All posts tagged: Bramley Apples

A Festival of Apples, well, just the one Apple, really.

A festival celebrating an Apple Last weekend saw the annual Bramley Apple Festival, held in Southwell and centred on the wonderful Minster. This has been going for as long as I can recall but I have never managed to get along, despite my love of the Bramley. Prompted by a comment on this blog by Celia Steven (née Merryweather), we took a drive over on a very grey and miserable Sunday morning. The story goes that in 1809 Mary Anne Brailsford planted a wild pip in the garden of her cottage in Southwell. From this pip grew an apple tree, which still stands today some 200 years later. Mathew Bramley who later bought the cottage gave Henry Merryweather the rights to sell the apple commercially (as long as it retained his name). The Bramley is probably now the queen of cooking apples, is the basis of many local puddings, ciders and pies, and I have a box of them  right now in my garage, hand-picked by my father from his Victorian, and still glorious, tree. …

Stubble Goose and Sour Blackberries – Devil Spits Day

He who eats goose on Michaelmas day Shan’t money lack or  have debts to pay. [Old English Saying] Nottingham is rightly famous for its Goose Fair which takes place at the beginning of October each year. Its story extends at least some 700 years back into history. Goose Fairs were held around Michaelmas (29th September) when the harvest was over and the Geese were starting to fatten up picking grain left amongst the stubble in the fields. A “Stubble Goose” was a traditional feast dish for Michaelmas (in Christianity the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, marking the beginning of Autumn and the last day, according to Folklore, on which Blackberries should be picked). The carcass of the Goose was then used for making Michaelmas Broth. Story tells that thousands of  Geese were driven from Lincolnshire and Norfolk to be sold in Nottingham, in the old Market Square and that this is the origin of the modern fair, which sadly no longer sells geese,  but is now one of the largest (and oldest) travelling fairs …

A Year in Cheese – Autumn. A Lincolnshire Poacher and an aged Gruyère

I love cheese. I love gin as well, but I particularly love cheese. I treated myself recently to the Guarneri Brothers (of London Fromagerie, Androuet) book “A Year in Cheese” which explores the seasonality of cheeses, suggests a cheese plate for each changing season and is illustrated with wonderful, quirky and innovative recipes to make the most of the cheeses (by Alessandro Grand). The East Midlands produces some wonderful cheeses, as indeed does England, indeed the British Isles is awash with wonderful cheeses and the increase in seasonality, regionality and artisan production means that the choice, variety and quality must surely never have been higher. So I have set myself a challenge, to explore our seasonal cheeses, inspired by the Guarneri Brothers’ book (well, that is my excuse). So  – why seasonal cheeses? Cheese is like wine, there are endless varieties, nuances of flavour, changes with age, the earth the vines are grown in, the type of grape, the weather, the geography and topography, the texture (ok wine is clearly “wet” but you get my …

Welbeck Pudding – more batter, more Bramleys…..

Nottinghamshire traditionally had a reputation for excellent batter puddings. Welbeck Pudding is no exception but it is unusual as it features a flour-free batter  (which is a bit like a souffle or meringue topping) with the Nottinghamshire Bramley Apple as its base. What’s not to like? Well, actually, I have slightly altered the original recipe I found as it didn’t work for me with so little milk. Welbeck itself (see my post on the Harley Cafe and Welbeck  Estate) is in North Nottinghamshire and from the 18th Century formed part of the “Dukeries”, the great estates  and Royal hunting grounds around Sherwood Forest owned by 5 Dukes. Welbeck Abbey, home to the Dukes of Portland, is a vast and architecturally complex mansion, with a network of mysterious underground tunnels. It stands on the site of the original Abbey which is thought to date back to 1153. I cannot find any reference to why Welbeck Pudding is named after the House, perhaps one of the cooks developed it as someone in the family had a wheat intolerance (as …

“Apple-In-and-Out” or Nottingham Pudding

The Bramley Apple, the unassailed Queen of the cooking apple, is said to originate in Nottinghamshire. The story tells that a young girl planted some wild pips in her back garden in Southwell, and that the ensuing tree was the first Bramley  – from which all other Bramley trees orginate. That original tree still stands, I am told, and there is a stained-glass window in Southwell Minster to commemorate this most English of apples. (I really must check this out!). We had two huge Bramley apple trees, dating from Victorian times, in our garden as a child. One was lost to a great storm around 1977, the other still stands today. My father picked every last apple from those trees (and there were hundreds…)  every Autumn and Bramleys are always in my memories of childhood meals. Nottingham Pudding It is said that Nottingham Pudding dates back to medieval times, when this satisfying mix of batter, fruit and spices frequently accompanied roast meats.  Given our central place in England’s geography and the though-flow of people from …