Apples have always been a favourite, as a boy, apple juice was the drink of choice, hands down. Unfortunately, being about as cack handed as a retarded Quasimodo, I regularly spilt any liquid within grasp- hence having to get up from the table and go and have a sup in the kitchen by the sink (I think I even had to eat and drink on the floor once or twice to limit damage control- no shit!). Parents can be cruel- but it certainly taught me a thing or two, this is why they have all the problems with ‘Yoofs’ these days: lack of proper discipline!
So, apples and cheese- a match made in heaven. Few things can match the sweetness of a good apple cutting through the salty creaminess of a fine chunk of cheese. Be it cheddar or stilton (mature cheddar preferably), the two were born for one and other.
It was my friend Dan who re-instilled the values of this combination as a tasty snack. Of course I have had them together before- mostly on a cheeseboard, but there was something wonderfully farmerish, holes-in-the-jumper, big ‘ands and bailing twine about the way Dan preferred his: Quite simply an apple and a chunk of Cheddar.
During April, as the pair of us toiled to get Safari Britain up and running for the summer and between chat about local gossip, gambling landlords, back-end sheep harassing teens and setting fire to defunct livestock-Sussex banter at its finest, dirty hands would devour the pair often. Now, it was something that Dan said that gave me this little, ludicrously simple idea:
“I wish there was someway you could grow an apple with cheddar inside, or perhaps even combine the two into a Jekyll & Hyde monster of a mouthful”
I pondered this for a moment: “Couldn’t you just core an apple and stuff it with cheese? Ooo…or even bake it with a some pickle!”
Dan wasn’t stupid: “Don’t you pinch my idea…OR blog it you bastard!”
Well…think of it as the highest form of flattery.
I managed to bake an egg in a tomato whilst bored one afternoon in London- this is much more inspired! A perfect snack or addition to that wonderful platter, the ‘Ploughmans’ of which the origins are not clear (1870’s England seems to be the best I can give you).
First slice off a ‘lid’ and then simply core your apple (Braeburn or Cox’s) a little wider than usual, fill it 1/3 with grated mature cheddar, 1/3 branston pickle or piccalilli, 1/3 mature cheddar and replace the top. Eat.
Now one thing I will make clear is that there is a danger when consuming such a trinket: Lock jaw, chin strain or chin cramp (which I believe is the technical term), taking a large bite out of an apple loaded with such a delectable filling is not recommended. Full stop.
This Friday I will be collaborating with Kerstin Rodgers aka Msmarmitelover, author of the recently published and hugely successful “Supperclub: Recipes and notes from the underground restaurant” to put together a wild food supper, there are still a few tickets left so don’t miss out: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/105047
Hunter:Gather:Cook HQ has become a second home and perhaps the best kitchen I have EVER had the pleasure of working in, something about that kitchen ‘triangle’ and the fact it’s wood fired AND in the middle of the woods methinks. As for courses, give me a call or drop me an email with when you want to come along and we can accomodate! I have decided that perhaps fixing dates for courses is too regimented and doesn’t fit with the way I like to do things- tailor made is much more preferable for both parties. I have been a bit overwhelmed with the feedback so far and the surprise at just how much fits into the day- so thanks to all of my hunter-gatherers so far! Also we have been tucking into plenty of carp which we/you catch from our pond- tastes of mud my arse! Absolutely amazing fish...
Carp with lemon, bay and Jack-by-the-hedge, wrapped and cooked in Burdock leaves.
At long last, on my weekend off, I managed to sort out the patch at the new pad and filled it with salads, runner beans, peas, potatoes, pak choi, spinach, radishes, carrots etc- just got to wait for them to grow and keep slugs and rabbits at bay.The produce will not only supply the house but keep HGC headquarters in the freshest, local grub around.
Final note- I have recently become sponsored by Element for my work in all things wild. Element are a global skate/surf brand that are branching out into the great outdoors with their non-profit organization “Elemental Awareness” and run Skate camps in Northern Cali and Bilbao. I will be spending a bit of time in July and August doing workshops in Bilbao and putting the kids through a Hunter-gatherer masterclass- exciting stuff!
Oh and in two weeks time, I will spend a week living as a caveman with absolutely nothing, for a feature I'm doing for Reader’s Digest with my friend and adventurer Al Humphreys. Thankfully James at Native Awareness (runs courses in Primitive skills) has been most helpful with tips, stone age gizmos and clothing. Hmmmm, I'm always up for a challenge...