‘Apples peaches, pears and plums please tell me when your birthday comes!
Gordon Castle has not so much had a birthday but a harvest celebration which began back in August with a bumper crop of plums and soon gave way to a bounty of apples and pears of every size, shape and hue. Gardeners have already picked over 1000 juicy ripe pears while more golden ripening fruits gild trees awaiting their turn!
Apples, apples everywhere!! Two and a half tons are already their way along with pears to be juiced or turned into Gordon Castle Cider. Garden apples and pears are used to create dishes on the Walled Garden Café menu with fresh fruit for sale at the Potting Shed Shop! Have a peek into the greenhouses, wow there are apples and pears galore!
Bright coloured apples on the step over and espaliered trees glow in the autumn light. Bright russets, rich ruby reds and every colour and shape in between. Such evocative names as Domino, Ingrid Marie, Adams Pearman, Edward V11, Mere de Ménage, Russet, Red Gravenstein, Fiesta, Pearl Maiden, Tower of Glamis, Grampa Buxton and Lady Lambourne; some sweet and juicy, others tart and crisp. There is an apple to suit every taste, each with a story to tell. Where did they originate? Perhaps the names may give you a clue!!
On the north wall, Bramley and Howgate Wonder cooking apples are ready to be picked. Both flavoursome; we are familiar with the famous ‘Bramley’. However, Howate Wonder; popular in the Moray area, has an attractive red tinged skin with superb texture and sweetness. Particularly good for baking!
The prolific crop of summer vegetables is now past so the job is to tidy, cultivate and prepare the beds for the next year. Winter vegetables such as leeks and parsnips are already cropping. Included in the Café menu and ready to buy at the Potting Shed shop.
The massive crop of chillies is strung up to dry and stored for the winter. They will soon be on sale. Ideal for all sorts of savoury dishes, adding fire to chutneys and stews. From Joe’s Long a cayenne type and Demon Red to the very hottest chilli Carolina Reaper. On the Scoville scale most chillies sit around 10 – 2,000. The Carolina Reaper hits the heights at 2 million!
The Garden overflows with colour illuminated in leaf and flower; gold, russets scarlet and amber reds; the whole sparked with autumnal fire. This rare spectacle soon disappears when the winds come, so visit soon to appreciate this radiant farewell to a fabulously productive year.
There is plenty to see; the last leaves on the trees, bright red crab apples, vibrant dahlias of diverse colour shape and size just keep on giving scattered among many other plants which are also determined to keep on flowering till the first big frosts herald the arrival of winter.
Sustainable flowers (for sale too) with no flower flights, fresh, local seasonal and unique!!
Gordon Castle has been chosen as an RHS partner garden allowing members to visit one day a week free of charge. Gordon Castle Gardens will also feature in the RHS January magazine. More details of the partnership to follow.
Hopefully there will be even more peaches growing in the garden next year thanks to the generosity of The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers. They visited the Walled Garden on 13th October when a ‘Peregrin’ peach tree was presented to Angus and Zara in celebration of winning the Historic Houses Association Garden of the year award. The tree was planted by Laurence S Olins JP, Master of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, against the south facing wall, using a ceremonial spade, accompanied by the skirl of bagpipes!!
The 700 years old Worshipful Company of Fruiterers promotes excellence across all sectors of the fruit industry, raises funds for charity and supports education and research.
The ever popular Christmas Wreath workshops return this year. There are still spaces on the 11th December at £55.00 per person including all materials and a lovely wreath to take home. Enjoy an interesting and informative morning with Zara from 10am till 12.30pm. Book here now
The busy café is open from 11am till 4pn Wednesday till Sunday serving freshly prepared food using garden produce as much as possible. The Potting Shed Shop is still bursting with fruits of the harvest and well worth a visit on the way home to gather tatties, vegetables, apples, pears and perhaps a bunch of garden flowers to brighten Autumn days.
Here are some lovely recipes to try out!
FRANCONIAN AUTUMN APPLE CAKE
Oven – 200C 400F, Gas 6 – Middle shelf
Oiled and lined swiss roll tin
You will need:-
3 large eggs
Their weight in sugar
Their weight in plain flour less 50g
3 large apples peeled cored and sliced or chopped
Fresh lemon juice
- Whisk the eggs and sugar till thick and creamy
- Sift the flours into the mixture and fold together. Pour into the tray and smooth over.
