It's easy to get too bogged down into the current doom and gloom that seems to dominate the news headlines these days. Think about it too much, and you can't snap out of it. I spoke about this a couple of weeks back - miserabilism I called it - and it is highly infectious.
So today I want to break free of the miserable chains and concentrate on some positive energy. Don't worry; I'm not going all new age on you and about to start rubbing the birth stones. But I am a great believer that if you think positive thoughts, get active and feed yourself properly, you will naturally feel better about yourself.
This week's post is dedicated to 2 special friends who have been through a few years of turmoil and stress, and who this week have finally turned their lives around. Mick and Sarah Craven in Wakefield had 6 months old Josh brought into their lives recently and they are now just the proudest parents of this beautiful boy. And because they let me pillage their apple trees last month when I was visiting, I just had to make the biggest apple and Cheddar pie which, despite being 80 miles north of Wakefield, was consumed with them firmly in mind. It was delicious.
Josh is so cool that already he has subscribed to my magazine Flavour - that engrossed expression on his face is him reading my recipes, honest. And anybody cringing at the thought of savoury cheese mixed with sweet apple please don’t. This flavour combination is as old as the hills and is one of those things you just have to try once in your life.
I don't normally write posts like this, preferring to concentrate on the food. But when people deserve a little nod of respect then they deserve it, and this nod goes to the Cravens 3 who I know are going to be the happiest and hippest family in town. Enjoy your lives my lovely mates - and enjoy a virtual slice of this perfect pie. x
For the pastry
125g salted butter
250g self raising flour
50g strong Cheddar, grated
For the filling
2kg apples - I used lots of Bramley for sharpness but it is your choice
1 tsp cinnamon
A handful of sultanas
100g soft brown sugar
1 - Pre-heat the oven to GM4, 180C.
2 - To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Put in the cheese and pulse. Finally, drop in the egg and pulse and begin to drizzle in cold water until it comes together into a ball. This can all be done by hand too. Wrap in Clingfilm and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
3 - While the pastry is resting, peel and core the apples. Cut in half then slice into 1cm slices and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, sultanas and sugar and combine thoroughly.
4 - Butter and line a 20cm spring form cake tin. Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut off 1 third and leave aside. Roll out the larger piece of pastry and line the cake tin, leaving the excess hanging over the sides. Pile in the apple mixture, pressing down gently.
5 - Roll out the remaining piece of pastry. Beat an egg and dampen the edges of the pie. Place the pastry over and press down the edges with a fork or thumb. Cut off the excess and make optional decorations for your pie.
6 - Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, poke a couple of holes into the centre to allow steam to escape and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake on the middle shelf for 45-60 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
7 - Allow to cool slightly then serve in large slices with cream, ice cream or crème fraice.