Apple Day, Victorian Orchards and
Apple & Dorset Blue Vinny Scone Bread Recipe
Today is Apple Day in the UK, a day to celebrate our home-grown apples and cherish them…….the day was first started in 1990 by Common Ground in Covent Garden. The following year it launched nationwide with over 50 events ranging from apple road-shows grafting classes and village hall markets. By 2000 the day was celebrated in over 600 events around the country, and abroad! Events were organised by restaurants, museums, Women’s Institutes, cider makers, community orchards and garden societies, to name but a few. I had planned to “dress my apple trees” today, as you may remember me discussing last week – Taste the Season with British Apples and Pears: Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake Recipe; but, the weather was inclement today and so my apple tree dressing was put to one side. So, instead, what better than to bake with APPLES; with a couple of apples (Russets) left over from my apple and pear shopping expedition from Sainsbury’s last week, where they have an incredible 52 varieties on sale, I decided to celebrate apple day in my kitchen.
Before I ventured into my kitchen, I read with interest an article on the Telegraph (newspaper) website: Apple Day 2012: Beyond Bramley – the best of British cooking apples; Ian Hodgson writes that we all think we have only one variety of cooking apple today, the Bramley, but the Victorians grew dozens…….he goes on to say that cooking apples, the glory of high Victorian dining, are dominated by just one variety nowadays, the ‘Bramley’s Seedling’, and home production continues to be severely challenged by imports from other countries, including the United States, France, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and even China, by far the world’s largest apple producer……it makes for depressing reading when it appears that we are only 38th in the world ranking, as an apple producing nation nowadays…….I DO remember my grandmother grew a fabulous cooking apple, much better than the Bramley (in my opinion) called Catshead Cookers……..oh for a few more Catshead apple trees now.
But back to my Dorset kitchen, as it became today, as I decided to create a lovely new scone recipe for Apple Day and for the Best of British blog challenge that is currently visiting the apple growing county of Dorset – Best of British Cooking & Blog Challenge visits Dorset, for Apples, Cheese and Rabbit Pie……this recipe is based on an old “emergency” bread recipe my mum used to make, (a quick bread with no yeast) but has an egg added for richness, as well as a (Sainsbury’s) Russet apple and some Dorset Blue Vinny cheese……and, as you can see from the photos, it was a HUGE success with a light crumb and a rich apple and cheese flavour. We ate this for tea, warm and spread with salted butter and some chutney I made last week – Apple, Fig and Pear Chutney with Cardamom.
I think this is a perfect bake for Apple Day and I have already had requests from my family to make it again, to accompany some soup or a hearty stew maybe…..I also think it’s a lovely recipe to show case one of Dorset’s finest products, Blue Vinny cheese, and it certainly complimented the tartness of the apple very well in this scone recipe. If you have all your ingredients to hand, this recipe can be made and on the tea time table in half an hour, now how’s that for “Fast Food”! So, before I share the recipe with you, let me wish you all a happy Apple Day; lets try to embrace our British heritage and apples, as well as all our other orchard fruits, and try to support British orchards, as well as persuade the major supermarkets to do the same. (with kudos to Sainsbury’s for their efforts already) Have a wonderful evening, and see you tomorrow……..Karen
More about Apple Day from Orchard Network:
In 1990, dismayed by the loss of so many traditional orchards and amazed at the 3,000 or so varieties of apples that have been grown here, Common Ground set out to create a new calendar custom to celebrate our most versatile fruit and the beautiful orchards they come from.
The first Apple Day was held on October 21 in 1990 in the old Apple Market in Covent Garden, London, bringing fruit back there for the first time in 17 years. It struck a chord. Since then, Common Ground have worked to extend, support and promote Apple Day countrywide through nurseries, fruit farms, restaurants, National Trust and RHS gardens, museum, art centres, community groups and schools who celebrate the day in their own place, in their own way.
Sue Clifford says; “Apple Day is not a marketing device, its creation has been impelled by altruism and idealism for living better with nature – the apple and the orchard are symbols of hope. They demonstrate how we can have our trees, bees, bats, butterflies, birds and badgers whilst growing good fruit to eat and drink.”
For more information on Apple Day, including ideas for games and activities, visit the Common Ground website: Common Ground
A Best of British Dorset entry