Hands up who likes vacuuming! Yeah, me neither. We do have a vacuum cleaner. I do use it. But my husband carries it from room to room and up and down the stairs for me, because the thing is built like a tank and weighs as much as a small child, assuming said small child has been dining off a pile of lead bricks washed down with a draught of liquid mercury.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sight of a freshly-vacuumed carpet, it’s just the heaving around of the bellowing machines themselves, as they belch hot air in your face, that fails to appeal. Not to mention the way they need emptying and filter-cleaning and tangle themselves up in their own cords (there’s never anywhere really convenient to plug them in) and tend to let their removable fittings come apart just when you most need them to hold tightly together.
If only there was an alternative! Oh, wait – there is. Ladies and gentlemen: the carpet sweeper!
You’ve probably all seen the magazine-type articles which promise to tell you what clothing style is right for you. You may have taken the quizzes, or even tried to follow their advice. But the problem, I find, is that they have a limited number of stereotyped options: French chic, bohemian, avant-garde, glamorous… For some reason “time-travelling Anabaptist” never makes the list.
As it is with clothing style, so also with garden style – including, alas, an increasingly rapid change in fashions. Suggested styles may include cottage, Mediterranean, formal, Japanese, coastal, prairie or post-modern (plants optional). But again, what if you and your dream garden don’t fit neatly into one of those boxes?
If I had a dollar for every time I found a recipe which called itself ‘simple’ but was actually simple only to those with larders like specialty stores and a mis-spent youth watching food-related television, I would be… well, marginally more plutocratic than at present.
This baked apple recipe, however, actually is simple. It has few ingredients, many of them optional or variable, and the processing required is minimal. Nor will it have a noticeable effect on your power bill as it does not require an oven to be heated, thus greatly speeding up the whole process.
First, catch your apple – the more or less compulsory part of the recipe. In my case, it is a Bramley from the back garden. Ballarat apples are also suitable (albeit less fluffy once cooked) or, probably, any other kind of cooking apple. I haven’t tried this with any but the two apples named, as this is an unspectacular two-person kitchen, not the National Baked Apple Research Laboratory. Which, I’m sorry to tell you, is not a thing.