Friday, 3 May 2013

Friday Five: How Do You LIke Them Apples?

Let's hear it for apples - yes, that's right: a round of applause (ha!) for the versatile fruit. Admittedly it isn't the best name for a child (Gwyneth always seemed a little bonkers, bless her), but it is the fruit of legend - from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden to being the foodstuff of choice to shoot off one's chid's head with an arrow.

Never mind the computing associations, apples are meant to be given to teachers (bribes) and keep doctors at bay (blackmail?). They are bobbed at Halloween and the peel is tossed over the shoulder to form the initial of one's future spouse. As the big one is New York, I used to think that LA stood for Little Apple on the opposite American coast. My Dad once brought me back a cuddly racoon toy from a trip to California that I named thus.

Apples can be made into fabulous cider and scrumpy - we have all had 'experiences' with this stuff, that you don't realise is quite so strong until you try to stand up or walk in fresh air. When I used to go orienteering in the Adirondacks and the Appalachians in NY, there was often a stall with hot spicy apple juice at the finish - it almost made it worth it. When I recounted this to a friend, she used to make it and add a tot of rum - that definitely made it worth it!

Anyone who is lucky enough to have an apple tree in the garden knows what a delight it is to pluck the fresh fruit from the branch and bite straight into the flesh. Orchards are special places and The Cider House Rules is one of my favourite books. And there are other ways to eat apples to make them the true fruit of the gods.

Chaussons aux pommes

5 Great Ways to Eat Apples:
  1. Chausson aux pommes - when I lived in France, the man of the house would go to the boulangerie every Saturday and return with paper bags full of Parisian pastries - among the croissants aux armandes, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins and mille-feuilles (all of which were divine), the chaussons aux pommes were my absolute favourite. The very thought of them still makes me drool. And no, they don't taste the same if you call them apple turnovers.
  2. Waldorf salad - apples, walnuts, celery (add grapes if you must) in a mayonnaise dressing served on a bed of lettuce - sheer crunchy goodness.
  3. Soups - from curried celery to blue cheese or butternut pumpkin, the addition of apple helps enhance the flavour in these delicious autumn/winter warmers.
  4. Cubed or sliced and dipped in cheese fondue - a charming and tasty social meal.
  5. Apple crumble - always a favourite dessert.
Cheese fondue with apples

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