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Armagh’s apples: recipes for tasty treats

As Co Armagh marks 200 years of Bramleys, you can try out these tasty treats

This year the Armagh apple industry is celebrating the 200th birthday of the famous Bramley apple, known as the King of Cooking Apples.

The celebrations will take place in Loughgall, in the heart of the Orchard County, with all the fun of the fair — the first Armagh Bramley Blossom Fair — today and tomorrow.

Darina Allen from Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co Cork will be cooking up a storm with a series of cookery demonstrations while golf enthusiasts will battle it out to win the first Bramley Blossom Open Tournament. Children will enjoy fun activities like the bouncy castle and roundabout while face-painting is always popular.

Older children can get some exercise on the assault course or by taking their test for cycling proficiency, while the more studious will have the opportunity to examine some interesting specimens under the microscope at Loughgall Research Centre.

Everyone is welcome and entry to Loughgall Manor Estate and activities is free of charge.

Bramley Bake

Serves 2

2 large Bramley apples, |peeled and cored

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/4 to 1/2 cup firmly-packed Brown sugar

Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice apples into thick slices.

In a cast-iron skillet or baking pan, either in your oven or on your stove top, gently melt the butter.

Layer apple slices on top of the melted butter and sprinkle with rolled oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until apples are tender when poked with a knife. Remove from oven.

Serve warm or cold, with fresh cream or custard.

Bramley Crumble

Serves 8

5 medium-large Bramleys, peeled and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned porridge oats (not instant)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tbsp butter cut into small pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple juice concentrate,

1/3 cup coarsely chopped |hazelnuts or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8-inch square (or 2-quart) deep baking tin with cooking spray.

Combine apples with granulated sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Transfer to the baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix to blend. Using your fingers (or a fork or pastry blender), cut in butter until evenly distributed and there are no chunks. Stir in oil, apple juice concentrate and nuts; toss well until evenly moistened and clumpy.

Remove the foil from the baking dish and scatter the topping evenly over the apples. Bake uncovered until the topping has browned and the fruit is soft and bubbling, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Cooking time: 40mins

Bramley and Fruit Loaf

1 lb Bramley apples – weighed when peeled and cored

1/2 lb butter

1/2 lb sugar

12oz plain flour OR 6 oz plain flour + 6 oz wholemeal flour

1 level tsp baking soda

2 tsp mixed spice

2 large eggs

1/2 lb raisins

1/2 lb sultanas

1/4 lb glace cherries, quartered

1/4 lb chopped walnuts

Stew apples carefully with the sugar and leave to cool. When cooked add butter and stir until butter has melted.

When apples are cold stir in baking soda and beaten eggs.

Add sieved flour and spice then stir in all remaining ingredients.

Divide between 2 x 2lb loaf tins which have been lined and greased. Place slightly higher than middle of oven. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours at 150º C/800ºF or Gas mark 3.

Bramley Chicken in Honey & Mustard Sauce

Serves 4

1/2 cup apple cider (preferably Armagh Bramley cider)

1 1/2 tsp cornflour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp mustard

2 tbsp seasoned dry breadcrumbs

4 4oz chicken breasts

1 tbsp olive oil

2 unpeeled Bramley apples, cored and cut into eighths

1/2 cup chicken broth (packet or tin)

Fresh parsley

Whisk cider, cornflour, mustard, honey, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl. Set aside.

Spread breadcrumbs on a piece of wax paper, lightly coat chicken with crumbs.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil and add the chicken breasts. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on one side, about three minutes. Turn chicken, add apples, and cook until browned on the other side.

Add chicken broth, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove chicken and apples to serving plates. Whisk cider mixture again and add to skillet. Cook and stir over high heat until lightly thickened and bubbly, one to two minutes. Spoon over chicken and apples, sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with rice or potatoes and mixed salad.

Pork in cider

Serves 4

4 pork loin steaks

1 tbsp plain flour, seasoned

1 tbsp olive oil

500ml bottle Armagh/Magner’s Cider

1/2 x 500g pack baby new |potatoes, thickly sliced

1 medium Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 x 15g pack fresh thyme

200ml tub crème fraîche

1 Bramley apple sliced thinly

Coat the pork in the seasoned flour. In a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil then brown the pork on both sides for 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the cider and add the potatoes. Bring to the boil then add the chopped apple and thyme. Season well, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the pork is thoroughly cooked with no pink meat. Stir in the crème fraîche and apple slices and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes until the apples are just tender.

Preparation time 35 mins

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