The UK’s apple season gets under way this month, with some of the earliest varieties ripe and ready for picking.

The old adage says an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and apples are certainly packed full of nutrition, and, locally grown and in season, they are brimming with flavour.

The earliest mention of apples in the UK was in King Alfred’s English translation of Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Care, in the ninth century.

With the Norman Conquest in the 11th century, apple growing, especially in monasteries, became hugely popular, with trees brought from France cross-pollinated with UK apple trees to produce a host of new varieties.

In Worcestershire we are renowned for our fine apple crop, and our diverse and interesting apple varieties.

This abundant harvest is celebrated annually with the Tenbury Applefest, which takes place this year on October 5.

Tree nursery company Frank P Matthews will be there again, displaying an astonishing 250 different varieties of apple.

The recipe below marries apple and pork – a combination made in heaven.

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Slow cooked pork belly, mash, and celeriac & apple rémoulade

Serves 4

Pork belly

Half a pork belly boned and scored

Sea salt to lightly cover skin on belly

100ml white wine

300ml apple juice

1.5 litres chicken stock

Salt the skin side of the belly and leave on a tray in the fridge for 1 hour

Sweat off 1 leek, 3 carrots, 2 sticks celery and an onion – colour and then add pork bones from belly

After 5mins add wine and reduce by half, then add the chicken and veal stock – reduce by half

Wash salt off belly

Put the vegetables in bottom of a deep tray, put belly on top (skin side down), cover with stock and greaseproof over and then foil

Cook for 4 hours at 145C

Carefully take out and cool slightly then press – cover with greaseproof and press with a tray and heavy object in for at least 6 hours

Strain the stock for the sauce and reduce if necessary for desired thickness of sauce

When cooking the belly, trim up sides of belly and neatly portion to size, drizzle oil in a cold pan and place belly skin side down and leave until golden

Place in the oven for 12-15 mins at 170C

Celeriac and apple rémoulade

1 celeriac (peeled and finely sliced on a mandolin, then sliced very finely by hand into match sticks)

3 banana shallots 2 cloves garlic

1tbsp grain mustard 2 medium eating apples

Pinch of chopped thyme 200ml double cream

70g butter Seasoning

Lightly cook shallots in butter, then add garlic and thyme, stir for 2mins,

Then add cream and reduce by half

Then add celeriac, and apple and stir until tender, take off heat and add mustard and seasoning

Mashed potatoes

6 Desiree potatoes 150g butter

100ml milk 100ml cream


Bake potatoes in their skins until soft,

Scoop out and add the milk, cream and butter that has been heated together in a pan until bubbling,

Then mash together until smooth and season

Plate up and enjoy while everything is still nice and hot.