Everyone loves apple pie, if you don’t then I will eat it as I love it, providing there’s no cinnamon in it!

What will make this pie taste even more delicious is to use your own, homegrown apples picked fresh from your own trees. I am beginning to slaver just thinking about that.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g butter or 100g butter and 100g lard
  • 4 tbsp. ice cold water

Filling

  • 1.5-2.0kg apples preferably Bramley. Peeled, de-cored and cut into slices

    Use whatever apples you have grown

  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp. water

Ingredients Shortcrust Pastry

  • 400g Plain flour
  • 100g Lard at room temperature
  • 100g Butter at room temperature
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4tbsp. Ice cold water

Method Shortcrust Pastry

  1. Sieve the salt and flour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the lard and butter into small manageable pieces and add to the flour in the bowl.
  3. With a round edged knife (butter knife is good for this) mix the ingredients together until they are fairly mixed together. Then with your fingertips lightly rub the ingredients together until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  4. Sprinkle 1tbsp. of cold water over the ingredients and rub in.
  5. Repeat until you have used the water then with the knife bring the ingredients together to make a dough. You want the dough that’s not to sticky or dry so you may have to add or reduce the water you use.
  6. Finally with your fingertips once more, bring the dough together to form a smooth dough. Add cold water if needed as you bring the dough together.
  7. Put the dough in a plastic bag or Clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. This is important as it gives the dough time to get more elastic, making it easier to roll out.
  8. After 30 minutes roll out to the desired size on a floured surface.

Method Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C or gas Mark 5.
  2. Put the apples and sugar into a large mixing bowl and mix together.
  3. Get a large pie tin or ovenproof plate and grease.
  4. Take the dough out of the fridge and cut in half. Roll one half out on a floured surface. You want the pastry to be slightly bigger than the tin or

    Rolling out the shortcrust pastry

    plate.

  5. Gently put the pastry on the tin pressing down into all the nooks and crannies. Trim away the edges and brush the edge with milk.
  6. Take the apples and spread them all over the base leaving about 2cm’s free at the edge so you can seal the pie.
  7. Roll out the 2nd half of pastry. Again you want the pastry to be slightly bigger than the plate.
  8. Carefully put the pastry over a plate

    Place the lid over the apples and press it down at the edges making a seal. Trim away the edges then with your fingers finish it off by crimping the edges all way round sealing the apples in.

  9. Make 3 slits on top of the lid so steam can escape. Brush the finished pie with milk then put in the oven.

    With a knife, carefully remove any excess pastry

    Ready for the oven

  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is a golden colour. Remove and leave to cool before serving with ice cream, custard or cream.

 

 

 

 

 

We all know about climate change. The use of products that produce dangerous gases and pollute the air we breathe, resulting in warmer temperatures. But do many of you know how you can do just a little bit which will make a big impact to the climate and environment around you?

Turning off unwanted electrical items like chargers and computers, walking or cycling instead of using the car, planting trees and growing your own vegetables. All these things can be done quite easily, but will make a big change to the way in which we all live.

Below is a small list of things one can do to live a greener life but there are many more things one can do.

