Middle Eastern-style spiced baked apples

We love Autumn, and to celebrate we've been baking apples all week.  Our Kids Simple Suppers class and Back In The Kitchen over 55's have tested several recipes and the winner is.......

Middle Eastern-style spiced baked apples

4 large apples

45g unsalted butter, softened

75g nuts (eg cashew, almonds, pistachio)

100g dried fruit (eg apricots, raisins, dates)

50g pomegranate seeds

2 tsp cinnamon

80g muscovado sugar

1 tbs pomegranate molasses

½  tsp rosewater

1 tsp lemon zest

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Core the apples from the stalk end down, making sure that every last trace of core & pips has been removed, but carefully enough not to pierce through the bottom of the apple
  3. Chop the nuts. The best way to do this is to put the nuts in an ‘envelope’ of greaseproof paper and bash them gently with a rolling pin. In this way the nuts won’t scatter all over the place. Don’t chop them too fine.
  4. Chop the fruit to the size of the dried fruit in a fruit cake
  5. Mix the fruit and nuts together with the butter, sugar, cinnamon and pomegranate seeds. Add the molasses, rosewater & lemon zest. Mix thoroughly
  6. Fill each apple with the mixture, pressing it well into the cavity
  7. Place on a baking tray and cover with foil
  8. Bake for 45 minutes
  9. Serve with pouring cream or home-made custard or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you enjoy the hot/cold thing

We're also celebrating Autumn with a very special offer. We invite you to bring a friend for free and hope you'll take this opportunity to join us and to introduce some new people to our Masterclasses.

**** Autumn Offer - Bring a Friend For Free ****

Taking stock

A well-made stock has the potential to catapult your cooking to the next dimension, simultaneously utilising the vegetable drawer/allotment glut and giving you a warm glowy feeling inside as the summer sun fades into a distant memory.

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This a general guide to all stocks; fish, meat and vegetable

Stock vegetables: The following ingredients are suitable for stock: onions, carrots, celery, leeks, fresh tomatoes – not too much – French bean or other trimmings -  fennel but only in a vegetable or fish stock – thyme, bay, rosemary – but not too much – garlic – always, perhaps asparagus trimmings, pea pods and carrot leaves in the summer.…… Never put the following ingredients in a stock: brassica, starchy vegetables, fines herbes (tarragon, etc.) or any vegetables which haven’t been properly washed or are turning brown. Stocks are best made with an accumulation of carefully looked after, refrigerated vegetable trimmings.

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For a meat stock, roast off the bones (unless they are left over from roast or otherwise cooked meat) and throw them into a pan with the vegetables and enough water to cover well. Bring to a rolling but gentle simmer. You will never get a good stock if you let it boil. As the stock cooks, the fat and other impurities will rise to the surface. Skim them off religiously every so often until the liquid looks clear. You can now either put it in the oven (on the floor of the oven) at about 110oC or gas mark 3 for about 5 hours, or simmer it on top: blip…….blip……blip….. very slow.

For a fish stock, put the washed bones, cleaned heads, fish bits and frames together with vegetables and water as above. Bring to a gentle simmer as above. Skim religiously as above.

A vegetable stock, not having the flavour benefits of meat and fish, needs to contain lots of vegetables. To get a good soup, stock base or risotto stock, I would use two heads of celery, 6 carrots a bulb of garlic and 3 or 4 leeks……

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To strain the stocks: pass through a colander and then through a fine sieve to remove any bits.

Learn to cook the perfect stock and delicious vegetable dishes with Barny: 12 Vegetable Dishes to Change Your Life