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March 2019



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Happy Days Are Here Again

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!


Pete and I are quite lucky - when we bought our house we took out a loan for a new kitchen and central heating (one winter of shivering was enough!) and we've just paid it off, so the recession's not actually biting us much, even with NPower's thieving energy price rises.

We keep getting lots of free apples from his workmates. It'll be apple crumble tonight! You could always make cider with your surplus.
I love crumble, pie and all the rest but don't feel like making them. I used to make chutney but there's not much point when I'm moving to a kitchen with only one cupboard.

Glad to hear you are recession-proof!
As long as the husband keeps his job - and he works in mortgages :( OTOH, magazines do well in a recession so I should be employable.

We were seeing a downturn in things and lay-offs in the financial industry last year. The rest of the economy's taken 12 months or so to hit the same level.
I don't know where she got it from, but my Granny Andy always served chilli with a mixture of stewed apple and yogurt on the side. I do it that way too (and coincidentally we are having it tonight). I know not everyone likes something sweet and fruity with a savoury dish but this does complement the hot, spicy mixture perfectly, I think. Must go and get the mince on!
That's a new one! I've just remembered what a good filling for pancakes apple makes...and apples go with sausages, of course.
And did you? :-)

I was just watching John Betjeman's Metroland (1970s) and in one shot there's a woman who looks *exactly* like Margot.
We spent most of the eighties with a woman like that as PM.

(How is it that Penny Keith has never played her? Bizarre.)
Ah, but Angela Thorne has and she was in To the Manor Born with Keith. Not that I watched that one, since Angela Thorne was far more like a country lady than Penelope Keith.


I hadn't thought of using the microwave - good idea. I do nuke whole apples in it instead of baking them though - good with pork chops or as a pudding.

Remaining apples on trees covered in snow here in Hampshire today. Quite weird.

Re: Apples

I hadn't thought of whole apples: good plan!

No snow in Dorset and I'm not sorry.