My family were never one to stock the kitchen full of junk food. Of course, as a grumpy 9-year-old I was furious about this as I was missing out on all the delicacies my friends would smugly recount to me at school.
Of course, now I am grateful. Maybe I’d have a mouth full of fillings or potentially an intolerance to celery if I hadn’t been raised eating a full tomato as a snack. Or, even worse, I might just be a picky eater (the horror!). However, back then, I could only see the absolute injustice of not regularly stocking Sunny D and fizzy drinks, or not being allowed to munch on Hubba Bubba bubble gum. I finally got to sample the treasure that is apple-flavoured bubble gum while on a week’s long summer camp – the satisfaction for my new-found maturity was profound. I was not subtle about chewing it either. Not only that, we went to McDonalds once in my first 10 years of life. No doubt I saw TV adverts of delighted children devouring hamburgers and chips (ignoring the creepy clown) and was incensed that I never went too.
Nevertheless, we still bought packs of sugary cereal – Golden Nuggets were honey heaven in a packet and have since been revealed to contain 25g of sugar per 100g; no wonder they were so delicious.
As they say, time is a healer and I’ve since lost the craving for that morning sugar hit (well, partially, I could always do with a pain au chocolat or toast liberally spread with jam) and I now know a good breakfast can take me through to lunch. During the autumn of 2015 our apple tree had a windfall of fruit, and this was across the board in the UK with farmers reporting a phenomenal harvest. We now had to stuff all these apples into the house. Naturally, I made a lot of apple cake, my dad made a lot of apple and blackberry crumbles, but before long the horde of apples were beginning to rot. We decided to puree them, stocking plastic tub upon plastic tub of stewed apple in the freezer. Since then we know not to open the second drawer down, it will be to our peril.
Simple stewed apple is tart and mouth-watering in a similar way to a crisp white wine. Unlike wine, however, it is delicious on cereal (that said, I’ve never tried wine with cereal). I dollop it on my muesli or granola each morning and savour every bite. Sometimes I add spices as I simmer the fruit with a splash of water – a few teaspoons of cinnamon, clove, and ginger all complement and warm the apple, easing you into the chilly morning. Stewed apple is also excellent as a lazy dessert – just liberally spoon over crème fraiche or full-fat (come on, you need something the counteract all this nutrition) Greek yoghurt.