Most of them aren't quite ripe yet, and we could do with a bit more sunshine over the coming week, which we are seemingly going to get, so we'll be donating some to the village shop, as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, I've been doing rather a lot of apple cooking! We have frozen several boxes of blanched apples, and I've made several jars of a low sugar preserve, with apples, plums (from a friend in Oxfordshire) and a few strawberries thrown in for good measure, boiled up with some sugar, but not as much as you would put in jam. This has made a gorgeous pale pink 'butter' which is now stored in the fridge, in jars - it doesn't keep for more than a couple of months, but we'll have finished it by then.
I've made apple pudding, with suet pastry, and apple pie, and I'm planning an Eve's pudding for some mid-week visitors, sponge baked on top of stewed apple, which I always associate with my lovely late mother-in-law who made so many delicious traditional puddings. But today, I made a scrumptious Apple Potato Cake, following a recipe from an old book called Talking About Cakes With an Irish and Scottish Accent, by Margaret Bates. This is one of those much loved cookery books that I've had for years. There are recipes written in the back from when I was a teenager, and it's quite nostalgic to look at them, all these years later.
According to Margaret Bates, this dish is from Armagh and the recipe is quite vague, but certainly works. One of those marvellous recipes that turns unpromising ingredients into something magical. You take a quantity of cold mashed potato (leftovers are ideal) and mix it with some fine, plain flour and a little melted butter. I used about four rounded tablespoons of flour to about a quarter kilo or half a pound of mashed potato. There are no hard and fast measurements, but it should be a soft, pliable dough, like a soft pastry. Divide it in two, and roll each piece into a circle. Finely chop some cooking apple - enough to make a good thick layer - spread it on one circle, top with the other and pinch the edges together, so that it makes a big 'cake'. Cook this very slowly on an old fashioned 'girdle' - but a good, heavy non-stick pan will do the same job - oiled with a little butter. Turn it over half way through the cooking - easiest to do this by sliding it onto a plate and then flipping it back onto your pan. It takes about 15 - 20 minutes. When you think it is almost cooked, and the apple is beginning to bubble, lift the lid a little, sprinkle with brown sugar and dot with a little butter, lower the lid and leave for a few more moments. Serve very hot. If you add the sugar too soon, it will spill over your pan and caramelise.
Eat it immediately. Then make another. So many apples, at this time of the year, that it's justified!