As a wine merchant I have undertaken a great deal of travelling, visiting wineries and vineyards across the globe. And although I have clocked up an awful lot of air miles, I no longer want my supper to have done the same.

For the best part of human history, selecting locally grown seasonal ingredients was not a fashionable trope, it was the only way one could cook. Most of the home-cooked dishes we identify with today were born out this pragmatic activity, none more so than this simple country pudding.

Although some chefs – benefitting from book sales rather than cooking in their kitchens – have cynically appropriated the dictum of fresh, local and seasonal, the home cooking I undertake and respect from others has always been dependent upon it. I like to think the recipes I have selected for my family over 40 years or so will illustrate this point far better than any manifesto.

It would be flattering to call the small plot of land around our cottage an orchard, but once we had hacked through years of neglected germination and award-winning brambles, we discovered a few apple trees choking in the undergrowth. Having granted them some space, they promptly set about rewarding us with a glut of apples every year. So as summer wanes and I wonder what I might assemble for pudding , I find it easier to let the season write the menu.

Classic Apple Pie from Modern Classics (2000) Francis Bissell

25g unsalted butter

400g plain or sweet short crust pastry

50g ground almonds

500g apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced

2 cloves

50g golden granulated sugar

Butter a 25cm pie plate and reserve the rest of the butter

Divide the pastry in two and roll out half of it to line the pie late

Sprinkle the base of the pie with the ground almonds to absorb the juices

Arrange the fruit on top, tuck in the cloves, dab on the remaining butter and sprinkle with sugar

Moisten the rim of the pie base

Roll out the second piece of pastry and cover the pie with it

Seal and trim the edges

Decorate the top with pastry trimmings if you wish

Make a hole for the steam to escape, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 12 minutes, then turn down to 180°C/350°FG/gas mark 4 for another 30 minutes or so.

Serve hot, warm or cold

Wine thoughts

The oldest grape variety in the world is reputed to be the Muscat grape, it is certainly the most diverse. It crops up in a dozen wine growing countries, where its winemakers have free rein, not always with runaway success. Essensia in the USA, Samos in Greece, Setúbal in Portugal or Moscatel in Spain are a few of this well travelled varietal. It even crops up in Italy’s Moscato wines as Asti Spumante. Highly perfumed with an uncommon taste of fresh grapes and an elusive assembly of citrus; lemon, tangerine and orange, my choice here is the ubiquitous Muscat Beaumes de Venise from France. Several glasses to hand please, as sweet things must be shared.