Spiced Apple Compote
4 Granny Smith apples
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large pieces of dried tangerine peel, broken smaller
2 whole star anise pods
an inch of stick cinnamon (thin cinnamon bark, not the thick cassia bark)
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (less or more to taste; Gillian loves it hot)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup of water
Put the whole spices into a bowl and set it aside. (I dry my own tangerine peel every season - it is easy enough to spread the pieces of peel on a plate for a few days, instead of throwing them away, and storing them in a screw-top glass jar to be used for all sorts of good things).
Put the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar into a large bowl. Peel, core and quarter the apples and stir them into the bowl with the juice.
Heat the olive oil till smoking in a skillet and fry the apple pieces briefly until they just start browning.
Throw in the spices and fry for a further minute or two.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the apples and then stir in 1 cup of water. Careful - it might splutter a bit!
Bring the heat down and simmer the apples in the syrup until they are barely tender.
Remove the whole spices except the star anise, which looks pretty (and keeps infusing); serve hot, at room temperature or lightly chilled.
Some people might like a further squirt of lemon juice to cut the sweetness.
Pairs Well With
(Dedicated to Gillian, who inspired it and always asks for it when she visits)
This is a wake-up call for breakfast, good to eat with pancakes or waffles, and also makes a great dessert served with a gingerbread cookie and a mix of equal amounts of sour cream and plain low-fat yoghurt.
For 2 to 3 people.