Tag Archives: Apples

Stewed Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce

Stewed Apple Sauce

I can’t imagine a juicy pork chop without some apple sauce on the side.  Or my afternoon yogurt snack without a fresh topping of my apple sauce.  Although I have no idea whether I should call this apple sauce, apple compote or just plain stewed apples, it’s one of those simple little side dishes I make constantly.  It’s hardly even a recipe it’s so very simple and I’m sure once you’ve tried it you’ll never use shop bought apple sauce again.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

5 x medium apples (I like Elstar) peeled, cored and  roughly diced
A little water, about 1 cm / 0.5in.  in the bottom of your pan, just so the apple sauce doesn’t stick.

Method

  1. Place the apples and water into a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil, then allow to simmer until the apples are soft. This takes about 10 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on the apples so they don’t stick or burn, stir occasionally giving them a mash against the side of the pan to check if they are getting soft.
  2. When the mix is soft mash with a fork or a wooden spoon or if you want a really smooth texture, give it a quick whizz up in the liquidizer.

  Tips and Variations

  • The amount of water can depend on the apples, so if you feel it is getting to dry while cooking, just add a little water. Or , if you feel there is too much water, just turn the heat up and let it evaporate as steam.
  • Serve with roast chicken or pork. I love a little on my porridge or with some yogurt as a snack, even on its own.
  • Try using half apples, half pears. If you do this, you can add the pears later, about half way through the cooking time, as they are normally softer and need less cooking.
  • Don’t be tempted to add sugar until the apple sauce has cooled – once you taste it, you’ll more than likely find it doesn’t need any.
  • This sauce keeps in the fridge for up to a week (I often keep it a little longer and it’s fine). You can freeze it also if you wish (even in ice-lolly shapes!)

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Apple Sauce

 

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples :

I’ve always loved a pork chop, but somehow every time I made them, they seemed a little dry or tough.  I tried all sorts of ways of cooking them, and also bought meat from lots of different butchers, but I just couldn’t get the succulent result I wanted, until …  The secret of a perfect pork chop for me is to brine them first.  Basically that means steeping them in salted water for a couple of hours before you cook them.  Simplest of tips, but best results.

Preparation Time: Brining time is from 30 minutes to 4 hours, whatever you can manage.  The rest of the preparation will take about 25 minutes.
Cooking Time: Up to 30 minutes – some of this time will depend on how thick your chops are.

Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Pork Chops
The Brine
500ml / 1pt. tap water
2 x bay leaves
2 x tsp of salt
1 x tsp of whole black peppercorns
2 x smashed garlic cloves
½ tsp of juniper berries (optional)
The Pork Chops
4 x pork chops on the bone
1 x tbsp of olive oil
For the Mash
800gr /1.7 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 x large leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced thinly
2 x garlic cloves, chopped finely
About a tbsp of olive oil
2 x tsps of Dijon mustard (or to taste)
Salt and Black pepper to taste
For the Apples
1 x tbsp of butter
3 or 4 apples sliced into thick orange segment shapes (don’t peel the apples)
A drizzle of honey

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

Method

  1. Place the brine ingredients in a dish that will hold the pork so that the water will cover your meat. If you need more water to cover the meat remember to adjust the ratio of the salt and other ingredients accordingly.  Place the pork in the brine and leave it for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. To cook the potatoes place them in a pan and cover them generously in tap water and a little salt, cover and bring to the boil, remove the lid and cook until there is little resistance to the tip of a knife when pressed into the potato. Drain and set aside in a colander to steam for a couple of minutes.
  3. In another pan heat the olive oil on a medium heat when hot add the garlic and the leeks. Sweat the leeks down by keeping them on a low heat and covering the pan with a close fitting lid.  Stir very occasionally just to check they are not sticking but there is enough heat to cook them.  Ideally you don’t want to get colour on your leeks that’s why we’re not frying them intensely.  The idea is to keep the colour of your mash nice an pale.
  4. To finish the potatoes put them back in their pan, mash them, add in the leeks, mustard, salt and pepper, mix and mash until smooth. Check for seasoning and set aside until you need them.  If you cover the pan with a close fitting lid, this will keep warm for about 10 minutes.
  5. To cook the pork pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  6. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels then rub both sides of each chop with olive oil.
  7. Place a non-stick frying pan on a high heat, get it nice and hot, then place the chops in the pan – they should sizzle immediately. Give them about 3 minutes on each side to colour, without turning them in between.
  8. Place the chops in the oven and roast them for 12 to 15 minutes. You can check if they are ready by using a meat thermometer, but I usually just slice into the thickest part of the chop that I will eat and check there is no pink colour.
  9. In another frying pan place the butter in on a medium to high heat, once it has melted add your apple slices. Let them fry for about 3 minutes on each side.  The idea is to get them brown, softened, but still with a bit of crunch.  Finish them by squeezing over a little honey (maybe only a teaspoon or so), toss them in the honey and serve on the side of your dish.

 Tips and Variations

  • I used to find that pork chops could become dry and a bit tough, but since using this brining method they stay nice and juicy.
  • Leeks can trap dust and dirt in between their layers. I find the best way to make sure they are clean is to slice them down the middle lengthways so that you can run the water and clean in between each section.
  • I normally use whatever eating apples I have, I don’t buy cooking apples for this recipe. The amount f honey you use will depend on how sweet the apples are.
  • If you don’t have a frying pan that you can transfer to the oven, use a roasting tray, but heat it up in the oven whilst you are browning the chops in a pan, then transfer them to the tray. Don’t forget to use your oven gloves when you are moving these pans and trays around though.

