Surprising thought it may seem, some people are enjoying the recession. 'Reminds me of my childhood.' is a typical comment. There's a grisly relish in all those articles in the press telling us how to save money; articles written by people who have jobs and are not about to have their homes repossessed. We've been here before, of course, in the seventies, which was also the age of self-sufficiency. Richard Mabey's book Food For Free (1972) is such a classic that it's been reissued. In 1975 The Good Life burst on to our screens, with Tom Good attempting self-sufficiency in Surbiton. Funny how when I watch the programme now, I much prefer Margot and Jerry. The daddy of grow-your-own was John Seymour, whose The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (1976, also reissued) was so influential that people are now writing books about the book.
I don't have to look far for free food as the grass is covered in apples which I don't have the time or the energy to pick up. I used to put them outside the gate with a 'help yourself' notice but people would take the whole box until I ran out of boxes, so I gave up. I feel guilty if I make no use of them and my current plan is stewed apples the easy way.
Peel and core 1lb apples (not that I weigh them). Chop quite roughly; no need for fiddling around with neat slices. Place in a large glass bowl with two tablespoons sugar and one tablespoon water. Microwave on high for six minutes.
You can eat it hot or cold (delicious with Greek yogurt) and you can freeze it for later. Cheap, easy, good for you!