The thought of sharing these moments with both my Mum and my daughter, the idea of instilling in Mialina the values of eating real food from the earth and enjoying the process of sharing in preparation and eating a meal, brings tears of happiness to my eyes.
Last weekend my Mum, Mialina and I ventured out to Bilpin in The Hawkesbury region, just over two hour’s drive from Sydney, to pick some orchard-fresh apples. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors – despite it being Autumn the sky was blue and the sun warm. We arrived to find some of the last Pink Lady apples still adorning the smaller trees, Granny Smiths beginning to blush gently making it easier to pick them from amongst their green leaves and the juiciest Sundowners being nicely ripe for the picking.
We spent the late afternoon processing some of the 15kg apple haul from the orchard – Mum saying “there’s not too much” while staring at the overflowing pot of fruit, but she’s a seasoned preserver.
And for that I am glad.
I am not sure how I would do life as it is now without her help – with just Mialina, Kasha the dog and I. I’m sure I would manage somehow, but the home would feel more lonely. I would probably struggle to meet deadlines or I would have to put Mialina in daycare to meet them and finish the manuscript for my second book that way. Luckily, it has been sent off and I’m just about done shooting remaining images of the delicious, mostly plant-based recipes. I am so grateful for being able to do this while having Mialina at home. In all of this, we’ve made sure that Matt still spends a handful of afternoons or mornings with Mia, he’s still Mia’s Dad and will continue to be present in our lives that way. We aim to keep their relationship going and work together on providing the best foundation for it to flourish, and for ours to remain good.
I think this apple picking will become Mialina’s and my tradition for years to come. Picking fresh apples from the orchard in the last days of Autumn then peeling them, stewing the Granny Smiths with some plums, quinces, vanilla and tonka bean for an Apple Charlotte we’ll bake together. Leftovers will be canned and frozen. The rest, mostly the Sundowners, will be enjoyed fresh. We’ll cook the skins in water and blend to make an apple nectar to drink.
The whole house will smell like .
The thought of sharing these moments with both my Mum and my daughter, the idea of instilling in her the values of eating real food from the earth and enjoying the process, the sharing in preparation and eating a meal, brings tears of happiness to my eyes.
Our Apple-picking Tradition
We’ll start off at the Pink Lady trees with their easy to reach low-hanging fruit. We’ll also pick up some of the apples that fall to the ground so that they don’t spoil.
Then, when you’re a little older, we’ll pick Sundowners together. I might need to help you reach for the ones hanging a little higher, but you’ll do well finding the ones in front of you, too. We’ll also pick up some of the apples that fall to the ground so that they don’t spoil.
And then, one day, when we visit the orchard and go to the Granny Smiths I’ll need YOUR help to reach for the apples hanging a little higher. And together, and with your help we’ll also pick up some of the apples that fall to the ground so that they don’t spoil.
I simply cannot wait. I cannot wait to create memories of togetherness, of adventure and exploration with you little one. I love you so much, Mama x
Spelt Apple Charlotte
- For the Topping:
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/3 cup unrefined sugar I used demerara
- 100 g cold butter or coconut oil
For the Stewed Apples:
- 750 g apples, peeled, cored and sliced finely I used Granny Smiths
- 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1 tonka bean, grated on a zester
For the Base:
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup unrefined sugar I used demerara
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 180 g butter or coconut oil melted
- 1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp unrefined icing sugar
To make the Topping:
- Place flour, sugar or natvia and butter in a bowl. Rub together with your fingers until rough crumbs form. If the dough comes together into a ball, that's ok too - you can pinch bits off and crumble over the cake later. Place in the fridge while you prepare the apples and the base.
For the Stewed Apples:
- Place apples in a medium saucepan. Add butter or coconut oil, vanilla, grated tonka bean and 1/2 cup water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring often, for the apples to soften. Once ready, remove the lid and set aside to cool.
For the Base:
- Using an electric mixer on high, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves until pale and fluffy, and roughly doubled in size. Reduce speed to medium and pour in melted butter or coconut oil in a slow and steady stream. Reduce speed to low and add flour and baking powder, mix only until it is incorporated.
- Line a 20cm x 30cm edged baking tray with baking paper. Pour base batter into the tin and spread evenly with a wooden spoon. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the base from the oven and dot around with a fork. Spread with the apple mixture and dot with pinches of the topping mixture. Bake for a further 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is starting to turn golden.
- Once ready, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before dusting with icing sugar. Serve warm or store cooled cake in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I am so sorry to hear your news, but it seems you’re on good terms and happy to both be there for your beautiful daughter! Isn’t she just adorable! The idea of youur new tradition literally brought me to tears.
Thank you Michelle, I cry happy tears every time I think of our new tradition. :)
What is it today with good people not wanting to stay together as families? So many couples around me are choosing to divorse for selfish reasons, I am not saying yours is a selfish reason, but I see it too often. Then they think that ferrying children back and forth make s for two happy homes. It does not. No one seems to want to ask the children what they want. I’m really sorry this is happening to you, look after yourself, be kind to each other and look after your daughter.
Thanks Trish, I completely understand your view point and agree that children’s opinions matter a lot in these situations, although it’s also hard because you never want them to feel like they are choosing between two parents. We’ve decided that, because of differing life values and objectives, we are best to part ways now before Mialina is old enough to understand and feel loss, but too young to be able to process it without scaring. We have been advised that frequent contact with the non-live-in parent is the best thing for her for now.
What a beautiful tradition and a heartfelt message to your baby girl. Sending love and blessings.
Hello Kellyann, thank you so much for your kind words. xo
Wow! That story, it tugged at my heart so much. Wishing you and your daughter all the best, you’re an amazing Mum and woman. Strong, beautiful and such an inspiration. Keep up the good work Martyna.
Thank you Steph! I’m trying my best to be present and loving to my daughter, that’s all that matters for now. And I am lucky to have my Mum’s support and helping hands around.
My dear Marty! I had no idea about the profound changes in your life and I am very sorry to hear about it. It is never easy and always heart-breaking. I am so glad your mum is with you through this new season of your life. And you have the biggest bounty of the new season in your arms .. your beautiful Mia (gosh I adore her squishy cheeks!). I hope the season changing is kind to you all and before long you are into Spring with even more sunshine to look forward to. We must catch up one of these days. Wishing you all my love my dear friend <3
Hi Sneh, I know, I haven’t really been talking about it much, nor sharing about it anywhere else. It’s not easy, but we are transitioning well. And you are right! I am so blessed to be able to cuddle my precious little girl to sleep every night, knowing we will be okay. x
Sending you lots of strength and happiness. I can see how much joy your beautiful daughter Mia brings you and Iove the new tradition you’ve started. Am sure just by looking at her face & with your mum by your side you’ll make it through this new season just fine. thinking of you X
Hi Kate, thanks for your kind words lovely! She’s my adorable and my brightest ray of sunshine – as a Mum yourself I’m sure you can relate. x
Martyna! I’ve been keeping up with your life as best as I can, although mine has been incredibly chaotic over the past three years. I’m sorry to read this. I remember last reading a joyful post from you, and something about this post made me want to come and read it, and I’m glad I did. Your daughter is gorgeous. I wish you peace. Love to you and Mia.
Hi Awanthi, I’ve been seeing your posts around as well and I know many plans have changed for you. As they have for me, but in all of this I am happy to have Mia in my life. Much love and hugs and peace to you too darling x
So sorry to hear this Martyna – keep looking forward and enjoy your gorgeous little girl x
Thanks Cheryl x