Just as I always delay turning on the heating in the house as long as possible, I try to let the sun shine as long as possible in the kitchen. After all, there is still plenty of summer stuff until mid-October. One more time soup from the last tomatoes from the garden. One more time peperonata of gently stewed red and yellow peppers. One more time melanzane alla parmigiana, that irresistible casserole of layers of aubergine and melted cheese.
But it will stop once. One day you buy a bag of gingerbread nuts in the supermarket – phew, ridiculous, hmm, you’re in the mood – and you know it’s time to capitulate. Time to switch to a different cooking repertoire. Autumn calls for stews and hearty soups and spicy curries and other things that keep you warm inside.
During this period my mother often made hot lightning, an old Dutch stew of potatoes, onions and apples, and that seems like a nice dish to kick off the new season. You need two kinds of apples, sour and sweet. Star apples are ideal for those sour ones and Dijkmans Zoet is the sweet apple for hot lightning. Both are old-fashioned varieties that with a bit of luck can be found at farm shops or the organic market. For those who don’t feel like going out or don’t have the time: Goudreinettes and Jonagolds, for sale at every greengrocer and supermarket, are also fine.
In the province of Gelderland, hot lightning is traditionally served with brisket. Fried bacon and smoked sausage also go well with it. But because of the apples, I think black pudding is the best combination. Sometimes I also fry two extra sour apples in some butter. If you sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt over it, they form a delicious sweet-sour-salty companion to the savory sausage.