Ok, has it really been 7 weeks since I've last posted?! Really??? Seriously, I can't quite believe it myself, but summer and time have both just gone by so quickly, I feel like I've barely caught up with it all. I know we've been away in France from mid July until the beginning of August but since...well, I'm not even sure what has happened to be honest.
I mean, coming back from France was hard this time. Basically, I didn't want to. We were tucked away in a lovely farm house, surrounded by nature and only a small village nearby. The main noise came from birds. We spent days reading and exploring the countryside and evenings eating, drinking wine and talking. I hadn't relaxed like this in years. So just the thought of returning to noisy South London at the end of it filled me with dread. That's right, I really dreaded coming back. London being just a little more crowded than the French countryside (you know, just a bit...) does of course mean that we don't have a big old farmhouse with acres of land around it. I know it sounds strange after only two weeks, but I needed to seriously readjust to being back in a terraced house feeling our neighbours are rather too close for comfort.
So it took me a while to not just physically but also mentally come back. Then came the emails. The dreaded "post holiday" email inbox. Not that it necessarily means that it's all bad news, far from it, but it truly ends the holiday with a certainty I could really do without. You know, it's like coming right back down to earth with a big, unpleasant thump. Anyways, the emails resulted in work (which is great!) and from that work came more work (double great!), so I really have nothing to complain about. And I'm not. I'm finally getting to where I want to be with the jobs I want to do.
Unfortunately disaster struck in our house and we discovered that we had dry rot which had to be removed. Remember my wall with all the shelving? Yep, it all had to come down, part of the plaster was then ripped off, floor boards removed, and the same (except for the shelving) repeated on the kitchen wall. Whilst this hasn't exactly stopped me in my tracks, it has added a layer of discomfort, chaos, builder's dust and general un-settledness that I could really do without. The living room still looks like it's been hit by a bomb with everything that used to be on the shelves stored in every corner and all over the floors. It's the kind of chaos that affects my concentration and makes me short-tempered. Now I don't have a choice but to wait for the plaster (and concrete underneath) to be completely dried through before I can repaint the walls and our go-to carpenter will be round to re-install all the shelving. I know I'll feel a little more normal (whatever that means) once everything is back in its place...
Right now, writing this, I'm coughing away, sneezing and generally feeling pretty rubbish due to some sort of summer flu or cold. Whatever it is, it's not great when you're freezing whilst it's actually 28C outside. Though this too shall pass...
Anyway, all the above means that this little corner has suffered a bit, more than a bit actually. I'm still cooking/baking when I have time and I still take photos, but I then seem to lack the time or energy to edit the images and put them all into a post! This is pretty much what happened with this pie. I made this blueberry and apple pie...er...two or three weeks ago? I took the pictures, we ate the pie, I had planned to do a post very quickly but then work got in the way. Which is of course a good thing, or not, I guess that depends on your viewpoint.
To cut a long story short, here's finally the recipe for the pie. It's actually nothing super special in itself, but I've paired it with a goat's cheese and honey cream which tasted amazing - in my opinion. Monsieur (being way more traditional than me) preferred his with simple single cream. Oh, and to avoid the crust shrinking like mine, put the dish with the rolled out crust into the fridge for half an hour before baking. Yes, I should have done that but completely forgot whilst taking pictures.
For the pie crust:
- 300g plain flour
- 130g cold butter, cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ca. 100ml very cold water
- 1 egg to brush the pie
For the filling:
- 450g fresh blackberries
- 3 apples
- 50g flour
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
For the cream:
- 125g soft goat's cheese
- 200g double cream
- 3 tbsp honey
How it's done:
- put the flour and salt into a bowl and mix
- add the butter cubes and work them into the flour with your hands until you have a crumbly texture
- add the water spoon-by-spoon until the dough comes together but isn't sticky
- form into a ball, wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for at least half an hour
- peel the apples and chop them into chunky pieces then put them into a large bowl
- add the blackberries
- mix the flour and sugar together then add to the apples and blackberries
- mix everything together taking care not to bash the blackberries too much
- take the dough out of the fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface
- line your pie dish and keep some dough aside to cut out the lattice strips
- fill the dish with the apple/blueberry mix
- preheat your oven to 200C
- pop the whole thing back into the fridge whilst cutting out the strips
- whisk the egg with a fork
- arrange the strips on top of the pie and stick them down on the edges with the egg wash
- cut any excess off the edge and brush the whole surface with the egg wash
- put the pie into the oven
- after 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 175C and bake for a further 45-50 minutes or until golden on top
- to make the goat's cheese - honey cream mix together the cheese and honey
- whisk the double cream until you have soft peaks
- now put the cheese/honey mix into the cream and fold together