Coming to the end of September and Irish apples are now available. This is the time to celebrate the fruits of the orchards all over the country. Tipperary, north county Dublin and Armagh are famous apple growing regions. Many apple trees have been bearing fruit since late August. By now the season is in full swing. Nothing betters the taste of an Irish apple straight from the orchard. The climate here usually means plenty of soft rain during the growing time, so apples are plump and juicy. This year’s wonderful summer has had its effect on the crop – meaning apples are ripe and ready to go on time. Dessert apples are used for many a crumble and tart. We particularly like them baked whole in the oven, the cores removed to hold a mix of brown sugar and dried fruits like sultanas. The apples stay in one piece, but the flesh inside is generously sweet and pulpy when your dig your spoon in. A splash of Irish cream makes this simple and economical dish into the dessert of desserts. Bramley cooking apples make fantastic sauce for pork. They cook themselves into a soft texture, with the addition of sugar and butter, a light squeeze of lemon juice and splash of water to get things going. It’s dead easy to make your own traditional apple sauce, or a customized one with spices like cinnamon or star anise if you wish. Serve it also with duck – another rich meat that enjoys the briskness of a fresh apple sauce to accompany. Check out your local farmer’s market for Irish orchard apples – several varities are grown. Some are great for eating as they come or using in desserts. Others have a gentle acidity and crispness perfect with Irish farmhouse cheeses.