When you go to the supermarket you usually find three or four types of apples – golden delicious, granny smith, pink lady, fuji. Sometimes you might come across a jonathan, or a red delicious. Truth is there are scores of different heirloom apple varieties – sundowner, jazz, alvina, cameo, eve, royal gala, winesap, bramley… These days, though, commercial apple farmers grow the apples for their look and their ability to be stored and travel well. Taste, sadly, is not on the top of the list. If you want to delve into the many different apples available, you need to head down to apple country and find yourself some growers.
We’re pretty lucky to have found a grower down at our local market who comes up from Stanthorpe – Queensland’s apple capital – every week. Each week he’ll have some 8 – 10 apple varieties to choose from, along with – season depending – pears, quince, persimmon. I tend to go for crunchy not-overly-sweet apples, and for ages I was loving the alvinas until they went out of season. Lately it’s been cameos, but they are now at the end of their season too.
Generally I eat my apples straight up. Whole and crunchy. Sometimes I’ll whip up an apple pie, and I am partial to the odd apple cake. With the onset of winter though I’ve been thinking of baked fruit – rhubarb is my go-to, but with a big bowl of apples on the kitchen bench this week and some lovely 100% maple syrup in the cupboard, I decided to go ahead and bake me some apples. I only did two, but they were so delicious that next time I’m going to double (or triple) the recipe and I’ll have Maple-Baked Apples on my porridge all week!
As for the semolina porridge, it’s a bit of a childhood throwback. In winter I eat porridge most mornings, usually a grainy mix of millet, quinoa and oats, made on water with just a dash of honey added to keep things sweet. As kids though, mum always made us semolina porridge. It has been years since I’ve had a bowl of semolina porridge but the smell and taste brought memories rushing back – sitting up on the stools with my brothers at our brown tiled kitchen bench, eating porridge out of blue-and-white bowls.
This Semolina Porridge & Maple-Baked Apples isn’t an everyday brekky. It’s a weekend porridge – a little richer and more decadent, creamy and sweet with just a hint of coconut. A lovely morning treat.
Semolina Porridge & Maple Baked Apples
2 apples, crunchy
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsps maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup semolina
2 cups milk (almond, soy, cows, etc.)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of salt
Extra milk, to serve
Pre-heat oven to 200°c/400°f. Line a tray with baking paper.
Start off by preparing the baked apples. In a small bowl combine the coconut oil (melted), maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Remove the apple cores and chop into large chunks. Add to the bowl containing the maple syrup mixture and stir to coat. Pour out onto the prepare baking tray in a single layer. Bake for approx. 25 minutes, until apples are soft but not mushy.
When the apples are almost ready, combine the milk, maple syrup, salt and milk in a small pot over a medium heat. Stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t boil. When the milk mixture is hot but not boiling add the semolina, pouring in a steady stream. Turn the heat down low and stir consistently with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps. The porridge will thicken very quickly – as soon as it reaches a texture that you like remove from the heat.
Spoon the porridge into two bowls, top with the baked apples (and the maple syrup juices), add a splash more milk, and eat immediately.