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This week's seasonal recommendation

 

What to cook this week?

Sun, 23 October, 2016

I struggle to find good eating apples. Spot on in season, they should be aplenty, local and fresh. Instead, if New Zealand is not the country of origin, it's Argentina and the taste leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps it's just me?

Luckily the cooking apples are faultless, or I'm less demanding of them. Autumn may not pass without a proper apple cake or two, so an apple confection with cinnamon and raisins, like a strudel (albeit cheat's) will be seasonal and worth the effort. There's also my favourite brown apple cake which is so simple to make you'll laugh.

Tomatoes still abound and if it wasn't for technical difficulties I might be still picking my own now. Stewed tomatoes, with a few prawns, a bit of fish, sausage or plain on their own are a perfect way of using overripe, slightly blemished fruit. And throw them into a ratatouille as well - my version is ridiculously easy. It's such a versatile side or a dish on its own, and it can easily be cooked in huge volumes and frozen or potted. And my final tomato suggestion is a pasta bake, always a crowd pleaser - this one with aubergine and tomato sauce.

Steak is so very often the favourite choice when eating out - I never do because it's easy to cook a good steak; cheaper - even for a good quality beef from a butcher's; and it needn't come with fries and béarnaise. A couple of suggestions here: steak with blue cheese and green vegetables and an excellent weeknight option of a steak and grilled veg salad.

Finally, if there's no escape from the imminent Halloween, stock up on garish sprinkles, black food colouring - or else make these zombie fingers. They're sure to be a hit with trick-or-treatsters.

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