Chicken, cider and Cheddar crumble

Serves 6

Prep 20 mins

Cook 40 mins

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

100 g (3½ oz) mushrooms,sliced

350 g (12 oz) skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cooking apple, such as a Bramley, peeled and cored

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) dry cider

100 g (3½ oz/scant ½ cup) crème fraîche

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crumble

250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon mustard powder

salt and freshly ground black pepper

150 g (5 oz) butter, at room temperature, diced

150 g (5 oz) mature Cheddar, grated (shredded)

30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) hazelnuts, chopped

To serve

your choice of vegetables

Preheat a fan oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 6). Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and fry the onion, celery and carrots for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry for a further 3 minutes.

Add the chicken and oregano to the pan and continue frying for another10 minutes until the chicken has cooked through and is beginning to brown.

Cut the apple into 8 wedges, add to the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the mustard and stir in well. Then pour in the cider and increase the heat. Cook on a high heat for 3–5 minutes until the alcohol has burnt off and liquid has reduced by about a quarter.

Turn off the heat, stir in the crème fraîche and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then transfer to a large baking dish.

To make the crumble topping, put the flour, mustard powder and some salt and pepper in a bowl and mix together. Add the butter, then rub between your fingers and thumbs until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Stirin the cheese and hazelnuts and mix well.

Top the apple, chicken and cider with the crumble and bake in the oven

for 25 minutes until the crumble

Apple, coconut and ginger curry

Serves 4

Prep 10 mins

Cook 25–35 mins

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

4 dried red chillies, chopped

4 curry leaves

1 green bird’s eye chilli, chopped

4 large sharp, green eating (dessert) apples, such as Granny Smith, quartered and cored

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2.5 cm (1 in) piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (shredded)

50 ml (1¾ fl oz/ 3 tablespoons) apple juice

400 g (14 oz) tin of coconut milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan (skillet). Add the onion and fry

for 3–4 minutes to soften. Next, add the curry powder, turmeric, mustard

and caraway seeds and dried chillies and toast the spices for 1–2 minutes

until fragrant.

Add the curry leaves, chopped chilli, apple quarters, garlic and ginger

to the pan and stir well to mix everything together. Cook for 10–15 minutes

to allow the apples to start to cook and soften.

Add the apple juice and simmer for a minute, then pour in the coconut

milk and reduce to a slight simmer. Add salt to season and cook gently for

10 minutes until everything is well blended and the sauce is thick with the

softened apple chunks.

Once the curry has cooked, season to taste with salt and pepper

and serve with either some steamed rice or a chapati or naan bread.

Apple, turmeric and fennel soup

Serves 4

Prep 20 mins

Cook 45 mins

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

2 leeks, trimmed and chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped, reserving any leaves to garnish

2 cooking apples, such as Bramleys, cored and chopped (about 350 g/12 oz)

2 sprigs of thyme

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

750 ml (25 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

handful of walnuts, very roughly chopped

drizzle of Apple syrup or runny honey

To serve

chilli (hot pepper) flakes

fennel leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the leeks, onion and fennel and fry for 5–7 minutes until everything

starts to become translucent but without allowing it to brown. Keep an eye

on the mixture as you don’t want anything to burn or stick at all.

Add the apples and thyme and fry for a further 2–3 minutes to allow

the apples to start to cook.

Then add the turmeric and give everything a good stir to coat all the

ingredients in the pan equally. Fry for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The fruit and vegetables will start to stick and go slightly brown – that’s okay

at this point, but you don’t want them to burn.

Add the vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring the pan

to the boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. The

fruit and vegetables need to be nice and soft and thoroughly cooked. You

might need a little more or less time here, so keep watch.

While the soup is cooking, heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium

heat and toast the walnuts for a couple minutes, ensuring they don’t burn.

Add a little apple syrup or honey to the nuts, shaking the pan, until it

begins to bubble and the walnuts are thoroughly coated.

Turn the walnuts out onto a plate lined with baking parchment and leave to one side to cool.

Once the soup is cooked, leave to cool slightly before whizzing in a food

processor in batches or blitz with a hand-held blender in the pan. You need

to get it really smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little water or more stock.

Serve by filling bowls with soup and topping with the caramelised walnuts,

a sprinkle of chilli flakes, some fennel leaves and a drizzle of olive oil – or any

combination you like.

Uncle Mike’s cider punch

Serves 4

Prep 10 mins

1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) medium dry cider

100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) dark rum

330 ml (11 fl oz/scant 1½ cups) ginger beer

ice cubes

2 star anise

1 crisp, sweet eating (dessert)

apple, such as Braeburn or Falstaff, cored and sliced

handful of strawberries and raspberries, halved

½ orange, sliced

soda water, to taste

Combine the cider, rum and ginger beer in a jug with plenty of ice. Add the

star anise and fruit. Top up with soda water, to taste, and serve as a delicious

long drink for lazy summer days.

Apple by James Rich (Hardie Grant £20) Photography ©Jacqui Melville