Saturday, 14 August 2010

Harvest Time?

At the beginning of spring this year, my neighbours Colin and Audrey and I decided we would like to have our own, shared allotment.  We got very excited at the prospect of spending sunny Sunday afternoons digging up wonderfully fresh crunchy carrots and picking succulent fruits from the many bushes we would plant.  And then our dreams were an eight year waiting list for local allotments!  I am patient, but even I can't wait that long for a good meal!
So we had to resort to our very small gardens - Colin and Audrey were far more focused on the task than I, and experienced the delights of fresh salad leaves, the aforementioned carrots and lots more besides.  I, on the other hand, am still waiting for my tomatoes to turn from emerald green to ruby red!
However, also in our street is Ness, who has a apple tree that is positively straining to hold itself up under the weight of all the apples - and she doesn't cook - what a result!
Colin suggested we should see how many recipes we could make with Ness's apples (don't worry, I will not make you suffer all of them!).  Colin instantly went for the rich, indulgent Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from Ottolenghi's first book Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.  As I am trying to avoid both wheat and dairy, my recipes have tended to be a little healthier, but obviously equally delicious!

Summer (wheat and dairy free) Crumble

900g cooking apples, peeled and chopped
2 oranges, segmented
125g strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp honey
100g oats
few fresh mint leaves
25g walnuts
25g cashew nuts
15g hazelnuts
55g light brown sugar
50g coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Gas mark 5.
Place the apples, orange segments and strawberries in a baking dish and spoon over the honey.
Blitz the remaining ingredients in a food processor until you have a crumble mixture.
Spoon over the fruit and bake for 35-45 minutes until golden. 

Ginger Baked Apples

4 cooking apples, cored
3 knobs of stem ginger, diced
2 tbsp of stem ginger syrup
140g Cherry Active dried cherries
45g walnuts
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp honey

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
Place the cored apples into an ovenproof dish.
Mix together the ginger, dried cherries, walnuts and mint then stuff the mixture into the holes of the cored apples, sprinkling the remainder around the apples.
Pour the stem ginger syrup and the honey over the apples then cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.

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