Of course, there is nothing more delicious than an Irish apple in autumn, but those from my tree will not last much beyond Christmas. I imagine I am not the only person in this predicament, and so I offer you two recipes using apples that I have prepared as side dishes in the last few weeks: one is a salad, the other a warm vegetable dish.
Apple and Fennel Salad with Caramelised Walnuts
This is a simple refreshing salad, great with sausages and pork, with cold meats or in place of a coleslaw. This salad has the advantage of keeping fresh for up to 48 hours in the fridge, and just needs to be brought to room temperature before serving. But make sure to use firm young fennel bulbs if you can get them, and a mix of red and green apples.
This takes only 5 to 7 minutes to prepare but you must always remain attentive as the sugar can burn very quickly and ruin the nuts.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and add 40gms of caster sugar, 25gms of butter and watch as the sugar and butter melt. When this begins adding the walnuts and swish the nuts around to mix well with the caramel. Continue to watch the nuts ensuring that all the nuts get covered in caramel and have access to the base of the pan to toast. The smell is delicious as the nuts warm up and the sweetness of the caramel catches your nostrils. But beware, don’t let it burn! As soon as you think it is barely cooked turn off the heat and pour the pan’s contents onto some grease proof paper and spread it out. Within about 5 minutes the nuts will have cooled and hardened. Now, you can put them onto a chopping board and break up or chop as you like. Resist the temptation to eat them all at once!
Fried Cabbage, Apple and Cumin
This is a quick and easy dish and a good way of preparing cabbage differently. It works particularly well with pork chops, bacon or as an accompaniment to a dish of dahl.
Heat the oil in a large, wide-bottomed pan on a medium heat and once hot, add the cumin seeds. Then add the sliced onion and, if using the red pepper – cook briskly for about 4 minutes, then add cabbage and apples and raise the heat a little. Keep stirring the pan now making sure that the cabbage is getting access to the heat of the pan. This cooks quickly and you’ll see the cabbage beginning to wilt and apples starting to colour and soften after about 5 – 7 minutes. Now add the cider vinegar to the pan to listen and smell as it bubbles up and the steam cooks the cabbage. Allow the cider vinegar to cook off almost completely, taste, season and serve.
Recipes from Katie Verling & Jacques
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