Zapped Apples

There are many things I love about the autumn.  The colours of the leaves for one (not to mention the classic jazz tune “Autumn leaves”) and the fact that my birthday is slap-bang in the middle of the season for another.

I also love the opportunities for apple-based cooking (and eating and drinking) that autumn presents.

This year, as usual, I’ve been given lots of apples by friends who have orchards (or at least an apple tree) so I’ve been able to make plenty of apple crumble and stewed apples (both wonderful with custard and very pleasant without) and I’m planning to get a small batch of cider under way in the next few days (partly because it’s the only way I can think of using up all the rest of the apples before they start decomposing; fortunately I happen to rather like cider anyway).

Another thing I like to do with apples is something suggested to me by a friend (in fact, one of my main apple donors in previous years), who described it as a fake baked apple. The idea is that you get a fairly large apple, wash it, remove the core and score round the equator of the skin, then fill the hollow core with raisins, sugar and cinnamon (at least, that’s how I usually do it these days – I think he just suggested raisins and sugar) and stick it in the microwave for a few minutes.

Depending on how long you cook it for (and, obviously, the related variables of the size of the apple, the power of the microwave etc.), this can end up more or less as a sweet apple sauce not quite neatly contained in an edible bag (i.e. the apple skin – it tends to ooze out somewhat, but the skin prevents it spreading too far). It’s certainly a very tasty snack or dessert.

For years I’ve been calling this concoction a fake baked apple but I’ve never really been happy with the name as it doesn’t seem to do it full justice. I think the result is probably quite similar to what you’d get if you actually baked an apple (with a hollow core filled with raisins etc.) but, while doing it in the microwave probably means its not strictly baked (I’m not sure of the exact definition of baking) it’s not really a fake either.

In the last few weeks I’ve come up with an alternative and, I think, much better name for this recipe: Zapped Apple


Macaroni and apples

Last week, I was on holiday in Catalonia.  This has reinvigorated my interest in Spain and the Spanish language (as well as giving me a taste for Catalan).  A few more posts related to my trip will probably follow soon, but for now here’s a trilingual treat that I came across while surfing Wikipedia earlier today.  (The third language in question, though, isn’t Catalan as you might expect from the start of this paragraph, but Latin, the grand-daddy of them all.)

In English, we have a well-known saying:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

This is probably somewhat exaggerated but it’s certainly true that apples are quite healthy and eating them regularly is likely to have a positive rather than negative effect on your general health (sadly, I’m not sure that drinking cider counts).  Actually, I read an interesting blog post fairly recently (and, sadly, have mislaid the link to it) suggesting that bananas are even healthier and we’d do better to say “A banana a day…”, but that’s digressing.

There is also a Latin saying that probably still just about qualifies as well-known (at any rate, it’s one I’ve known for a long time):

Mens sana in corpore sano

This means “A healthy mind in a healthy body”.  Presumably the point of this is to indicate a correlation between mental and physical health.

The Wikipedia page on bilingual puns lists a delightful merging of these two sayings that approximates the meaning of the English one by substituting a similar sounding Spanish word (manzana = apple) for the first couple of words of the Latin one:

Manzana in corpore sano

(Literally, “An apple in a healthy body”).



NB in case you’re wondering about the title of this post, this Wikipedia article on macaronic language might help.