Sunday, 6 October 2013

Full time, Family and Flognarde. A tale about the lack of quality faff in my life.

 
 
 
It's official. Full time work and blogging don't mix, least not in this house where I remember vaguely coming back from France and then it's been a bit of a blur involving my kids, somebody else's kids, the 6am alarm, mountains of marking and very little in the way of what they call quality time. It's been pretty crap to be honest. But I should be pretty grateful for my lot and even though meals have been haphazard, sometimes 'Mum's gone to Iceland' stylee (truly I hate myself, and then I am okay because I have rediscovered my liking for oven chips, fish and beans, with a cup of tea, all is right with the world, even though it isn't a world I am used to) and occasionally I have rustled something up. If I were disciplined I would, at the weekend, be making vats of stews and pies and alsorts of those comfort food offerings which wrap you up like a blanket in about half an hour of bunging them in the oven or stove to heat through, but I haven't, and whilst I hate to get political on an apolitical blog like this, Mr Gove in his divine wisdom is determined to have me work myself into a puddle of green ink and then drown in a sea of what he terms 'outstanding progress' instead of spending quality time in the evening with my children, which, come to think of it might be the root of the problem in the first place. We're all too busy chasing our tails to inflate figures on some spreadsheet somewhere to line somebody else's pockets or to perpetuate some ideological point of view and as a result families become people who just happen to live in the same house because they are too exhausted to try to connect and encourage with each other. Family life can be really quite hard to get right.

Anyway, whilst I move my soap box, I decided to get back to my happy place for this blog entry, which unsurprisingly is French inspired. As well as my filling up of the motorhome with French goodies before crossing the channel, we also brought a couple of carrier bags of Bramleys home, picked straight off the tree from our friend Richard's Perigourdaine orchard.
 
 
 
Motorhome
 
 
 
Apples
 
 
 
Kids on hols!
 
 
 
So, after blanching and freezing some, apples have been the go to for any kind of dessert or pudding that I have tried to rustle up and I decided that something typical of the region would be appropriate. As is usual, I buy a French cookery magazine when I am there because of my insatiable appetite for mooching through recipes and my aim to try and make my French knowledge the best it can be.   I found a recipe for Flognarde, which I will be honest doesn't sound like the most appetising of desserts if you go on name alone, but it is easy to make, tastes lovely and is lacking a pastry crust for those who have fallen out with pastry (sadly, I haven't) So, apple pie and custard without the 'pie' is what I am trying to say, I think!
 
 
Gourmand!
 
The origin of the recipe is from the Perigord region of France, where we stayed for our second week, and I have translated this from the French recipe in this magazine.
 
Warm with a little cream, this was so like the comfort blanket food I have craved just lately. The only way this could have been better is if it had been made for me *leaves recipe on worktop to see if Phill takes the hint*...
 
 
Flognarde, translated and adapted from 'Gourmand' magazine
 
Ingredients:
 
125 g caster sugar, divided.
150 g plain flour
5 eggs
1/2 litre of milk
the seeds of a vanilla pod or a dash of vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
4 apples (I used medium sized Bramleys)
butter for greasing the dish
 
Method

Preheat the oven to Gas 7 (210 ° C).

Reserve 3 tablespoons of sugar after weighing out the amount of sugar. You will need it for scattering over the finished dish.





In a bowl, work together the flour, sugar, milk and vanilla and then add the eggs, one at a time.
 
 
Butter the dish.
 
 
 
Peel the fruit and cut them into thin slices or little chunks. Put them into the base of the dish.





Pour the batter into the buttered pan. The apples will float to the top.
 
Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the reserved sugar.

Put to bake for about 40 minutes until the custard is set. You might have to cover with foil if the middle seems a bit runny but the top is getting too coloured.
 
 
 
Serve warm, with a little cream if you like. This is also pretty yum next morning for breakfast, even if I do say so myself!

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