When I spot a few apples in the fruit bowl looking wrinkled, dry and past their best, I have these recipes to hand to ensure they don’t end their days in the compost bin. Pork and apple are great together, and today’s traybake is minimal effort yet has maximum flavour – you can put in whatever vegetables that need using up. And if the oven’s going to be on anyway, maximise that energy and pop in this mock eve’s pudding at the same time.
Use pork, vegetarian, gluten-free or vegan sausages for this tasty, no-faff dinner. You can use any seasonal vegetables, too – I even cut cauliflower or broccoli stalks into chunks and add them to the mix. You will need a large roasting dish or tin – mine measures 30cm x 25cm x 10cm deep.
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
1-2 tbsp oil
4 garlic cloves 8 sausages
4 garlic cloves
2 onions 2 celery sticks 2 carrots
2 celery sticks
12 small new potatoes
2 apples (wrinkled ones are perfect for this)
2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs, or 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (eg parsley, sage, thyme)
1 tsp dried rosemary or 1 fresh sprig rosemary, chopped
2 heaped tsp cornflour 250ml apple juice 250ml water
2 heaped tsp cornflour
250ml apple juice
1 tbsp apple cider or malt vinegar
1 cup frozen peas
1 good sprinkle fresh or frozen parsley, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the oil, garlic cloves (unpeeled) and sausages in a large roasting dish or tin, then roast for 15-20 minutes, until the sausages start to turn golden on all sides.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables, and pop them into a large bowl as you do so. Quarter the onions and remove the outer skin; cut the celery into 2½cm lengths; peel the carrots and cut into 5mm slices; cut the potatoes in half (there’s no need to peel). Peel and quarter the apples, then core them and cut each quarter in half widthways.
When all of the vegetables are in the bowl, add the sugar, soy sauce and herbs, and give everything a good mix (I find it easier to use my hands).
Remove the roasting dish from the oven, squash the garlic cloves with the back of a fork to release the pulp inside, then lift out the skins. Stir the vegetables into the dish, then return it to the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the veg are tinged brown at the edges and just tender when spiked with a knife.
Meanwhile, spoon the cornflour into the base of a measuring jug, then whisk in the apple juice and water a little at a time, so there are no lumps, then stir in the vinegar.
Remove the tin from the oven, sprinkle over the frozen peas then pour over the apple juice mix and pop it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, so the peas heat through and the sauce bubbles up and thickens. Remove from the oven, sprinkle over the parsley (if using) and serve on warm plates.
A great family pudding that makes the very best use of leftovers. Traditionally made using apples and topped with a sponge made from ground almonds, my “penny-wise” version uses stale bread in the sponge and wrinkled apples from the fruit bowl.
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
125g butter, margarine or spread
1 tsp almond extract
100g finely blitzed breadcrumbs 3-4 large apples 1 tbsp flaked almonds
100g finely blitzed breadcrumbs
3-4 large apples
1 tbsp flaked almonds(optional)
Custard, to serve
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, almond extract and breadcrumbs with a handheld electric whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Peel, core and slice the apples into the base of a gratin dish (I used a 23cm x 15cm x 5cm one) – add a sprinkle of sugar, if necessary, though if the apples are past their best, they should be sweet enough already.
Spoon the batter on top, then smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds, if using, then bake at 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5 for 50 minutes. Serve hot with lashings of custard.
Nancy Birtwhistle is the author of The Green Gardening Handbook: Grow, Eat and Enjoy, published by One Boat at £14.99. To order a copy for £13.19, go to theguardianbookshop.com