I love food. I love cooking & developing recipes, and I love it even more when you can find great ingredients that are totally free. Last Sunday, my friend Charlotte and I went apple picking, and came home with a big bag each of apples and pears, and I couldn’t resist making a few wonderful new recipes with them. Apples and pears are so versatile, so when I tried to come up with what recipes to share with you, I wanted to make it three very different things: One great lunch recipe, a wonderful jam, and a weekend treat.
To begin with the morning dish, let’s start with the apple jam. I decided to add both raspberry and vanilla to this recipe, because vanilla and apples are best friends, and I’m nuts about raspberries (also it gives it the most wonderful colour). This is great to make a quick dessert, just layer it with crumbled cookies and whipped cream, or to lighten up any breakfast or brunch.
To make a nice big portion of apple and pear jam with raspberry and vanilla, you’ll need
8 medium sized fruits, I’m using 5 apples and 3 pears
A big handful or raspberries
Half a lemon, zest and juice
Vanilla (one whole pod, or a teaspoon of extract or vanilla powder)
Sugar to taste
For this recipe I suggest that you peel your fruit, because it makes the jam a lot smoother. Rinse and cut the apples and pears into big pieces, zest and juice your lemon and remove the vanilla seeds from the pod. It makes it easier se separate the seeds if you blend it with a little sugar. Put all the ingredients (except for the sugar), including the leftover vanilla pod, into a big pot and slowly heat it. When it has come to a boil, you can start smashing all the ingredients with a spoon, or other favourite kitchen tool before adding a little sugar at a time, to find the perfect level of sweetness. I like mine quite sour, and ended up using only a teaspoon for this recipe because the apples were so sweet. Remove the vanilla pod, put the jam into a blender and mix until an even, smooth consistency.
Now, you have two choices: either you stop here, or you can strain it so that all the little raspberry seeds are taken out, and you get a much more silky consistency. If you choose the latter, just pour your jam through a strainer and into the pot you just cooked the jam in, and use a spoon to make sure you get as much as possible through. Remember to use the spoon underneath the strainer at the end, because a lot of jam will gather there. Put a portion in a jar, and the rest in the freezer for later. This jam will last about a week in the fridge, so make sure to save the rest in the freezer so it doesn’t go bad.
I’m not a traditional salad lover, even after being vegetarian for almost five years. I want salads that are made with ingredients with a little more bite to them, so I often go for kale and cabbage instead of spinach, or other kinds of softer salads. This is mainly because it is a great contrast to the softer ingredients (avocado addict speaking). I love to use a lot of different textures and flavours, and this salad is a great representation of the simplicity that a salad like that can still offer.
To make a big portion of lunch salad for one, you’ll need
Half an avocado
Half an apple
A nice big handful of green kale
A nice big handful of pointy headed cabbage
Half a lime
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Slice the cabbage in 1cm ribbons, remove the kale leaves from the stem and rip it into suitable pieces before rinsing both under cold water. While the left over water is being drained from your greens, cut the apple and cucumber into nice, thin slices, and the avocado in slightly thicker pieces. Use half the lime in the dressing, which consists of about I tablespoon of olive oil, a quarter of a lime and a pinch of salt and pepper, while you peel the other half and cut it into small pieces. Dress your greens, and put it on a suitable plate, before decorating it with the rest of the ingredients. And the important finish: a little freshly ground pepper on top.
This wonderfully green lunch will for sure make room in your diet for this final recipe, which might be my favourite of them all. It’s a soft Scandinavian apple cake, just like I remember it growing up. I’m not a huge fan of apple pie, not even the French can satisfy me, because when I think of apples in a cake context I think of this soft, fluffy cake, with delicious apples soaked in lemon before rolled in cinnamon and sugar. I must admit that I added the lemon part, and it can easily be left out, I just really like the contrast it creates with the sweetness of the apples and the cinnamon sugar. This recipe will leave you with 8 generous pieces (my friends and I prefer generous pieces).
To make my soft Scandinavian apple cake, you’ll need
Four big, sweet apples
Juice from half a lemon
Cinnamon and sugar to taste
2,5dl all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of vanilla
Zest from half a lemon
Rinse and peel your apples, and cut them into medium thick pieces before putting them in a bowl with the lemon juice to be left soaking while you make the batter. Melt the butter and leave to cool, while you combine eggs and sugar in a bowl, and beat until it gets a fluffy consistency. Mix in the butter, and combine with all the dry ingredients, that are folded into the batter. Be careful not to beat the mixture too hard, because you want to keep as much air as possible in the batter. Butter a suitable cake tin, and pour the batter into it. Now, mix sugar and cinnamon in with the lemon marinated apples, and stick them far down into the batter. You can choose to do the classical pattern, like me, or be more creative.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Leave to cool before you remove the cake tin. I was hoping to get a really good shot of the cake, but it disappeared before I could even think about getting my camera out.
Seasonal eating is something that I have been quite passionate about the past couple of years. I’ve figured out that I can save quite a bit of money in my food budget if I buy seasonal ingredients, and it tastes better in season too. It has also made me actually look forward to the different foods that I have now said goodbye to outside of season. I won’t be eating tomatoes until next summer, but looking forward to root vegetables and everything else that autumn and winter has to offer. Next week, I’ll share a little bit of light on this topic, and provide you with some information about how to know what’s in season when the stores are almost always offering the same ingredients. Hope you’ll enjoy some of my apple recipes, very ripe and in season!