Travel & Life Digest

Bonfire, Diwali & Apple Dappies

For a Thursday it doesn't get better than that: singing with my nieces for Diwali, watching a fireworks display, sipping mulled wine around the bonfire and eating apple dappies in the back garden around the fire late October!
Diwali prayers are a small, family affair that involves lighting as many lamps and candles as you like.
And then, also making as much noise as  you like, singing (or rather humming) along to lively rhythms and keeping the beat with anything you can imagine; clapping, tapping and snapping your fingers all perfectly acceptable! 
I never thought that my nieces' musical instruments would come in so handy: bells, tambourines and a cute little tabla set, all so professional! 
It was actually stress relieving too; no matter what the song was, trying to keep up was a good focusing exercise! Isn't that what meditation is all about, after all? Finding ways to focus?
It is so wonderful when celebrations and traditions coincide; one of the reasons I love living in UK and being part of a multicultural family! 

My nieces' school Bonfire Night for Guy Fawkes coincided with Diwali. Perfect!

Wellies on, off we went to the school grounds. As much as I hate wearing heavy clothes in the winter, I do love Wellies, they make you feel indestructible! You can walk in mud and splash in paddles without a care in the world!

It was a bit daunting for my husband and I to be confronted with so many kids at once! But parents were happily mingling, mulled wine in hand, my nieces disappeared to curve pumpkins and see their friends, so kids old and young all very happy! 

After the spectacular firework display we came home and decided to light a fire in the back garden. The weather was so mild, who would have thought that we would be happily sitting outside at nine o'clock in the evening, chatting away and eating lovely Indian food? 
Hearty saag paneer (creamed spinach with cheese) and mooli, a fresh salad made of grated white daikon radishes, spiced with chillies, salt, lemon juice and tomato powder. So refreshing! There were plenty of Indian sweets around too, all syrupy and gooey.

I normally love chamchams (a Bengali sponge cake dipped in syrup) but I wasn't up for that... I had to try my apple dappies. They are served with clotted cream after all!
Its the first time I'm making them so please be kind. It was a steep learning curve because the dough can be quite soft and sticky, but the flavour is just right, with an unexpected ingredient!

Apple Dappy Recipe
(adjusted from a similar Waitrose recipe)
3 apples, peeled & diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Rosemary (fresh is more potent but dry works just as well!)
100g unsalted butter, in room temperature
400g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g caster sugar
2 tablespoons clotted cream, plus extra for serving
220-250ml milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Place the diced apples in a pan with 2 tablespoons of cold water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes. 
Let the apples cool down a bit and then strain the cooking liquid away, leaving the apple cubes as dry as possible.
In a food-processor mix the flour, salt, butter and sugar until the mixture resembles  breadcrumbs. Add the cream and then slowly keep adding the milk to make a soft, sticky dough. You might not need the full 250ml.
Cover and leave the dough in the fridge for half an hour to chill, it will be easier to handle when you will need roll it out later.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. You might need to mix in a handful of flour at this stage, if the dough is too sticky to handle. 
Split the dough in two batches, it will be easier to roll out. 
Roll out each batch of dough trying to create a biggish rectangle 1 centimetre thick. Don't worry about creating perfectly straight edges, this is not an "elegant" dessert, in the sense that it's supposed to look more rustic and comforting. 
With a spoon spread out the apple cubes all over each rectangle of dough.
Roll the rectangle up tightly from the longer edge and using a sharp knife cut into 6 or 7 even slices, roughly 2 inches long. 
Don't cut them too big, or once in the oven they will fall sideways (like mine did, but I already told you it was my first attempt, so no judging!)
Place the slices standing in a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Leave some space between them, because they will puff up to almost double in size.
Sprinkle over the granulated sugar, generously. 
Bake in the oven 220°C for 25 minutes or until golden. Watch them closely towards the end because the sugar might burn quite fast. 
Have them warm with a dollop of clotted cream! Heaven!

The hidden rosemary flavour in this hearty dappy will make you a very happy bunny!

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