Thursday, 19 September 2013

Tasty tomatoes, and utterly scrumptious Butterscotch Apple Pudding

I keep getting side tracked by cake and pudding. Brownie eclipsed the healthy bean and chorizo salad that the kids enjoyed last week, and tonight, instead of getting excited about some rather tasty stuffed beef tomatoes, what I really want to talk about is pudding. But I will talk tomatoes, because this year, for the first time in AGES, we have had lots of lovely red tomatoes with more still coming. So you 'll just have to wait for pudding - or scroll down to the bottom of this post.

In fact the last time we produced this many tomatoes was when Blue was in his first year of chemo in 2006. He craved cherry tomatoes during the courses of steroids he had to take, and consumed kilos of them - quite literally. The Husband proudly grew tomatoes, they ripened, and guess what. The craving stopped. I think Blue moved on to raw mushrooms and Shreddies at that point. We've grown tomatoes ever since, but never with the same success, and green tomato chutney has been a big feature of our lives. This year, though, it will be different. The tomatoes have ripened, and they have been delicious.

Today, some particularly fine specimens - beef tomatoes - were on the menu, along with some baby courgettes ('pick 'em while they're small', is my current strategy for dealing with them). I hadn't really thought about what I was going to stuff them with, but I found some pork mince in the freezer, and some giant couscous in the cupboard.

I'd like to be able to give you the full recipe, but I got distracted by the pudding, so didn't weigh out everything - or keep a note of what I did weigh. Essentially, I cut out the tops of 4 beef tomatoes and scooped our the flesh and seeds into a bowl. I heated a splash of olive oil into a frying pan, and fried 100g giant couscous for a couple of minutes before adding what from memory (when I put it into the freezer) was 250g pork mince. I browned off the mince, and added 2 baby courgettes which I'd chopped quite small, plus a chopped clove of elephant garlic, 1/2 tsp of ground coriander and a tsp of smoked paprika.

While this was all cooking, I seived out as much juice as I could and added it into the pan, bringing it to a simmer to cook the couscous. After about 15 minutes, I filled the tomatoes with this mixture, arranged the leftover mixture around the tomatoes, then covered the dish with silver foil and baked it for 25 minutes. It could have done with being spicier, but it was pretty good and the Husband and Blue (and I) all enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I started this all too late, so Pink had to make do with pasta before she went to Brownies.

You'll be please to know, though, that Pink didn't miss out on pudding. What could have been so delicious? Well, I'll tell you - Rachel Allen's Butterscotch Apple Pudding, for which I will be eternally grateful to the lovely Annie who writes Scrummy Suppers and Quirky Cakes. As I mentioned before, as well as tomatoes, we also have an abundance of cooking apples at the moment, and this was quick to knock up and totally delicious. If I had one criticism, it would be that it could possibly have done with a little more of the butterscotch sauce - easily rectified by making more next time...

Butterscotch Apple Pudding  

100 g butter

125 g self-raising flour  
200 g light brown muscovado sugar
pinch of salt 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 egg
200 ml milk
3 cooking apples, (about 500g total weight)
1 tbsp golden syrup & 1 tbsp of runny honey

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl with 100g of the sugar.  

In a jug, mix together the milk, egg and vanilla extract with the melted butter.

Peel, quarter and core the apples, then slice each quarter again lengthwise and then into half. You basically want large but still bitesize chunks.  Sprinkle these over the bottom of an oven proof dish - Rachel's was 20 by 30 cm. Mine was probably 22cm square-ish

Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk quickly together - as you would for muffins. Tip over the apple pieces. and spread evenly over the dish.

Make the butterscotch - in a small pan, put the syrup & honey with the remaining 100g of sugar and 150ml of boiling water. Heat, stirring, while the sugar dissolves, then pour as evenly as you can over the batter and apples.

Pop in the oven for around 30 minutes. If you can resist, leave it cool a little before serving warm. It would probably be delicious with ice cream, cream or creme fraiche, but frankly it didn't need it.


  1. The tomatoes look great, do you know, I've never stuffed a tomato! On the other hand I make a cake similar to this each year, it's a fab recipe. Feels so wring to pour the caramel on top of the sponge batter but it really works a treat. It heralds Bonfire Night for us. Love it :)

    1. I know, it does seem wrong, but then it comes out of the oven and you just know it was right!

  2. Oh I'm delighted you like it so much! I love Rachel Allen. I was also a bit gingery about pouring on the sauce, but as you say, it came out beautifully!! Yum-meeee. Still tons of apples left...

    1. I saw it on your blog and I knew I had to have it - thanks for the tip - such brilliant comfort food. There are some good caramelly appley type recipes on the Good Food website too - in the bonfire night/Halloween context. Watch out for Toffee Apple Squares...

  3. Mmmm. I will have to bookmark this for the apple recipe. We don't grow apples unfortunately but there will always be Cheap Bramleys for sale soon.

  4. Both recipes look so good!
    Thank you for linking up with the Friday Foodie Round Up

  5. The Butterscotch Apple Pudding looks so good! Thanks for posting it.

  6. Made this last night for a dinner party and it went town a treat. So easy to make and delicious so will definitely make again. Thanks


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