Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.


APPLE WEEK! – Sunday: Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

Mrs Moveable Feast decided we have had quite enough cakes this week, thank you very much, so she took it upon herself to make a batch of Apple-Oatmeal Cookies from the WeightWatchers Cookbook to finish off Apple Week.

Preheat the oven to 175degC and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, combine 1 and a half cups of rolled oats (toasted until lightly browned), half a cup of plain flour, half a tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, and a 1/4 tsp salt (all measurements given in US sizes, as they appear).

Cream a 1/4 cup light brown sugar with 2 and a half tbsp of softened unsalted butter. Add a large egg, 1 peeled, cored and coarsely grated apple and a half tsp of vanilla extract. Add the oats mixture; stir to blend, then stir in 1/4 cup of raisins.

Drop the dough by tablespoons onto the baking sheets, forming 12 cookies on each sheet; flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake until lightly browned, 12 -15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

PS if you like the Dunk Mug, you can buy them here.


APPLE WEEK! – Friday: Winter Apple Pie

Taken from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, this pie uses a scone dough which cooks on top and is then inverted for serving.

Preheat the oven to 230degC. Peel and core 1.1kg of apples, cut into chunks. Put into a saute pan (or a pan suitable for cooking both on the hob and in the oven), and sprinkle with 225g granulated sugar and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon or mixed spice. Put the pan on a low heat while you make the scone dough.

Sieve 325g flour, 20g caster sugar, 1 heaped tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Cut 50g butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk 1 egg with 180ml milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid all at once and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and roll to the size off your pan, about 2.5cm thick. Place this round on top of the apple and tuck in the edges neatly. Brush with a little egg wash.

Bake in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180degC for a further 30 minutes approx, or until the top is crusty and golden and the apples soft and juicy.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Put a warm plate over the top of the pan and turn upside down onto the plate – be careful of hot juices!

Serve warm with soft brown sugar and cream.

APPLE WEEK! – Monday: Apple Strudel

A bumper harvest in the family garden saw me yield a shopping bag full of apples, so I’ve set myself the task of making a different dish with apples every day this week. First up is quick apple strudel.

Rather then make my own pastry, I cheated and bought a packet of frozen filo pastry. Once it had defrosted, I floured my work surface, and lay a sheet out flat. I brushed melted butter along one of the long edges, and lay the next sheet beside, overlapping the first sheet by about two inches. I did the same with the third sheet, overlapping the second by two inches too (so the pastry on the table was 2 foot wide). I then brushed some butter over the whole thing, and lay a fourth sheet running in the opposite direction, centred on the bottom half of the pastry.

To make the filling, I peeled, cored and sliced 450g of apples, and mixed that with 50g sultanas, 50g caster sugar, half tsp ground cinnamon, the grated rinds of half an orange and half a lemon, 25g chopped walnuts and 25g ground almonds.

I spread the filling along the doubled up section of pastry, leaving it a few inches short at each end. I rolled the whole thing up, cut off the excess pastry at the ends, and tucked the ends in under. I brushed the strudel with more melted butter, and cooked it for about 10 minutes at 230degC, and reduced the temperature down to 200degC and cooked it for another 20 minutes. I brushed the strudel with melted butter a few more times during cooking, and when it was cooked I dusted it with icing sugar and served it with whipped cream.

Spicy Pork and Chilli-pepper Goulash

My home-grown banana peppers had ripened in the recent good weather, so I picked a few of them and cooked them in a classic dish – goulash. Rather then using cubes of pork, this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cooks an entire loin of pork in the stew, which you can then pull apart with a fork before serving.

Preheat the oven to 180deg C, and heat a large ovenproof casserole dish on the hob. Score the fat on the pork (a 1.5-2kg loin off-the-bone with the fat on but skin off), in a criss-cross pattern all the way through to the meat, and season with salt and pepper. Pour a good glug of olive oil in the pan and then add the pork, fat side down. Cook for about 15mins on a medium heat to render out the fat, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Add 2 chopped red onions, 2 fresh chillis (chopped and de-seeded), 2 generous tablespoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of ground caraway seeds, the leaves from a small handful of marjoram or oregano [I used 2 teaspoons of dried oregano], and some salt and pepper to the oil/fat in the pot. Turn the heat down and cook gently for 10 minutes, then add 5 sliced peppers, a 280g jar of grilled peppers (drained and chopped), and a 400g can of tomatoes. Put the pork back in the pot, give it a mix, then pour in enough water to just cover the pork. Add 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, put the lid on top, and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

Just before serving stir a 142ml tub of sour cream, the zest of a lemon and a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped, in a bowl. When the meat is cooked, break it up with a fork and give it a good stir. Serve with a bowl of steaming rice and the flavoured sour cream.