As any parent knows, summertime can be hectic once school is out. Working freelance throws even more variables into the melting pot. Of course I want the day trips and the beach strolls, camping out, and mornings spent painting rocks – but I also have to do my work. Work that I love.
I do the majority of my work on my phone. A true blessing. I can research, write, sometimes photograph and send, all in the palm of my hand. When my kids were much smaller, I used to panic and try to fit it all in between health nurse visits, playschool and nappy changes.
But I once read that Nigel Slater wrote his books on an iPad so that helped me to see it in a different light. It made me relax a little and think outside the box that is my laptop. Being creative is possible even on the back of an envelope. Whenever I need inspiration, I look to the notes section of my phone. Therein lies a treasure trove of ideas that I tapped into my phone some other day and then forgot about.
My kids love coming up with recipes of their own, with mixed results, but we always learn something along the way. I was making a big batch of compote to serve with yogurt and granola for breakfast and enlisted my six-year-old son’s help peeling the apples. He chatted away as he mastered the peeler and together we devised this breakfast recipe. They all love these little wholemeal hand pies packed full of fruit. A healthy spin on the sugar-laden breakfast pop tart, it is a delicious breakfast option that can also be served with a dollop of yogurt or cream for dessert.
I’ll be making a savoury version of these too, packed with cubed potatoes, leeks and chorizo. It’ll make a nice alternative to sandwiches for their school lunchboxes come September and will remind them of the lovely summer they had.
PEAR, APPLE AND BLACKBERRY POP TARTS
Makes 4-5, depending on size
150g cold butter, cubed
200g fine wholemeal flour
40g plain flour
20g icing sugar
4 pears, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 handful of blackberries
1tsp vanilla extract
3tbsp whole chia seeds
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Place the flours and butter in a food processor and blitz. Add the egg and blitz again until it forms a smooth dough. This can be done by hand too – just rub the butter into the flour then add the egg, mixing with a round bladed knife till it comes together.
Form a flat disc with the dough, wrap in greaseproof paper and place in the fridge to rest.
Place the blackberries, pear and apple in a pan over a medium heat. You may need a splash of water, but it must not be too wet. Simmer the fruit mix till everything is soft and it becomes a purée when you stir it. Add the vanilla, honey and chia seeds. Mix well and set aside to cool.
Preheat an oven to 180ºC, or equivalent. Line a tray with baking paper.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and make eight-10 rectangle shapes. Place half the pastry shapes onto the tray. Brush the beaten egg around the edges of the pastry. Spoon some of the cooled fruit mix in the centre then top with the remaining pastry. Use a fork dipped in flour to seal the edges. Brush each tart with egg wash and bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.
Leave the pies to cool before serving as the fruit will be hot. Drizzle with icing or serve as is, with yogurt or cream.