Tis’ the wassailing season, so it is. When jolly rural peasant folk enjoy the simple pleasure of a glass of cider in the orchard on 17th January (The old Twelfth Night) to toast the health of the apples.  Their merry singing wards off evil spirits and ensures a good apple harvest the following Autumn. It will almost certainly be in the Archers this week.

West Oxfordshire not overflowing with bucolic peasant folk these days, our two apple trees, I’m afraid, received no such ceremony. I might have mumbled a few words of encouragement to them whilst sipping a G&T but I can’t see that counting. And perhaps I am suffering the consequences of my wassailing neglect since I did the same last year and, whilst I did have an apple harvest, it was small and I had nothing to store away in the shed for a cold Tuesday in January.

Nonetheless, apples are on my mind. And if you’ve wassailed with more fervor than I you may well still have last Autumn’s apples stored in your shed. So here are two quick little recipes for those most ardent of wassailers blessed with an apple glut.

Bircher Muesli

Serves 3

  • 3 apples
  • 100g jumbo oats
  • 50g linseed porridge
  • 50ml apple juice
  • 50ml water
  • around 150g plain, fat free yogurt
  • Seeds and dried fruit, to finish

Core and grate the apples into a large bowl. I like to leave the skins on to add colour and texture. Add the linseed porridge and oats. Pour in the apple juice, water and yogurt and mix well. If it looks a little stiff, add a bit more liquid. Pop it in the fridge overnight, or for at least 30 minutes then serve topped with a few seeds, dried berries and, if you’re feeling very Notting Hill, bee pollen as I have in the picture (it’s apparently incredibly, though inexplicably, good for you and therefore uber-trendy).

Incidentally, if you are a Harcombe dieter (as I am, on occasions), then this is a great breakfast, just keep the apple juice quantity nice and low.

Apple Salad

  • 1 apple
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • a chunk of salty blue cheese (Cropwell Bishop is perfect)
  • Handful of hazelnuts

Simply chop up all the ingredients finely and mix well. The cheese is creamy and salty so it’s happy without a dressing, but if you insist, then a drizzle of olive oil is as far as I’d go.

You will unsurprised to hear that there is a whole chapter on apples in the G&G Cookbook and Growing Guide so do get yourself a copy if you haven’t already.