Halloween flitted past the Dine at Mine household without us even noticing. As a mark of how out of sync we were, I can relate that on Monday night we were troubled by a ghostly ring at the door. As I answered, I felt a cold, dead hand of horror clutch at my heart. Not because I was scared of the small children's costumes - they were pretty half-hearted, to be honest - but because I realized we had no sweets in the house whatsoever. What could I offer them? Yoghurt? A scoop of ice cream? Oatcakes? It was embarrassing.
We're much more on board for Fireworks Night, and even if our two planned displays get rained off (sigh), we're still going to observe the traditions. As far as I can see, Guy Fawkes food consists of sausages and toffee apples - and we sensibly decided to start with pudding.
In a half-arsed attempt to make a proper pudding which wasn't too unhealthy, I tried to avoid crumbles, grunts, pies, cobblers and all other delicious and onomatopoeic dishes in favour of simple baked apples. In my greedy head, that seemed almost wholesome - practically the same as just eating the apple, only pimped up a bit! But then, as you can see from the picture above, I took it too far. Too far beyond healthy into the realms of butter and dark, treacly sugar.
The toffee sauce here is lovely but the main virtue is symbolic - it's now officially time for proper puddings. As Autumn draws in, it seems almost criminal to end a meal without a little something hot, sweet and served with ice cream. Fruit and yoghurt is all very well in Summer but it gets dark at 4 now, we need something more unholy to get us through a night of sparklers and oohs and aahs. Fingers crossed the rain holds off, and I wish you all good sausages and toffee apples. In other words, happy fireworks night! My favourites are the crackly gold glitter ones that look like Tina Turner - watch out for them, it's uncanny.
Baked Cinnamon Apples with Raisins
- 2 eating apples
- a big handful of raisins
- a couple of tablespoons of dark brown sugar
- a good shake of ground cinnamon
- some butter
Start by preheating the oven to about 180C and butter the bottom of an oven-proof dish.
Core the apples (I used a fancy corer which was BRILLIANT) and slice the skin all around the equator to stop it from bursting open later. Place them in the buttered dish.
Mix together the raisins, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and poke it into the cores of the apple, scattering any extra over and around the apples. Flake a further knob of butter on top of each apple, then bake the whole lot for around half an hour or until bronzed and bubbling. Serve with ice cream, yoghurt or cold, cold clotted cream.