I’ve never thought of myself as a good cook.
Even a just a couple of years ago I still said how much I disliked cooking. Cooking didn’t come easily to me, and even when my meals came mostly out of a box or jar, I still found the whole caper difficult and frustrating.
Having kids can do funny things to a person. One of the funny things it did to me was make me think a lot more about the stuff we shovelled in our mouths on a daily basis. Combining that with a tighter than tight budget and suddenly cooking became way more important than I had ever let it be in the past. Suddenly I found myself not only wanting to cook things, but wanting to cook things from scratch (no more dinner in a box for us) and actually enjoying it.
I gives me an odd sense of pride to know that I can make my own tortillas and taco seasoning. I get a huge buzz out of the fact that our pizzas are made on bases that I mixed and made with my own hands (well ok, technically the bread machine does most of the mixing) and that my girls have home made treats in their school lunch boxes.
I still don’t think I am a particularly great cook, and I still have way more than my fair share of disasters in the kitchen, but I am improving.
In the past, even following a recipe carefully still didn’t guarantee an edible result. Back then, there was no way I would ever have been brave enough to wing it, yet today that is just what I did!
Faced with an over supply of apples (and by over supply I literally mean bags and bags and bags of apples) I decided I’d make apple cakes. I also decided to throw caution to the wind and make up my own apple spice cake recipe. Sure, it is based on my tried and true ‘patty cake’ recipe from my husbands good old 1970’s even-has-how-to-boil-water Women’s Weekly Cookbook, which I’ve made so many times I know know by heart…. but it involved adding ingredients and putting in a bit more or a bit less of others… and basically hoping it would all work out in the end. And it did!
As I took the first round of cakes out of the oven to cries of ‘I want a cake! When can I have a cake!’ I suddenly realised how far I’d come. From a totally resentful cook who could screw up even the easiest recipe to a cook who knows recipes by heart and even tweaks them, adding her own ideas. Perhaps there is hope for me in the kitchen yet!
Pickle Farm Apple and Spice Cakes
125 g butter
1/2 cup sugar (we like brown sugar)
2 cups of self raising flour
1/2 cup of milk.
1/2 cup of oats (softened with a little apple juice or milk)
approx a cup of apple sauce/puree
cinnamon and all spice (we like a lot!)
Sliced apple and cinnamon sugar for the top of the cakes
Peel slice and cook a few apples to make apple sauce/puree – leave to cool. Add a little apple juice or milk to the oats and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs and beat well. Add the spices, sifted flour and milk a little at a time until combined. Add in the softened oats and stir through.
Spoon a little bit of mixture into patty pans or into well greased muffin tin, then add a dolop of apple sauce and swirl into the mix with a skewer. Add another spoonful of cake mix on the top. Top with a thin slice of apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Bake in a moderate over for about 15 minutes. We got 24 smallish muffins out of our mix.