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I met Chris during a class last July.

We shook hands, we seated around the table and we started talking. Meat sauce recipe has been our first topic.

Chris has Italian roots, from Southern Italy, and he still uses to cook the meat sauce each Sunday for all his family following his grandmother recipe.

He was curious to know about my way to prepare the meat sauce, to compare the recipe.

It has been like opening a Pandora's box. During the next three hours kneading pasta and stirring the meat sauce, we crossed Italy, from North to South, talking about our food memories and our family stories. We laughed a lot ... and we also were moved.

Before going Chris asked me about an apple cake his grandmother used to bake for him and unfortunately he didn't have the recipe.

Apple cake is and highlight of my mother's kitchen repertoire but she use to bake it without following a written recipe!

Days after I came back from the groceries with 4 apples, flour and sugar. I asked to my mother to bake an apple cake and to Alice, my daughter - very precise - to follow her grandmother taking note about whatever she was doing in the kitchen.

That's the result.

So dear Chris, this cake is for you, I hope you will try it and hope you will find some of your childhood "taste" in it.

MY MOTHER APPLES CAKE

3 large cooking apples – the juice of 1 lemon – 220 g.  sugar + 1 tablespoon– 3 eggs – 1 pinch of salt – 125 g. unsalted butter, melted –100 ml full fat milk -  250 g. all purpose flour, sifted – 1 teaspoon baking powder – cinnamon

Pre-heat the ove 180°

Grease and line a 22 cm diametre springform tin. 

Wash the apples, peel and slice them 1 cm thick.

Place the apples in a bowl add in the lemon juice, stir and set aside.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add gradually the butter and the milk.

Fold in the flour and the baking powder.

Pour the batter in the tin and add the apple slices pressing down gently.

Dust with sugar and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with some cinnamon