Pork Chops with Leek Mash and Caramalized Apples

A Practical Pork Chop Recipe

PorkChops1

So, what’s so practical about this pork chop recipe.  Well, it incorporates all my favourite flavours to combine with pork (apples, onions, mustard, honey) in one roasting tray.  Its easy, quick and there’s only one pan to wash up – what could be more practical than that??

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 to 25 minutes (depends on the size and thickness of your chops)
Serves: 4

Ingredients
4 x pork chops
1 x large white onion sliced into thin rings
3 x apples sliced thinly with the skin on (I like to use Elstar)
2 x garlic cloves chopped finely
5 or 6 sage leaves chopped finely
3 x tsps Dijon mustard
4 x tsps honey
1 x tbsp olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper

 Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  2. Line a roasting tin with some aluminium foil.
  3. Layer up your ingredients in the bottom of the tin, firstly the onion, then apple, sprinkle over the sage and garlic.
  4. Place your pork chops on top. Drizzle over the lemon juice. Spread about a tsp of mustard over each of your chops (if they are large you may need more than is stated above), then drizzle the honey and the olive oil over the chops as equally as you can. Sprinkle some salt and grind some black pepper over them too.
  5. Put your chops in the oven and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes. The chops are ready when they are nice and crisply brown and the meat is no longer pink.  I check this by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the thickest chop to look inside – you can always disguise this by pulling a little of the mustard over your cut.

PorkChopsRaw  

Tips and Variations

  • I love to serve this with some green beans and oven roasted chips with sage.
  • If you feel that your chops are getting a little too much colour without being cooked through or that you think they are drying out –you can cover them with some aluminium foil for some of the cooking time.

PorkChops2

 

Toffee (Candy) Apples

Toffee (Candy) Apples

Toffee (Candy) Apples

Although I don’t relish the shortening days and the dropping temperatures of the autumn and approaching winter, I do relish the food.  I love the change of seasonal foods and of course all the celebrations that go with them.   Although every season has its own foodie treats, autumn is for me, I think, my favourite.  All those mushrooms, shell fish, root vegetables and of course fruits.  Traditionally a time of harvest, there are so many festivals and holidays to celebrate this abundance of food, whether your thing is Hallowe’en, Sinterklaas, Thanksgiving or Davali, (or are like me and celebrate as many of them as you can) there’s plenty of great food around to make each occasion  a real feast!

You many have noticed that there is one thing I have missed from my list of autumnal festivals.  I’m sure I have missed more than one actually, but the festival to which I refer in this case is Guy Fawkes night.  How could I forget?  After all, it was drummed into me at school with the song ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November……!’

I missed ‘Guy’  from the list because I wanted to single Bonfire Night out for some special attention,  because of my recipe for Toffee Apples.

Bonfire night means being wrapped up in my biggest coat, packed into a huge scarf and massive mittens ready to take on the November night air.  I have heard that some people go to the Guy Fawkes events for the spectacular fireworks and the awe inspiring bonfire.  You may already have guessed though, that for me, all that spectacular display takes second place.  Second, of course, to the food on offer.  The hamburgers and sausages in warm buttered rolls slathered in onions and relish.  And then of course there’s the sweet stuff.  Fluffy, impossibly large candy floss, and the toffee apples!  I did wonder about including this recipe, it’s not exactly grown up, but after some consideration, I decided that it encapsulated the season both in food (there are some really great apples around now), and in celebration.  This one is a real definite for Guy Fawkes night.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
And some time to cool.

Ingredients for 8 Toffee Apples
8 large apples.  I like to use Granny Smith or Elstar
400gr / 14oz. light brown caster sugar
100ml / 3.5fl oz. water
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 x tsp vinegar
8 x wooden lolly sticks

Method

  1. Remove the stalks from the apples and place them in your kitchen sink, making sure of course that it is clean.
  2. Pour water from a kettle that has just boiled over the apples.  This removes any coating and makes it easy for the toffee to adhere to the apples.  Dry them off.
  3. Drive your wooden lolly sticks into the centre at the core area of each apple. Make sure you leave enough exposed to hold the apple.
  4. Lay out a sheet of grease proof paper on your work surface close to your stove top where you will be making the toffee.
  5. Tip the sugar and the water into a high sided, heavy bottomed pan (not non-stick) on a medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.  This will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vinegar and the syrup and turn up the heat to high to bring the mix to a boil.  Allow it to boil rapidly until it reaches a temperature of 140°C / 280°F.  If you have a sugar thermometer you can use this to measure. However, if you, like me do not have a thermometer, you can check the temperature by dropping a teaspoon full or so of the mix into a bowl of cold water.  If it hardens and becomes brittle immediately it is ready.  If it is at all squidgy or soft, keep boiling until you reach this ‘hard crack’ stage.
  7. When the toffee is ready it’s time to work swiftly and of course carefully.  I like to tip my pan to the side allowing the toffee to collect at the side of the pan giving me a deeper dipping area, take an apple by the lolly stick, dunk it, twist and swirl until coated, stand the apple upside down as it were on the grease proof paper and repeat.
  8. Leave the toffee apples to harden.  They will keep for a couple of days, but make sure you store them in a cool place or the toffee may melt.

Tips and Variations

  • When working with melting, or melted sugar be extra careful.  This hot sugar or toffee can cause very painful burns as it sticks to the skin and the heat is intense.
  • Try adding some cinnamon to the toffee for a spicy version.
  • You can sprinkle some chopped nuts over the coated apples (before they set)

ToffeeApple1