September 21, 2010
Baked apples with Agave and fennel
My kids love green apples, they'll choose them over golden delicious, pink lady's, galas etc....any day. I think it is the sweet/sour flavour that draws them in. I however am not that much of a fan. For me the pure sweetness of a pink lady is delicious, no to mention the sweet juices of a hand picked gala apple dripping down your face. I tend to reserve the greens for cooking (if the boys haven't eaten them all!).
Last night I pulled some pork chops out for dinner and was trying to think outside the box to make dinner a little more exciting yet healthy. Nic loves fruit with pork, so I started poking through the kitchen to see what I had. Prunes were first to show themselves, I thought about it but then decided against them. Alex and I love prunes and tend to eat most of the packet before they can get into a sauce.
I bought a big bag of Granny Smith apples and thought I'd introduce the boys to baked apples.
When they saw me grilling them in the beginning, they didn't seem to impressed so I decided to sweeten them up a little with agave nectar. I love this stuff, it is totally natural; produced from the blue agave plant. If you have never heard of it before, it is crossed between maple syrup and caramel. It is cheaper than pure maple in Australia and is seriously good.....even better it has fewer calories than sugar. It is really low in G.I. but high in fructose, so I think that means guilt free??
Anyway, once I cut the apples in half, took out the core (but left the bottoms in tact) and lightly grilled them; I then smashed some fennel seeds, sprinkled them on top of the apples along with some salt, then drizzled on some agave and popped them in the oven (temp 180) for about 25 minutes to soften.
I wasn't sure how they were going to work out, but that is half the fun. When I served them with a juicy pork chops smothered in seeded mustard and some greens, I was looking forward to our feast....the boys however were a big dubious!
'What is that?' was their first question, and the look on Max's face was pure disdain.
When I explained it was apple- green none the less, they didn't quite believe me so I had to put on my annoyed and irritated voice and say something like...
'Oh just try it, it is apple for goodness sake! and I baked it with syrup, what is there not to like?'
That seemed to do the trick, Max took the first bite and announced to the table that, actually it was pretty good (however you'd never know from the face he was pulling while swallowing his mouthful, I had to think of bad thoughts to stop myself from laughing!).
I'm not so sure Max was sold on the baked apple part of his meal but he sure gnawed that pork bone down to splinters!