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FOOD Timeless, simple apple classics

Picking apples

An apple a day…

Redmond Cabot

It was not for nothing we constantly heard the ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ mantra while growing up. Apples give us Vitamin C and antioxidants to protect against the development of free radicals and cancer cells. They also have zero cholesterol or fat. The fibre in apples provides roughage and fibre for your gut, aiding digestion and keeping things ‘flowing’. Apples also contain small but significant amounts of important minerals.
This is harvest time for apples, so let’s look at some manageable ways for you to use these delicious fruit in your cooking.

Pork chops with apple
Pork and apple is a marriage made in heaven, and a dish as old as time. What is interesting here is the practise of frying meat first in a pan, and then placing in oven to finish off. The pan cooking gets you a lovely brown, tasty, caramelised crust, and the oven part completes cooking throughout the whole meat. Top restaurants used to cook their fillets this way, balancing tasty crust and tender inside.

What you need
  • 3 pork chops with good enough fat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 apples (eating or cooking) cut into wedges
  • 2 apples left whole
  • Seasoning
  • Touch of sage
  • Olive oil
  • Glass of cider
  • Juniper berries, crushed, if you have them

What you do

Season the pork chops and fry then in a hot pan – fry the rind to crisp and each side for two minutes to brown the crust. Remove chops and place aside. Add chopped onion, apple wedges, sage and juniper berries to the juices in the pan and cook for five minutes. Place chops back in pan, and add the two whole apples around chops. Pour in the cider, and cook in oven for another half an hour at 180 degrees.

Penny’s Apple Crumble

My mother, Penny number one, taught me this dish. I remember standing at the kitchen table and peering into the metal bowl as we made the crumble mix. I learnt to peel apples there, trying to cut one continuous strip with the small knife, imagining that all I had to do was achieve that one thing and then life would be okay. Now my daughter, Penny number two, picks, eats, stuffs apple crumble into her cheeks like all she has to do is just achieve that task and life will be okay! Crumble is not a fancy dish, but it is an autumn dish, and the people at your table will open their hearts with warmth when they’re served it.

What you need

  • 5 large cooking apples
  • 50g brown sugar

  • 150g whole-wheat flower
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger

What you do
Cut up your apples and remove the cores. The Brunette would ALWAYS peel first, but sometimes sloppy Red just says ‘Heck, put in the slices, skin and all’. Sprinkle 50g of sugar over the slices (try rubbing some rosemary into mix if you fancy it), and give it a splash of water.
For the crumble, place the ingredients in a bowl and rub the mixture with your hands until it offers a fine crumble. Place the mix over the apples (throw in some local blackberries if you pick them while out walking) and cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Red Cabot
is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm, and Newport Street Market on Fridays, 11am to 4pm.