Sunday, 13 October 2013

caramel, cider + cinnamon apple pie

When it comes to nice ways to fritter away a miserable Sunday afternoon, there's one thing we can always agree on; cooking up a yummy meal, or crafting some kind of indulgent desert. Autumn flavours are some of our favourites - sweet potato, butternut squash, salted caramel and warming spices... In the end, we decided to tackle an old classic, apple pie, but with our own personal spin - naturally! After all, we're both from the West Country, so a splash of cider never goes amiss.

Megan
My last weeks in Cornwall before the wedding were spent stripping all of the nearby hedges of blackberries, then cooking them up with lots of sliced apples and baking them into crumbles. The humble crumble is all well and good, however it is the teeniest bit lazy. Since I had a little time on my hands today, I decided to be brave and attempt a proper pie. Thankfully Grant was on hand to help, and took on the somewhat tricky task of making the pastry whilst I focused on perfecting the flavours and filling.

Grant 
After a rather pleasant summer, the autumnal chill has finally set in. This is something I personally relish as it can only mean one thing... the apples and blackberries meet the cinnamon and nutmeg in Megan's delicious fruit crumbles. However, in a slight deviation from tradition, crumble topping has today been replaced by pastry stars in this incredibly comforting homemade apple pie. What a perfect way to spend a drizzly Sunday afternoon. I can imagine this being a frequently revisited recipe over the long cold winter!
Get the boring part over and done with by peeling, coring, and thinly slicing your apples. Personally I actually like leaving the skins on, but Grant isn't quite convinced! With your apples prepped, move onto your pastry. Combine the butter and sugar, then separate the egg, adding the yolk to the mix and saving the whites for glazing, then beat the egg into the butter/sugar mixture. Using a wooden spoon, begin to work in the flour, then finish it off by gathering it together with your hands.Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes. Now it's time to focus on the filling!

Melt the butter in a large pan on a medium heat and add the apples, sugar and cider, turning them so that all of the slices are coated. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. As the apples begin to soften, add extra sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. The soft brown sugar is what will give the filling it's 'caramel' taste. If you find you have a lot of excess liquid in the pan, add a tablespoon of plain flour to thicken it into a sauce.

When your dough is ready, retrieve it from the fridge and begin to work it into 5mm sheet on a floured surface. If you don't have a rolling pin, don't fret! We don't have one yet either, but find a wine bottle does the trick. Line a 20cm pie/flan tin (we bought a bunch of disposable ones from Lakeland for a few pounds), and blind bake for 15 minutes. Roll out what's left of the pastry to 3-5mm thick, and cut out a selection of medium and small sized stars (or whatever shape you fancy!). Layer the larger stars first, then fill the gaps with the smaller stars, sticking with egg white where necessary. Avoid layering them too thickly, and leave a few small gaps for steam to escape. Glaze the stars with egg white and bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes until the stars turn golden at the edges. We finished ours off by dusting it with icing sugar and some edible glitter for seasonal shimmer.

We served our pie with vanilla ice cream and homemade salted caramel sauce. To make your own, melt a couple of generous spoons of butter on the hob and add 160g of soft brown sugar, 160g of dark brown sugar, and a splash of milk. Stir on a medium-high heat until the grains have melted, and allow to bubble up before removing it from the heat and stirring in a generous pinch of sea salt. This is an extremely yummy treat, and we can never resist stealing a spoon or two from the pan!

Our little treat was rounded off with a couple of glasses of hot, spiced cider. We picked up a bottle of local cider, heated up a couple of glasses worth in a pan with a cinnamon stick, some sugar, a little nutmeg and some vanilla extract, and served it piping hot. A warming tipple, and since Grant doesn't enjoy mulled wine, something we can both enjoy.
until next time!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

one very magical day.

It's now over two weeks since our wonderful, Disneyland-inspired wedding. All of the loose ends are finally being tied up - dresses and mementos are being safely preserved in special boxes, thank you cards are in the works, and we're steadily working our way through the left over cheese and wine! However, more exciting than any of that is the arrival of our wedding photos. Whilst we're still waiting for the bulk of our photos from our friend Chloe Lee who covered the whole day, this weekend we received the photos from our second shooter, Emma Griffin. Emma was incredible; when our original second shooter cancelled the month before the wedding, Megan was a bit frantic, however Emma gave us a great price to cover a few hours in the afternoon, and completely understood our style. We just love the little moments and details she captured!

Megan
I'd worked with Emma on a fantasy portrait shoot earlier in the summer, so I knew we were in safe hands! In particular I love the photos she captured of my bridesmaids and I, especially the shot of my maid of honour handing me our wedding rings from our little macaron shaped ring box during the ceremony. I really can't express what a wonderful day it was. I was a bit of a perfectionist when it came to planning, fretting over every last detail, but in the end it all came together beautifully, and I was too happy and swept away by it all to worry about whether ribbons were evenly spaced and cushions artfully arranged! Since we catered the day ourselves, food became a bit of a saga, however in the end our posh picnic buffet (complete with a selection of fresh local seafood) and colourful cake table went down a treat. We sipped watermelon mojitos, filled up on hot doughnuts from a gorgeous retro van, and danced to early naughties pop punk until our feet were bruised.

Grant 
We are very lucky to have had two unique, contrasting perspectives of our wedding day. Amongst all of the delightful chaos, Emma did such a great job of capturing all the tiny details and moments that made the day such a wonderful event. On the morning  of the wedding - as I was not permitted to see my bride until the ceremony - I was confined to a holiday let whilst everyone put the finishing touches to the marquee and ceremony area. When my groomsmen eventually joined me to suit up, we really started to relax, confident that it was going to be the best day ever - and it was! Everything we had worked so hard towards suddenly came to life, and after a very emotional ceremony and photo shoot on the beach with our other photographer (Chloe) we ate, drank and danced our way into the evening. A truly incredible day for us both! 

until next time!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

the start of something new.

Welcome to How Very Us, our brand spanking new lifestyle blog. We're Megan and Grant, a pair of newlyweds living and studying in Bath, and since we're both involved with media in some way or another we thought it would be nice to work on a blogging venture together. This will be a place for us to share our recipes, our home, and our adventures - from weekend escapes to cosy nights in. We've forged a simple but happy life for ourselves, and we can't wait to share it with you.

Megan    
Hi, I'm Megan - I'm an aspiring young adult author studying Creative Writing, and in my free time I run a personal style and lifestyle blog, Briar Rose. I'm very snap happy, and I love fashion, baking, and all things Disney. When we were on our honeymoon, Grant suggested we start a blog where we could share our recipes and nights in, and as we wandered around the parks it developed into something more. Since we both have so many personal projects going on at any one time, it's going to be lovely having something we can work on side by side. I can't wait to get stuck in!

Grant 
Hello, I'm Grant, and I study Creative Media specialising in film production/editing. I've worked for our university to produce a variety of films for performance courses, and I even got to go and film some promotional/corporate content for the London 2012 Olympics. As part of my course, I've become aware of the fast growing world of social media, and thought it was high time I got involved! My idea was to have a space where my new wife and I could share our many adventures, from movie nights, to hosting parties, to all of the tasty things we cook up. This is very new territory for me so I'm a little nervous, but I can't wait to finally have a project that Megan and I can call our own. Happy reading!
until next time!