Friday, 15 October 2010
Apples in Calvados (gluten free, egg free, dairy free)
I swear that some malevolent force gets to work in gardens in autumn.
All through winter, spring and summer, it’s ok. The garden is either doing nothing, prancing around showing off colours and new buds or lazing around in the sun asking for water every now and then.
But come autumn, some hideous bad temper seizes that garden and it all turns nasty. Those flowers that looked beautiful just a few weeks ago now look awful. The grass is sodden and full of worm casts. And the apple trees? Well, seriously, they are the worst.
Mine are nothing short of ASBO trees.
‘You want effin’ apples? I’ll give you soddin’ apples’ (the language! From a tree!)
And off they go, whirling around in the wind and chucking apples every which way. And it’s not just one apple tree, oh no. Once one starts, they all get in on the act, effing and blinding and lobbing apples. Honestly, sometimes I can’t let the kids in the garden the language is so bad.
As is so often the case with anti-social behaviour, I had to take the matter into my own hands; the gendarmes just didn’t want to know. I started with the ringleader and – showing no mercy – I laid into him with a blade. Don’t be shocked, these trees don’t understand softly-softly, you have to play them at their own game.
Reader, I hacked it back.
No nonsense, a proper good cutting down to size, and then I picked all the apples from the branches and from off the grass.
I tell you, that shut the other trees up almost immediately. It’s always the same with these troublemakers, they are cowards at heart. The odd one or two threw down an apple, but the game was up and I had won.
I am a bit concerned about reprisals, but I’ll deal with that next autumn. For now, I just have this huge stash of apples to get through.
To the victor go the spoils.
Apples in Calvados
There is this gem of a vegetarian restaurant and B&B in Normandy called La Maison du Vert.
I’m going to say that again. A vegetarian restaurant. In France.
Possibly the most enormous oxymoron of all time. (And they'll do vegan and gluten-free too. Astonishing.)
Anyway, this wonderful place run by Daniel and Debbie (from the UK) does a wicked pudding of apples served in a buttery Calvados sauce with a dollop of crème fraîche. This is a poor copy of their fragrant dessert, but still a great way to use up surplus apples. Measurements are very approximate.
100g dairy free margarine (or butter if you can eat it)
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 tbsps Calvados
A pinch of Maldon sea salt
To Serve: Crème fraîche/oat cream/coconut cream/soya cream if desired
• Peel core and thickly slice the apples
• Put the dairy free margarine (or butter) and muscovado sugar into a large, heavy based frying pan and melt together over a very low heat, do not stir
• When the fat and sugar have melted together leave to simmer gently – without stirring – for a few minutes until they have thickened slightly. Be vigilant, you don’t want any burning
• Add the apples and stir to coat with the sugary syrup
• Add the Calvados 1 tablespoon at a time, you don’t want it too runny
• Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for approximately 5 minutes until apples are slightly tender but not mushy. Add more sugar, dairy free marg and calvados as you see fit. (I always see fit to add more of all of them)
• Serve with a cream of your choice or just sprinkle over more muscovado sugar
• Take your bowl outside, choose the most chav of your apple trees and sit beneath it to eat, savouring every mouthful
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