IIn a miserable year, the brief moments of joy should be appreciated even more. Today, cold, damp, and grappling with a blanket of soggy leaves in the garden, I smell the smell of baked apples coming through the open kitchen door. A hint of fruit that slowly turns to foam and the aroma of golden butter and sugar that, even briefly, fixes my world. A plate of small pink dessert apples whose sweetness is intensified in the oven, which we will eat with homemade blackberry and apple ice cream. The ice cream will slowly melt over the fruit, forming a delicious apple-scented puddle that lurks at the bottom of our plates.
The recipe is simple. Stewed apples, scrambled with homemade custard and then frozen. I have an ice cream machine, which hums insistently, like a trapped bee, while I make dinner, but ice cream can be made quite easily without a machine. Even before I set foot in the kitchen, I think back to the moment when cold ice cream meets fiery hot apple.
The pudding will come as a balm after a claw fish dish. The halibut fillets, cut through the bone, have spent an hour or two in a marinade of yogurt, green chillies, garlic, and ginger, ready to be grilled until their edges blacken in the heat. The fish will be finished with a dressing of chopped chives, mint, more green chilli, and lemon juice. A moment of joy indeed.
Halibut with yogurt and chives
A thick fish fillet (hake, halibut, or salmon) cut through the bone is good here, but you can also use a thick cut of the fillet. I plan pieces of about 200g in weight. Marinate for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t leave it much longer though, as the meat can turn woolly. On the side, maybe some cabbage or lightly sautéed green beans. For 4 people
halibut or hake fillets 4, thick
For the marinade:
natural yogurt 200ml
ginger 1 piece of 45g
Garlic 2 teeth
Green Chiles 2, medium size
Cornmeal 1 tablespoon
coriander leaves 20g
Spring onions 6
olive oil 6 tablespoons
mint leaves fifteen
parsley leaves a bunch
green chile 1, mild
Place the yogurt in a large bowl and then add 50 ml of cold water. Grate the ginger to a puree, finely chop the garlic and then mix both with the yogurt.
Finely chop the green chilli, then add the yogurt with the cornmeal and the finely chopped coriander. Grind some black pepper and then dip the fish in the marinade and let it rest for an hour.
Cover a grill pan with aluminum foil. Heat a top grill (oven). Place the fish on the foil without removing too much marinade and leaving plenty of space between the pieces. Place under the grill and cook for approximately 10 minutes, observing carefully. (The exact time will depend on the thickness of your fish). You want a little color in the yogurt, but without the fish overcooking.
Finely chop the chives and put them in a pan with half the olive oil. Cook over moderate heat until soft. Remove from the fire. Finely chop the mint, parsley, and green chilli, then add to the onions. Squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the mixture, then add the rest of the olive oil and a little salt.
When the fish is done, place it on hot plates and then pour over the chive dressing.
Baked apples, blackberry and apple ice cream
I suggest baking dessert apples for their contrast to the crispness of the ice cream. If you have a farmers market you can get Howgate Wonder or even Peasgood’s Nonsuch, surely worth buying from the name alone. For 4 people
For the ice cream:
acute Cooking apples 1 kilogram
gold powdered sugar 200g
plain or whipping cream 400 ml
egg yolks 4
blackberries a bunch
For the roasted apples:
dessert apples 8, medium size
powdered sugar 2 tablespoons
Butter a bit
To make the ice cream, peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a saucepan with half the sugar and cook over low heat (they don’t need water, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn). Once some juice has formed, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend with a fork and cool.
Bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat. Beat in the egg yolks and the remaining sugar, then add the hot cream. Rinse the saucepan – really important – and return the pastry cream, stirring over low heat until slightly thickened. Cool quickly by submerging the pot in ice water, stirring constantly.
Mix the custard with the applesauce and beat in a refrigerator until almost frozen. Add the blackberries and stir briefly until the berries begin to break apart. Scrape into a freezer box and place in the freezer.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour into a plastic freezer box, cover, and freeze for 1 hour. Remove and beat, then return to the freezer. Repeat three or four times.
Set the oven to 200 ° C / gas mark 6. Score each apple around the horizon with a small knife – to prevent them from exploding – then place them in a baking dish. Bake for 30-50 minutes depending on its size. Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with sugar, then return for 10 more minutes until shiny.
Serve the apples warm, accompanied by blackberry and apple ice cream.
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