Saturday, 12 October 2013

Harvest Festival

I seem to have mixed up the seasons and am just now waking up after hibernating, blog-wise, over the glorious summer months, many of which I’ve spent visiting other gardens and horticultural shows.

Dalmain House

I need to gird up my loins, however, as I've been asked to open Pablo's garden under the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday 6th July next year. Crikey! Too soon to cross fingers for fine weather.

The glory of golden rod - solidago

 Lots of tidying and cutting back to be getting on with and with only another three garden bins due I fear I’ll be paying lots of visits to the local tip. I do so regret that the garden recycling scheme ends in November. It’s far too soon for Pablo’s garden as I’m often still working in it well into January and would prefer to have the option of monthly collections during the winter. If we have to pay Durham County Council £20 for the privilege of having the bins emptied perhaps they’ll consider extending the service. Some chance!

Astrantia 'going over'

The pear trees have served the crows and starlings well. Both trees are now too large for us to harvest the fruit but we do gather windfalls which fall on to the lawn. Although the small fruit don’t look especially appetising they taste wonderful. Sadly, they don’t keep very long.

I used to have manic days making jam and chutney and wine but now I try to give most of the pears away. (Many friends now pretend to be out when I call with my annual harvest festival. They’re all too exhausted from their own frantic jam making and can’t face yet more fruit). I have made a really nice pear and ginger cake, however. Just replace pears in any apple cake recipe, add a dash of ginger and some stem ginger if you have it and voila!

Greenhouse tomatoes

We have four old apple trees, varieties unknown, and again, despite some of the fruit looking unappetising (we don’t look after the trees as we should), they also taste delicious. I’m not sure which if any are designated as eating apples but I cook with them all so it doesn’t matter. I do enjoy picking them.

Apple heaven
Herewith my favourite apple cake recipe which just happens to be:-
Mary Berry’s Very Best Apple Dessert Cake

8 oz self raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
8 oz castor sugar
2 eggs
half teaspoon almond extract
5 oz butter – melted
12oz cooking apples, peeled and cored (windfalls are fine)
1 oz flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas mark 3
Lightly grease an 8inch loose-bottomed cake tin

Measure flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter in a bowl. Mix well until blended, then beat for one minute.
Spread half the mixture into prepared tin.
Thickly slice apples and lay on top of the mixture in the tin, piling mostly towards the centre.
Roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the apples.
*Make sure mixture covers the centre well as it will spread out in the oven.
Sprinkle with flaked almonds.
Bake for 1hour and fifteen minutes, approximately until the cake is golden and coming away from the sides of the tin.
Dust the top with icing sugar before serving.

Delicious served with ice cream or crème fraiche as a dessert, or eaten warm with morning coffee.


1 comment:

  1. An absolutely brilliant post. Wonderful to see Portia and Estella joining the gardening team. Good luck with the preparations for the Open Garden scheme. I'm sure you'll receive many interested visitors and have a lot of gardening wisdom to dispense. With the help of Portia and Estella, of course. wxx