  • When making coffee or tea use enough water for the number of cups you need.
  • Make sure the pan you are using is the right size for the job and the ring you are going to use on the cooker.
  • How about making your own meals instead of shop brought rubbish? Making your own meals means you know exactly what goes into them. If you use your own home-grown veg, fruit, herbs and other edible items, you will have a great tasting, healthy meal.
  • Always open the windows around the house to let in fresh air and dispel any old, stale air which can be bad for you. Even in winter a few minutes makes a difference.
  • Never leave the TV, satellite receiver or any other electrical device on standby. Leaving it on standby means you are still using electricity to keep it on standby and raising your electricity bills.
  • Planting trees is an excellent way of helping the planet deal with pollutants which we pump into the air like carbon monoxide and turn it into oxygen which we need.
  • Never buy bottled water. Yes it is an invaluable source in emergency situations where the local supply has been cut off or contaminated, BUT there are ways for these companies to distribute water without using plastic. Cardboard cartons and bottles is one way in which they could distribute water needed in times of disaster. Plus the transporting and making is incredibly expensive and bad for the environment.
  • Growing your own food like vegetables, fruit and herbs are another great way for you to live greener lives and conserve the environment. Not using pesticides will greatly improve the air and the soil in which you have planted your vegetables and they will taste delicious too.
  • Conserving rain water is a great way of living a green life and there are many ways in which one could utilise the collected water. First off is the garden. Water the plants, trees, and all those vegetables with rain water which is free from chlorine, fluorides and other chemicals water companies pump into our drinking water. Some plants like Venus Fly Traps should only be watered with rain water as the chemicals in drinking water will rot and kill it outright. Other good ways for using rainwater is the toilet and if you can have the correct filters in place, the shower.
  • Composting. When you are preparing your vegetables and fruit why not have a small compost bin in the kitchen with a lid on. When it’s full take it outside and put that waste into a compost bin. This will rot down over time thanks to the beneficial insects and worms, leaving you with beautiful compost which you can use in your garden. The plants will thank you for it too.
  • Try to recycle as much as you can. From paper to plastic, metals and even batteries can be recycled. No longer working electrical items like fridges and freezers can all be recycled. Furniture you no longer require and old clothes can be recycled to. Just give the local charity shop a ring or go visit them and see if they will collect you’re unwanted items. I save some containers to use in and around the house and in the garden. Old yoghurt pots can be great emergency plant pots, so can tin cans. Plastic egg cartons can be used as seed trays. If they have a lid then you have a mini propagator. Just think about it, the possibilities for recycling are endless.
  • When washing clothes use the coldest setting possible and try to hang them up to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Bad for the environment and the pocket.
  • Other more common things to do to live a greener life include leaving the car at home instead replacing it with either walking, cycling or getting public transport to work and wherever else you may be going. If you need to use the car make sure it is as environmentally friendly as possible and always make sure the tyres are at the correct pressure. Turn off lights when not needed and even turning down the thermometer by 1 degree makes a difference.

As one can see these changes are nothing major, most of them you will already know and, hopefully already implement. But they will make a big difference to the environment and climate, especially if everyone practices these simple procedures. It’s not hard or even rocket science, just common sense.

I have recently written an article on Getting Rid Of Dust Inside A Computer. To read it click HERE.

Dust can be a killer if left inside your pc, so regular cleaning inside will not only make it run cooler, it will prolong it’s life. It’s also simple to do.

After you’re hard work in the garden with the vegetables, it’s only right that you prepare and cook them all and make some delicious meals.

The following recipe is just perfect after all your fruits of your labours in the garden.

If you are having a dinner party and some of the guests are vegetarians then this pie is for them. But even if you or you’re friend aren’t vegetarian, the delicious tasting pie will go down a treat.

FenchelIngredients

2 garlic cloves

1 large onion

                     1 red & 1 green pepper

1 aubergine

1 egg plant

1 fenchel

1 squash

    4 tomatoes

                                                                                Olive oil

                                                                                             Sprigs of thyme

                                                                                   Puff pastry

Fenchel (pic above) is lovely, it tastes like aniseed and I think it looks like a heart with all the valves coming from it!!! Not very nice for a veg is it!!

Method

· Preheat the oven on 200C or gas mark 6.

· Peel the onion and cut into quarters.

· Peel the garlic and cut into halves.

· Cut peppers and aubergines into halves.

· Cut the eggplant and fenchel into smallish pieces.

· Cut the squash into half-moons.

· Cut the tomatoes into quarters.

· Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes in the oven on baking paper, doused with thyme and olive oil.

· Take the puff pastry and roll out. Make it so it’s bigger than a large oven-proof plate as you will need to fold the edges over.

· Grease the plate then cover with the pastry.

· Remove the veg from the oven when they are cooked. Turn the oven down to 180C or gas mark 4.

· Carefully place the veg in the middle of the dough creating a hill.

· Fold the dough over the vegetables but don’t worry if the edges don’t meet and you can see the vegetables.

· Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden coloured and looks flaky. During the last 10 minutes of cooking cover the pie with tin foil.

Serve with boiled potatoes grown in your garden for a really delicious meal.

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