The time for comforting, warming food and drink is upon us, and we couldn’t be happier. Our friends at The Simple Things have shared with us their favorite classic recipes with a twist for enjoying by the bonfire, to warm your cockles and soothe your soul.
Food Photography: Catherine Frawley & Jonathan Cherry
Food Styling: Catherine Frawley & Gemma Cherry
Recipe & Food Prep: Marion Akonas & Bex Long
10 apples (Granny Smiths work well)
Toffee apple sticks*
300g light brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
6 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tsp flaked salt
Note: Unlike traditional toffee apples, getting a caramel sauce to stick to the apples is a little more tricky. You need a sugar thermometer and to work really quickly when dipping the apples. It may require a little more effort but the result is worth it! The apples can be made in advance; keep in Cellophane bags for 2–3 days.
1. Wash apples, dry thoroughly, remove stalks and replace with sticks. Place the fruit in the fridge (washing and chilling helps the sauce to stick).
2. Line a baking tray with parchment. Into a large pan, add the sugar, maple syrup, golden syrup, butter and vanilla, and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved – around 15 mins.
3. Add the thermometer, increase the heat, bringing the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring slowly but constantly until the temperature reaches 113C/236F (around 10 mins).
4. Carefully pour the caramel into a glass bowl, stir in the salt. Add the thermometer and allow the caramel to cool to 99C/210F (this should take around 10–15 mins).
5. Have your apples and baking tray ready and, working really quickly, submerge each apple into the caramel, twist, ensuring all but the top is covered and place on your baking tray.
6. Continue until all the apples are done. You can then go back and tidy up the bottom of each apple: either press into shape or scrape off excess caramel if you so wish.
7. If the temperature cools too much the caramel will slide straight off, so you may need to reheat and recool the remaining caramel to finish coating your fruit.
8. Allow the coated apples to set (2–3 hours) before placing in Cellophane bags; store in the fridge.
* Toffee apple sticks are a seasonal supermarket buy, or surf online for confectionary or lolly sticks; skewers work, too.
1.2l whole milk
3 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
225g dark chocolate (70% cocoa
solids), broken into small pieces
200ml double cream, whipped to
Toasted almond flakes
10g chocolate, grated
1. Place the milk in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add all the spices, honey and cocoa and slowly bring to boiling point. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid through a sieve into another pan or mixing bowl.
2. Discard the spices and return the milk to the pan. Add the chocolate and over a low heat stir or gently whisk until the chocolate has melted.
3. Serve into mugs and top with whipped cream, toasted almond flakes and grated chocolate.
500ml apple cider*
100ml apple juice
1 tbsp light brown sugar
Cinnamon sticks (one, plus some to
use as stirrers)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
Sliced fresh fruit (orange, apple)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1. In a large pot add the cider, apple juice and sugar; heat until it starts to simmer.
2. Add all other ingredients except for the butter and bourbon.
3. Let the spiced cider simmer for 10 mins, then add the butter and bourbon, stirring gently until the butter has melted.
4. Remove from the heat, pour into glasses, add a cinnamon stick to each glass and serve. You can strain the mixture before pouring, if you don’t want ‘bits’.
* To make a children’s version, replace the bourbon and cider with apple juice (600ml in total).