Long simmering makes this hearty stew perfect for cool autumn days, when apples and cabbage are at their best. Experiment with different types of apples – Granny Smiths are tart and tangy, Golden Delicious juicy and mild. This stew is also superb served with couscous instead of pasta.
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
500 g lean boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite–sized chunks
2 onions, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons raisins
2 cups (500 ml) cider
1 cup (250 ml) pork or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or to taste
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground allspice
12 prunes, pitted
½ red cabbage, cut into bite–sized pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500 g orecchiette (little pasta ears) or conchiglie (shells)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a heavy–based saucepan or flameproof casserole, add the chunks of pork and cook until they are starting to brown.
Add the onions and continue to cook until the pork and onions are both lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the apples, carrot, raisins, cider, stock, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon and allspice.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
Cook over a very low heat for about 1 hour.
Mix in the prunes and red cabbage and cover the pan again.
Continue to cook gently for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.
Stir in the tomato paste.
Leave to cook gently, covered, while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
The hollows in hard–boiled egg halves make perfect containers for a tasty filling – here carrot and chive – and the eggs look attractive served on a bed of ribbon vegetables and lamb's lettuce. All you need is some bread to make a satisfying lunch.
Couscous is extremely versatile and can be used for both savoury dishes and for sweet ones, such as this quickly made, delicious hot cereal. The couscous is mixed with dried fruit and soaked briefly in hot milk, then topped with fresh fruit, to create something a little different to start the day.
For this savoury version of a classic French batter pudding, sweet cherry tomatoes are baked in a light, fluffy batter flavoured with grated pecorino cheese. Make individual clafoutis, or one large one, and serve for a simple lunch or dinner with bread or boiled new potatoes and green beans.
For these delectable chilli–flavoured omelettes, the eggs are whisked with cornflour to give them a slightly firmer texture, suitable for folding round a colourful and tasty filling of stir–fried vegetables and rice noodles.