- Mix the apples with lemon juice, 2 teaspoon cinnamon and the same of vanilla essence.
- Shake over the top of the cake to cover roughly.
- Bake 12 minutes or till risen and firm.
- Cool in the tray and drizzle with lemon water ice to finish.
- Serve fresh.
- You can make this with plums, peaches, nectarines or pears or a mixture.
LITTLE LEMON CURD CAKES
Oven 180C, 350F, Gas 4
Cream 175g stork with 175g caster sugar.
Beat in 1 teaspoon lemon essence.
Beat in 3 eggs and then fold in 175g plain flour sifted with 2 teaspoons baking powder.
Put 1 teaspoon batter into each cup cake case, top with 1 teaspoon lemon curd and top with another teaspoon mixture.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes till risen and firm.
Cool and ice with lemon water icing.
KAREN’S CHOCAHOLIC FIX
No cooking needed
Melt 150g white chocolate and stir in half a jar of crunchy peanut butter along with a small packet of mini-marshmallows. Set in the fridge..Cut and enjoy.
AUTUMN APPLE SPONGE CAKE
Makes a cake 20cm (8in) diameter
Bake at 190C (170C fan) 375 F, Gas 5
3 large eggs
75g (2 ½ oz) caster sugar
30g (1oz) honey
75g (2 ½ oz) self raising flour
20g ( ¾ oz) rolled oats
2 large cooking apples – peeled cored and sliced
Icing to finish:-
Turn on the oven to heat the oil and line the tin. Whisk the eggs, sugar and honey till thick and creamy. Sift in the flour and add the oats. Stir in gently and then pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Lay apple slices in overlapping rows over the surface of the sponge and then bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove from the oven when firm and springy to touch. Cool in the tin. Drizzle with lemon water ice when cool, cut and serve freshly baked.
RUSTIC CIDER APPLE CHEESE SCONES
A quick scone recipe easily made at the last minute.
175g (6oz) self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
45g (1 ½ oz) grated eating apple
45g (1 ½ oz) chopped walnuts
60g (2oz) grated mature cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
60g (2oz) melted butter
1 egg beaten with
Gordon Castle cider to mix
Handful of rolled oats
Turn on the oven to heat at 200C (180C fan) 400F, Gas 6. Oil and line a baking tray. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the apple, walnuts, cheese and a small handful of oats and mix together. Stir in the melted butter then stir in the egg with enough cider to make a soft, elastic dough. Flour the baking tray and turn the scone mix out onto the middle of it. Dust with flour and pat out to a round approx 2.5cm (1in) thick. Mark into 8 wedges with the blade of a knife. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes till risen and golden. Cool on the tray. Cut into wedges and eat warm and freshly baked.
PEAR AND GINGER CRUNCH
Makes a tray
85g (3oz) rolled oats
175g (6oz) self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
150g (5oz) margarine
115g (4oz) soft brown sugar
115g (4oz) chopped pears
60g (2oz) margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon ginger
115g (4oz) icing sugar
Turn on the oven at 160C (140C fan) 325F, Gas 3. Oil the baking tin. Cream the margarine and sugar till soft and fluffy, stir in the other ingredients and spread evenly in the prepared tin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till firm and golden. Leave to cool while you make the topping. Put all the topping ingredients into a pan and heat over a medium heat stirring till the mixture boils. Remove from the heat, cool a little then pour over the base. Spread evenly and allow to cool and set. Cut into fingers and serve. Store in an airtight container.
FUDGEY CHOCOLATE PEAR CAKE
115g (4oz) margarine or butter
115g (40z) soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
140g (5oz) self raising flour
30g (1oz) cocoa powder
2 eggs – beaten
2 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
Turn on the oven at 180C (160C fan) 350F, Gas 4. Oil and line a square baking tin20cm (8in). Cream the margarine, sugar and syrup till light, beat in the eggs and then fold in the sifted flour, cocoa and chopped pears. Pour into the prepared tin, even the top of the cake, tap the base of the tin on a hard surface to remove any trapped air. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes till risen and firm and the point of a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin. Serve warm with cream or ice cream as a dessert, or cold dredged with vanilla sugar as an afternoon tea cake.
Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.