people queue for hours for a paczki when pancake day rolls round and you prefer a coffee from Biggby over Starbucks any day of the week.

Harbor Springs

It's a land where road trips can be undertaken in the fall just as an excuse to see the changing tree colours and what a beautiful sight they are. Summertime can be spent along the coastline, a state with the most lighthouses (116 of them) in America, with grand sand dunes, clear waters and national forests. Yet any trip probably involves many a Michigan left and avoiding all those potholes our state seems to pride itself in and the elected don't want to agree to fix. Only the winter brings relief in filling said potholes for those chilly months with snow. Only for them to be even worse when spring rolls around.

The Michigan Left (source)

Michigan, you are a state which pits Detroit against everyone else, Detroit is the states downfall, it's Detroit against the lawmakers, Detroit against it's own suburbs, Detroit against Michigan. And even if your not a huge sports fan, it's always Michigan verses Ohio. Ohio you can thank us later for those algae blooms as we thank you for being close enough for Yuengling supply trips.

That's not to say you're all a jolly state dear MI. I always wonder how a state can go from being so darn cold to being so humid months later. Your politics could do with working on, and well actually getting things ya know, done. Lets face it those roads won't fix themselves. Plus lets not forget the underlying racism, sexism and homophobia that still hangs around.  

Mac City

Empty your pockets and you'll find just as much Canadian coinage as American but you may never stepped over the boarder. But leave the state and the Pure Michigan signs welcome you back like you never left.

You may have been the state were pop/soda was invented, the home of the first traffic light, state-fair and typewriter. It's the only place in the world with a floating post office (yes really - it even has it's own zip code), singing sand, the worlds largest tire, crucifix and weather vane. Home of the automobile and Motown, well Michigan, you don't like to brag about any of it really. 


Your beauty and places rarely feature on anyone's bucket list. Your cities and Midwest rust belt towns might not attract the thrill seeking tourists, those which crave New York City or Disney who never travel to find the real America outside the bright lights.

Yet that gives us, those that call Michigan home the excuse to keep it's beauty our little secret.

Monday, 13 October 2014

LIFE: #PhotoAnHour on an October Day

Thanks to a lovely reminder from Louisa, I've managed to take part in another #PhotoAnHour tag along. Like the month previous, it happened to be on another Saturday that we took off from hitting estate sales. Still I took the time to get my hands dirty in the garden and enjoy a bit of a work break. Having just signed up for instagram a little over a week ago, I've been messing around with camera/photograph apps. I had been trying out snapseed but their filters just seem a little too dramatic. So all of these use VSCO filters which I'm preferring, mind you I should probably just stick to one filter to make them all feel samey. 


10 am // lie ins on a Saturday morning are typically rare, so I think my body was rather ready for one with the result of sleeping pretty much through until 10 am. A bright sunny autumnal morning was already in full swing as the view through my kitchen blinds shows you. 

11 am // after spending most of Thursday and Friday trying to work out that band "that sounded like the editors, circa 2005 but not as miserable" I finally remembered it was the departure and needed to get my fix. I was working in the garden and my trusty samsung mp3 (or maybe mp4 I donno) player (which is probably as old as the album - I think I had it at uni) always comes outside with me. Anyway, my love for 2005 British indie rock still runs deep. 

12 pm // One of my big jobs in the garden was a bit of a weeding session - I actually hate weeding. It's as bad as folding the laundry after doing a wash. But it's one of those things that needs to be done. Garden looks all the nicer for it too mind.

1 pm // A hungry stomach calls so a quick break of a cheese toastie and playing one of our favorite bands - Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Racketts.


2 pm // Time to tidy up - one full bin and one full bag of garden waste for the city to take away come Monday. (hey look at me being grown up with a garage too). Hmm so what did I get up to in the garden bar weeding I can hear you ask. Well I stuck in some more border edging, made a border somewhere else, dug up, separated and transplanted some grasses around and did some pruning. I like to pretend to know what i'm talking about ... i'm just making up this gardening lark as I go along.

3 pm // Having a much needed brew out of my Star Trek mug and having a quick read - a book I actually won via Goodreads advanced book giveaways. The Bones of Paris is a thriller set in late 1920's (you guessed it) Paris and while i've only just started it, so far so good.


4 pm // traveling north on the freeway heading to the postie office. We might have moved five miles south and to another city but we still drive to the same post office mainly for the self service machines (which actually seem to confuse so many people). Anyways, gorgeous blue skies on the old i-75. Actually this is the bridge that the HUGE puddle was around this August that you might remember from my great flood post. Luckily it was dry today because I don't own a boat.

5 pm // getting online, poking tweetdeck, watching Captain Piccard in Star Trek TNG on BBC America. For some reason our TV looks really small, it's not and excuse my messy coffee table.


6 pm // Simmering up a chicken tomato (and onion, always gotta throw in onion) balti curry. I can't say i've made this recipe before and it turned out rather tasty if I do say so myself. All homemade too, it's a bit of a thing of mine.

7 pm // Finding things i'd forgotten about under the coffee table. The Beatrix Potter Alphabet cross stitch chart was a find at an estate sale a good couple (or even more) weeks ago. Eventually i'll get around to stitching one (or two ... or more) of them. They are too cute not too.

So there you have it, the rest of the night was spent watching more TNG until Dr Who came on and pretty much writing up this post and catching up on some blog reading.

If you're interested in tagging along next time make sure to follow Jane on either twitter or via her blog for the next #photoanhour date.

So tell me, how was your weekend?