It looked like something out of a fairy tale, or at the very least, a Disney movie. The Café is posting from London this week, where we're spending time with our daughter and her family. We don't have to do a lot of fancy, touristy stuff while we're here, we just love spending time with the family. That said however, it's really fun to see some of the things you've heard about all your life, but never imagined you'd be able to experience - in person!
Like Windsor Castle; the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world and the official home of Queen Elizabeth, when she's not residing at Buckingham Palace in London.
Our daughter had a free day on Friday and we decided, with Windsor being just an hour outside of London, it would make a perfect day trip. We dropped the children off at school and, with the promise of good weather, set out on our adventure.
After making our way through the narrow, bustling, London city streets, we were soon cruising along the highway, admiring the lovely, autumn-tinged countryside. We sped along, enjoying each other's company when, seemingly out of nowhere, an imposing stone castle appeared, situated high on a lovely hillside. As the road wound us closer and closer, we could see the castle was surrounded by a quaint, charming village.
We spent a few hours touring the ancient castle and wandering through the surrounding town. The castle is magnificent and way more impressive than any fairy tale or Disney movie. The vastness and opulence is somewhat difficult to even imagine, but we enjoyed seeing such an interesting, fascinating side of life. I also loved the little cobblestone village, which made me feel as if I were walking through a Dickin's Christmas Village scene. Shop after charming shop lined the narrow streets with names like, The Edinburg Woolen Mill, The Horse & Groom and The Harte & Garter.
Oh, and we just happened to arrive in town for the changing of the guard which takes place every other day at Windsor Castle. We watched as people lined the streets and after a short wait, this is what we saw ................. so cool!
You might laugh at this, but one of the comments I made to my daughter as we toured the castle grounds was, "Wow, look at the beautiful apple trees!". Yup, with myriads of beautiful tapestries, jeweled crowns, exquisite china, gleaming coats of armor, magnificent paintings etc., who would notice apple trees? Me, that's who!
Apple trees, covered with harvest-ready, red-blushed fruit grow high up on the hillside surrounding the castle walls. It's funny, amidst all of the grandeur, the apple trees gave me a sense of normalcy, kind of a common bond with the royalty that reside at Windsor Castle. I imagined them enjoying the enticing aroma of apples combined with warm fall spices in pies, cobblers and puddings as it would escape from the castle kitchen. I'm wondering if they can wait for dinner or if they slip down, unannounced, and beg the chef for a sample of the deliciousness as it emerges from the oven.
It's the same fragrance that emanates from my kitchen in the fall and makes family and friends smile and do a little happy dance. I made these wonderful caramelized apples a few days before we left for London. I wanted a topping for an Old Fashioned Butterscotch pudding I was serving and caramelized apples sounded like the perfect finishing touch.
It's a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but it's amazingly versatile and one you'll want to have in your stash of favorites. It's not only fantastic for topping desserts like my butterscotch pudding, simple cakes and ice cream, but there are a ton of other fun applications for these caramelized beauties.
............... how about making simple pancakes or waffles feel like a special occasion?
................ bored with breakfast? Not for long! Just spoon warm Caramelized Apples over Greek yogurt. Scatter with a few toasted nuts and you've got a breakfast worthy of royalty!
................ or use as a fabulous topping for savory dishes like grilled or roasted pork.
Add some raisins, a dash of cider vinegar, a handful of chopped basil or cilantro and a splash of Sriacha and you've got a flavorful chutney. Spoon it over cream cheese and serve with a plate of crisp crackers or crostini and you've got and quick and delicious appetizer.
I could go on and on, but I'm quite sure that once you take the first taste, you'll come up with all kinds of fun ways of your own to use this delicious recipe. That is, if you don't just decide to eat them all, just as they are.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch sea salt
- 3 large Granny Smith apples peeled and diced into ¼-½ inch dice
In a large, non-stick skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir until bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
Add diced apples and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Stir apples occasionally but not continually. You want caramelization to occur but no burning to take place.
Serve warm or allow to cool, then refrigerate unit ready to use. Warm slightly on stovetop or in microwave before serving.