Savouring apple season

It might seem strange, talking about apples in the depths of winter, but we have 4 different apple varieties in our garden, all but one competely unknown to me before we moved in here. Actually Denmark in general has an amazing variety of very good apples, just about all of which seem to be local varieties. They are all super quality and have interesting flavour.

This year was a bumper crop as you can maybe see above! These are from the three mature trees. The smaller one, discovery, had already been plundered by this point and also had the perfect, in my opinion, combination of sweet, juicy, crunchy and slightly tart. Most of the greenish-red apples are a variety called Philippa. Sadly these didnt last although we tried to store some so I have made litres of pureed apple and frozen it. Next year I may try and acquire an apple press for the juice.

The really large yellowy-green ones at the back were also good eaters but made fantastic cooking apples too. So much so that the kids are now very fed up of apple crumble and apple pie. Happily, apple clafoutis seems to still hit the spot!

Now in the depths of January we are on the small red ones. These are a classic Danish Christmas apple, called pigeon, and used to stuff duck or served with nuts and oranges as a Christmas snack. We never had many before and I hadn’t really bothered as they are small and a bit fiddly but this year we made an effort and my goodness they are delicious! A beatufil white flesh, blazing scarlet skin and again that beautiful crunchy, juicy, sweet, tart experience that all the best apples have.

I did not know how to keep them and we lost a box or two too early as they were too warm but the current storage seems to suit them.

They are going a little wrinkly now but are still crisp inside. These are definitely being added to my “Best of Denmark”list.

Another recent addition is my new cookbook. I have a few old reliables but almost never use them now thanks to the internet. However, on a recent celebratory visit to a bookshop, Meyers Salater (salads) caught my eye. Salads have always been something of a bete noire to me. I am pretty terrible at making them, but I like eating them. They are healthy but especially at this time of year with our seasonal vegetable box from Aarstiderne I am often at a loss.

Claus Meyer was at some point ubiquitous in Denmark and internationally famous as one of the founders of Noma. Now, having apparently tired of being a big fish in a small pond he has sold up and moved to New York where he appears to be surfing the Hygge trend.

However, his cafes, bakeries, delis and takeaway food remain and were and are pioneers in the “New Nordic Cuisine”, a riff on the seasonal and local trend here in Denmark. I once borrowed a book of recipes from Noma from the library and realised after a few short reads that even one would take me most of the day to prepare! However, Meyer’s recipe books seem to be a bit more manageabke, just about all my thiry-something Danish friends seem to have one, so I took the plunge and shelled out my 230kr (books are taxed at 25% in Denmark, like everything else, so they are expensive).

Now to the point of this digression in the middle of this post about apples… The Meyer’s salads book has become a huge favourite. I have made at least 8 different recipes out of it and they have all gone down pretty well with the family (maybe with the exception of the 4 year old), so tonight when I was working out what to make for dinner, and given our oversupply of seasonal vegetables I again took it down from the high shelf. I had planned to make a baked beetroot or perhaps red cabbage based salad but the cover image caught my eye and to my delight when I looked it up the recipe specifically called for pigeon apples.

Together with Jerusalem artichokes, thyme and parsley, two things we currently have in abundance, as well as oil salt and apple vinegar. The artichokes are scrubbed, sliced tossed in oil and roasted, the apples sliced and the whole mixed together, I skipped the shallots as I’m not a big fan of raw onions. What could be simpler?

Full recipe Here for those who can read danish:

And I couldn’t resist posting some pictures of the preparations, part of the joy of eating for me is the enjoyment of the look of the food, texture and the blending together. I’m particularly excited at having found another good recipe for Jerusalem artichokes which we often get at this time of year. My next challenge will be trying to replicate our local Sticks’n’sushi‘s awesome deep fried artichokes with truffle oil, an essential part of any vegetarian sushi experience.
These little apples are so very beautiful. Perfect little jewels and doubly tasty for having come from our own garden.

Long may the Apple season continue…


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