An Apple a day keeps the doctor away, that’s what our Grandma use to say to us and I guess the saying meant you had at least one piece of fruit a day! Apples are used a lot in cooking and not just for desserts.
Sunday roast pork would not be complete without Apple Sauce and Apples add a lovely touch to any salad. Toffee Apples are great at any children’s party or BBQ for dessert, but much easier to do Chocolate Apples as all you need to do is melt the chocolate, put a stick in a clean Apple and coat it! There are so many recipes to choose from, but I have selected some easy ones for you to try. The crumble cake saves having to make custard and is ideal to take out for a quick snack. My favourite is the Apple, Sausage and Leek Pie (or Sausage Surprise as I call it) which I make regularly and is very quick and easy to do for busy people, especially if you buy the pastry!
Apple, Sausage and Leek Pie
8 pork sausages
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp grainy mustard
375g pack ready-rolled short crust pastry
Heat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/gas 6. Fry the sausages in a large frying pan until browned all over, remove and set aside. Remove most of the fat left in the pan, then add leeks and soften for 8-10 mins. Add the peeled apple slices and cook for 1 min more. Stir in the flour, followed by the mustard. Pour over the stock and bubble for 2 mins to make a sauce. Chop the sausages into chunks and stir into the pan, then tip everything into a large ovenproof dish. Top with the pastry, trimming off any excess and glaze with the egg. Bake for 25 mins until golden.
Apple Crumble Loaf
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp. mixed spice
140g light brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
5 tbsp. milk
For the topping
1 rounded tbsp. plain flour
25g light brown sugar
1 rounded tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
Heat oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/gas 3. Butter and line the base of a 2-litre loaf tin with baking parchment. Tip the flour and spice into a food processor and add the butter. Whizz to make fine crumbs, then mix in the sugar. Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the raisins, eggs, apples and milk. Mix well until everything is evenly combined, then spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
To make the topping, rub the flour, butter and sugar through your fingers to make a rough crumble and then stir in the nuts. Sprinkle evenly over the cake mixture and bake for 50-55 mins, until firm to the touch and a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Apple, Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Salad
5 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
Little drizzle of honey
1 small cauliflower
200g Stilton or vegetarian crumbly blue cheese
Small bunch mint
50g sunflower seeds, toasted (walnuts or cobnuts also work well)
Make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, olive or rapeseed oil and honey with some seasoning. Pour over the sliced apple then gently mix in the cauliflower and cheese. Scatter over the mint and the toasted seeds before serving.
Pork and Apple Burgers with Red Cabbage
8 good-quality pork sausages
1 eating apple
1 tbsp chopped sage
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 small red onion, finely sliced
200g red cabbage, finely sliced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
4 bread rolls, split in half
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Snip the tops off the sausages and squeeze the meat out into a bowl. Stir through the grated apple and sage, then shape into 4 patties. Place the burgers on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 mins or until golden and cooked through. Meanwhile, mix the vinegar and sugar together with some seasoning. Stir to dissolve the sugar before stirring in the onion, cabbage and mustard. Leave to stand and soften while the burgers finish cooking. Place a burger in each roll and top with some pickled cabbage, serving any extra on the side.
Apple and Sultanas Muffins
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
50g whole meal flour
100g golden caster sugar
125ml semi-skimmed milk
4 tbsp sunflower oil
Heat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas 4. In a large bowl mix the self-raising flour, baking powder, cinnamon, whole meal flour and golden caster sugar. In another bowl, mix the eggs, semi-skimmed milk and sunflower oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well, then stir in the grated apples and sultanas. Divide the mix between 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 mins. Cool on a wire rack, and then eat or keep fresh in a container.