Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apple Butter Bonanza

So it's a long weekend and it's pissing rain...what a perfect weekend for some canning I say. Although I wouldn't normally say that since I've never canned before however I had the food network on in the background this morning and saw out of the corner of my eye on "Chuck's day off" that he was whipping up a batch of apple butter and I suddenly thought what a perfect rainy day project!

Unfortunately I did not actually catch how Chuck, if that is in fact his name was making the apple butter since I think I got distracted somewhere between a dog needing to go for a walk and a 1 year old boy spilling milk all over the place. But a quick google search came up with many recipes to choose from including basic how-to canning instructions for the canning illiterate.

So after comparing many online recipes and canning instructions I decided to base my apple butter on the recipe from Simply Recipes.

Apple butter makes a perfect spread for toast, grilled sandwiches or crackers. Or even better give as a gift next time you visit a relative or friend.

Apple Butter
adapted slightly from SimplyRecipes
(makes about 4 jars)

4 lbs of granny Smith Apples
2 cups sugar
2-3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

1. Cut apples into quarters and place in pot with water and vinegar.

2. Boil for about 20 minutes or until soft.

3. Remove apples from vinegar/water solution and puree in a blender or food processor.

4. At this point I strained the puree to get ride of the remaining seeds and skin from the apples.

5. Place puree back in a pot and add spices, lemon juice and lemon rind. Boil, stirring frequently for 1-2 hours or until dark in colour.

Now the Canning begins!!

Proper canning instructions can be found here but basically what I did was place 4 jars without their lids in a 420 degree F oven for 20 minutes and I washed the lids with soapy water.

Next I placed the apple butter into the jars straight from the oven and I screwed the lids on tight.

Then I placed the 4 jars into a big pot of boiling water which was deep enough to cover the lids for about 10 minutes.

According to online resources I checked the lids were now sealed. And the lids were not "popping" and so I assumed they were officially canned properly.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dad's Cheese Scones

One of my all time favourite breakfast foods is scones...soft and fluffy on the inside with a little crunch on the outside, hot from the oven with some melted butter and sweet jam slathered on. It's always a nice way to wake up, especially if someone else has made them of course.

My dad loves to cook up a full breakfast on the weekends and scones is one of his specialties. Whenever I go to my parents for a visit he always whips up a batch of muffins or scones for us and it's always fantastic. You can tell by the recipe below that it's a goody due to the discoloured and stained paper. 

So even though I'm a terrible baker I finally decided to borrow his recipe and give it a go. I shredded in some sharp white cheddar cheese to make them savoury but you could easily use the recommended currants that the recipe suggests. This recipe is pretty foolproof since they worked out well even for me. Enjoy!

Cheese Scones
from the archives of Richard Wey

1/3 cup butter or margarine
13/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp sugar
21/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or currants)
4 to 6 Tbsp cream (I used homo milk)
1 egg

Using 2 knives and a medium size bowl, cut the butter into the bowl until crumbly. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Stir in beaten eggs and currants (or cheese). Add cream gradually and mix in. 

Using a floured surface, knead about 12 times. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness.

Cut in shapes and put on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Brush each with a beaten egg. 

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.