Monday, 24 September 2018

I Cook WIth Apples

I am currently tree-less and so a colleague's gift of a bag of cooking apples was especially welcome. For her, they represent excess - for me, an invitation to abandon.

When boxes of apples are left out, free to passersby (and with spare bags kindly provided), you know that goodwill is close at hand.

I carried the apple bag on my lap on the train on the way home, the smell of garden and autumn liberating my journey. When I got back, I went out for an unnecessary bike ride in the chill of the late evening sun.

Of all the fruits that are for cooking, apples are my favourite. This is why:
  • Core one, preferably a Bramley, score a line around its girth, stuff the centre with dates, crystalised ginger, sultanas and cinnamon, sit in a shallow dish with water and a sprinkle of demerara sugar, and bake at 180 degrees till it has spread its middle to a fluffy, pale confection. Serve with custard as my mother used to.
  • Peel and core three or four, slice and sprinkle with cinnamon, set in a dish with a dash of water, cover with crumble mix (oats, SR flour, demerara sugar, butter, ginger) bake at 180 degrees till the apple is soft. Eat with crème fraiche in the dark looking out at the moon, and then cold, for breakfast.
  • Peel one large apple, chop into small pieces, mix with SR flour, demerara sugar, sultanas, an egg, milk, butter, cinnamon, bake at 180 degrees. Leave on the side with a note for your son who's out with friends. APPLE CAKE - eat me.
  • Peel and core one large apple to stew and eat with a pork chop. Unless you're vegetarian. In which case, sprinkle with sugar, and eat from the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Peel and core the rest until you reach the end of the bag. Cut the good pieces out of the one that is going brown. Stew the lot with a handful of sultanas and chopped dates. Cool, and keep in the fridge and when you dollop a spoonful onto your morning porridge, the heat of the porridge will warm the apple, making the whole just right, as if you were Baby Bear herself.
What a gift, the apple. What a temptation to joy and pleasure. How obvious to pick them or rescue the windfalls from the ground. What a generous and comfortable liberty. 

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