Reading Apples

A light meal with a difference to serve for supper, Reading Apples may be served on its own or, for a more filling meal, with creamed potatoes. Use firm apples and ensure that you make a fairly large cavity when coring them.

1 tablespoon butter

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

6 oz. pork sausage meat

1 teaspoon dried sage

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 small carrot, scraped and grated

1 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

6 large cooking apples, cored and slit around the circumference

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

6 slices lean bacon

Preheat the oven to moderate 350CF (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

In a medium-sized frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the sausage meat, sage, salt and pepper to the pan and fry, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the meat is well browned. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the carrot, and mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley.

Place the apples in a large baking tin. Spoon equal amounts of the stuffing into each apple, packing it down as tightly as possible. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each apple. Wrap a bacon slice around each apple, securing the two ends by spearing a wooden cocktail stick through them into the apple.

Place the baking tin in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Remove the tin from the oven. Carefully transfer the apples to individual serving plates. Remove and discard the cocktail sticks. Serve immediately.

Rebhuhner mit Birnen < <

Try this adaptation of a German dish, Rebhuhner mit Birnen (rehb-hoo-nair mitt birr-ncyn), for a spectacular dinner, served with cabbage and new potatoes. A well-chilled Moselle wine ‘would round off the meal to perfection.

2 teaspoons butter

4 young partridges, trussed and barded

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 lb. pears, peeled, cored and quartered

6 fl. oz. chicken stock

6 fl. oz. dry white wine

4 fl. oz. single cream ½ cup light cream

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).

Using the butter, generously grease a small roasting tin and set aside.

Rub the partridges all over with half the salt, half the pepper and half the cumin.

Place the partridges in the roasting tin and surround them with the pear quarters. Sprinkle over the remaining cumin. Pour over the chicken stock and wine and place the roasting tin in the oven.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, basting occasionally, or until the partridges are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Using tongs or two kitchen forks, transfer the partridges to a warmed, deep serving dish. Remove and discard the trussing string and barding. With a slotted spoon, lift out the pear quarters and arrange them around the partridges. Keep warm while you make the sauce.

Strain the liquid from the roasting tin through a fine wire strainer into a small saucepan. Using a metal spoon, skim off any fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Put the pan over high heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Add the remaining salt and pepper and cook the sauce for a further 3 minutes or until it is hot but not boiling.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the partridges. Serve immediately.

Serve Recruitment Apple Pastries with cream for a warming dessert.

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