I gave you a sweet version of a baked apple – but a savoury one works just as well. There is something so intriguing and versatile about the apple – it makes a lovely pie, a cake, a relish, a chutney… and also goes superbly well with almost every kind of cheese. The Gujarati in me enjoys sweetness in every meal – a discovery I learnt at a very late age. I grew up on meals with many regional and international influences, but surprisingly less of Gujarati (both my parents are pure-bred Gujaratis but don’t eat so). It was only after moving to Ahmedabad did I really experiment with the local cuisine. I discovered that I enjoy Gujarati dal and kadi with a lot more sweetness than what I grew up with. I am beginning to warm to the idea of eating mango ras with roti and puranpuri as well – not quite there, but give me a few more years. That’s the beauty of food habits – they tend to grow on you. My parents were strict at the table – if we didn’t like anything that was given, we didn’t get any other food and were served that for the consequent 3 days until we learned to eat it up or go hungry. Sounds military-esque, but it worked. This is how you build tastes and encourage kids to try new foods. In other words, we were far from pampered and spoilt.

I remembered all this simply because for this recipe the tables had turned last week, and I forced my mother to eat this. She was being fussy, grumbly and cranky about trying this delicious baked apple, and I put it in front of her, until she had no choice. She liked it. PROOF that if you force feed, it will work. She’s now put this recipe up for her next dinner party (and pretty sure she’ll claim the credit too and we shall bicker in front of the guests!). So, if you have kids or fussy adults, try to take this route, and see the beauty and ease of traveling with your kids the next time!

Here, I stuff the apples with ground almonds, cranberries, sage, grainy mustard, onions and gruyere cheese – the combination is an utter delight on the palate. This is a great side dish to pasta, rice or quinoa. If you don’t have gruyere, you can opt for any other strong flavoured cheese that complements the apple well (ementhal, gouda, Britannia block cheese, Swiss).

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.