I inherited a neglected old apple tree when I took over my allotment.  It was festooned in brambles and the branches were all criss-crossed.

As I stood there thinking about how I might tackle it, Irish Mick (as he was known) from the next allotment strolled over to look at it with me.  “Don’t be cutting that tree down, whatever you do.  Them apples make great pies.”

Bearing his advice in mind, I cleared the brambles and watched the tree with interest.  Mid October came.  The apples were ready for picking, and Irish Mick was right.  They were excellent apples, long and green, with pronounced ribs, unlike any I’d seen before.   When they were all picked, I gave Mick a box , and he gave me a bag of brown onions. Sadly, he died suddenly last spring, but I think of him at apple picking time.

The variety by the way, is Lord Derby.

Lord Derby apples from my allotment tree
Lord Derby apples from my allotment tree

Should you wish to identify your apples, I can highly recommend ‘The Apple Book’ by Rosie Saunders published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Apple Book by Rosie Saunders

And here is a recipe for Upside Down Apple Cake


Apple ingredients

  • Butter – 40g
  • Soft brown sugar – 50g
  • Eating apples – 4

Cake ingredients

  • Butter – 100g
  • Sugar – 100g
  • Eggs – 2 large
  • Self raising flour – 100g

To make

  1. Heat oven to 180C, 350F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease an 18cm round cake tin.
  3. Peel, core and slice the apples.
  4. Heat the butter in a frying pan.  When it’s melted, add the brown sugar and cook over a gentle heat for a few moments.  Add the apples and stir gently till they’re all covered.  Cook for about 5 minutes over a gentle heat.
  5. While the apples are cooking, make the cake.
  6. Cream the the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each.
  8. Gently fold in the remaining flour.
  9. Put the apples and syrupy juices into the cake tin.  Spoon the cake mixture on top.
  10. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes.
  11. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Then carefully invert it onto a serving plate.
  12. You can either eat it warm, or let it cool completely: either way it’s delicious.  Enjoy!

One thought on “A IS FOR APPLES

  1. good to have something else to do with apples this year! There’s so many (and pears) and there’s only so much chutney one can make — apple and date; apple, pear and ginger; apple, pear and courgette; apple, apple ,apple ………


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