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Monday, 14 February 2011

Get fruity with Pink Apple for your Valentine's Day Menu

Pink Lady® Apple Valentines Menu

Love is in the air with Valentines Day fast approaching, but with the cold weather and gloomy economic climate set to continue, a cosy romantic night in sharing delicious home made food will likely be the celebration of choice for many couples this Valentines Day. And what better ingredient to base an indulgent but affordable three course meal around than Pink Lady® apples, the apples raised with love?

It takes over 200 days of tender loving care for each Pink Lady® apple to grow from pip to perfection. Growing them longer on the tree allows them to develop their distinctive pink blush, sweet flavour, crisp texture and champagne-like taste, all of which make them the perfect ‘core’ ingredient for a homemade Valentines meal for someone special.

So why not spread the love this Valentines Day by making the ultimate homemade Valentines meal.

STARTER - Goats cheese and Pink Lady® salad
Serves 2

You’ll need:
• 2 Pink Lady® apples, cored and chopped
• 80g crumbled goats cheese
• 2tbsps sweetened dried cranberries
• 6tbsps fresh parsley leaves
• 4tbsps reduced fat French or vinaigrette-style dressing

What to do:
1. Mix together the Pink Lady apple, goats cheese, cranberries and parsley leaves
2. Dress with the vinaigrette and serve

Valentines tip: Serve this dish up on a sharing plate to help create an intimate atmosphere from the start

MAIN COURSE - Pink Lady® Apple Pork Chops
Serves 2

You’ll need:
• 4 lean boneless pork loin chops, 100g each
• 1 sliced onion
• 200ml clear apple juice
• 2tsps chopped fresh thyme
• 2 large Pink Lady® apples
• 2tbsps lemon juice
• 15g cornflour
• 2tbsps cold water
• Pepper

What to do:
1. Place the chops in large heavy based frying pan with the onion, apple juice and thyme. Bring the apple juice to the boil, cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently until cooked – about 15 minutes – turning the pork over half way through.
2. Meanwhile peel the apple, core and cut into 5mm circles, tossing in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
3. When the pork is cooked, add the apple slices and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Blend the cornflour with the water and stir well into the apple juice to thicken the sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the apples are just tender (don’t be tempted to use apples other than Pink Lady as they won’t keep their shape as well and will spoil the look of the dish)

DESSERT - Spiced Pink Lady Apple Tarte Tatin
Serves 6

You’ll need:
• 2kg Pink Lady® apples
• Juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons
• 125g unsalted butter, slightly softened
• 125g caster sugar
• 20 cloves, crushed
• 1 nutmeg, finely grated
• 200g puff pastry

What to do:
1. Smear the butter over the base and sides of a cold pan and sprinkle over the sugar. Give the pan a shake to even it out, then sprinkle over the cloves and nutmeg.
2. Roll out the puff pastry in to a disc, about 2cm wider than the rim of the pan, and leave to rest in the fridge on greaseproof paper.
3. In a bowl, roll the Pink Lady® apple halves in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Shake off any excess juice, and arrange the pieces in the pan, standing on their sides, in concentric circles, embedding them into the mix. Pack the apples in tightly and put the pan on a fierce heat.
4. Move the pan around on the flame until a deep, rich caramel colour has developed evenly. This process can take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the pan and heat.
5. Leave the pan to cool, and drop the disc of pastry on to the apples, allowing the edge to hang over the sides of the pan. Place the pan in a pre-heated oven (Mark 7, 220 C, 425F) and bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is nicely risen. Remove from the oven and rest for a minute. Turn out onto an inverted plate to find a perfect golden circle of apples. Serve warm, with a bit of double cream or vanilla ice cream.

Valentines Tip: Those looking for extra Valentine’s Day brownie points from the first meal of the day should try surprising their Valentine with a delicious and healthy breakfast in bed: a Pink Lady® Smoothie.

Pink Lady® Apple Smoothie
Serves 1

You’ll need:
• 1 Pink Lady® apple, core removed and roughly chopped
• 1 kiwi, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 banana, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
• 2 teaspoons of runny honey (optional)
• 200ml cranberry juice
• 150ml natural yogurt (bio or soya can be used)
• 4 ice-cubes, to give you a chilled smoothie

What to do:
1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
2. Pour into a glass and drink straight away.

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