2 tbsps. olive oil
12 sausages (that allows for 3 each so you might want less!)
2 tsps. fennel seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cayenne or mild chilli pepper
1 white cabbage (weighing about 1.5kg.)
1 large glass of wine (about 200mls.)
1 large pear
black pepper and salt
1 tsp. brown sugar
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium flame. Add the sausages for a few minutes with the fennel and mustard seeds and the cayenne pepper. Allow them to become a little brown and then remove from the pan.
Finely slice the cabbage. Then add the cabbage and wine to the saucepan and core and roughly chop the pear and add this.
Place the lid on the saucepan, or hob proof casserole, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down to a low flame and return the sausages to the pot, along with salt, pepper and the sugar and simmer with the lid on for a further 20 minutes.
This was, I thought, a good recipe for this time of year and we are lucky to have good butchers in Ledbury who make a large variety of excellent sausages!
The apples are coming in, the presses are at work, and it’s almost that time when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years. But, sadly, not in 2020. The event, which was scheduled for 10th and 11th October, has been cancelled. The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within COVID-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far. “We’ve been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman. “We’d like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen. In the end, the decision to cancel was our own. The timing just wasn’t right.”
Messages of support followed the announcement late last week. “Everyone agreed that we had made the right decision, but they also took the trouble to tell us that we would be much missed.”
This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people. Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled. “We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event that was still in this year’s calendar. We’ve put a special area on our website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/, with information about the producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce.” Many familiar Big Apple venues are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.
A Poem from Sara-Jane Arbury
The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on 2nd/3rd May and Harvestime on 9th/10th October.
The cider makers are uniting around three common themes: diversity – of both style and occasion, community – whether it’s cider’s rich heritage or orchards for the people, and sustainability – cider’s impeccably green credentials.
Over the next months, you are being invited to Discover Cider, with a chance to win mixed cases of cider by sharing your own cider stories.
There will be opportunities to visit producers and to meet the makers via a programme of events and tastings, virtual and otherwise, including the Cider Critic whose “virtual” tastings of products from a range of cider makers is available on the website.
There are links to local cider makers’ websites where you can order cider for delivery and discover even more about each producer.
Simon Day, production manager for Once Upon A Tree ciders says, “I have seen the need for a co-operative approach to cider marketing for a number of years, however several attempts to get something working have stalled for one reason or another, but mainly because there are just too few hours in the day.”
“Lockdown has provided the urgency among cider producers to come together to advance some form of co-operative marketing group, and the time to make things happen. Gabe Cook (renowned industry expert aka the Ciderologist) steered a growing number of progressive producers to come together and discuss the needs of cider makers generally, and in these challenging times of Coronavirus specifically.”
“Some cider makers have seen sales reduce by 80% over lockdown, as their route to market was blocked (pubs, restaurants and events) and the recovery, although happening, is slow and sales are still significantly lower than normal. We have seen redundancies and closures in the industry, with the smaller scale producer hardest hit. Something had to happen to help raise cider’s profile, to protect jobs, and to help protect our dwindling orchard landscape.”
“By working together, and with Gabe Cook at the helm, the hope is that we are able to amplify our key messages that we all share as producers: To introduce our ciders to new consumers and show off the variety of cider that is available; highlight our environmentally sustainable credentials and share our cider stories.”
“Early results are encouraging, with a number of online events and conversations happening and will continue to build over the remaining 9 weeks of the campaign. Our hope is this will lead to increasing demand with existing retailers and introducing exciting cider ranges to brand new stockists, particularly outside our usual “cider bubble”.
“I believe there will be a lasting legacy to our current activity, and #DiscoverCider will continue as a hashtag and website for some years to come, and most excitingly this will open the door to new collaborative approaches to help all British cidermakers in the future.”
225g. / 8ozs. blackberries
50g. / 2ozs. blackberry jam
175g. / 6ozs. softened butter
75g. / 3ozs. caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
175g. / 6ozs. ground almonds
40g. / 1 1/2ozs. plain flour
50g. / 2ozs. icing sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsps. flaked almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 180C / fan 160C gas mark 4. In a medium bowl mix together the blackberries and jam. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 1 litre / 1 3/4pt. baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then gently fold in the ground almonds and flour. Spoon mixture over the blackberries and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 minutes.
Sieve the icing sugar into a small bowl and whisk with just enough lemon juice for a runny yet thick icing. Top the pudding with the toasted flaked almonds and the, using a teaspoon, drizzle over the icing.
If you are avoiding gluten make this with a gluten-free flour.
It can be frozen ahead. Bake up to the end of step 2, cool completely, wrap well in clingfilm and freeze. Defrost thoroughly at room temperature overnight. It can be enjoyed at room temperature or, to serve warm, preheat oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas mark 4 and bake on the middle shelf for 25 minutes. Decorate before serving.
You can use different fruit in this recipe of course, plums are still in season as are damsons (use the appropriate jam), or pears, chopped small with a ginger jam or marmalade would be lovely, although obviously a different colour from the traditional bakewell. I have a lot of blackcurrants in the freezer and intend to use those. Even apple, stewed first, would work, although it would be a pale colour.
Ledbury Country Market – is re-opening fully at the Burgage Hall on Fridays from Friday 18th September initially between 10am and Noon. Entrance from Church Lane – one way system for social distancing. Please wear face-masks. A full range of local food products, Chinese delicacies and plants and flowers will be available.
Food Deliveries – details of those who continue to provide delivery services have been updated.
Local restaurants, pubs and cafés – Thanks for supporting those that are now open. Trumpet Team Room reopened on 1st August now run by Annie Badham and the Market House in Ledbury is now open again.
Please wear a face mask in shops to protect all those who work hard to serve us – “Shop Safe Shop Ledbury”…
…and thanks to all those who contributed to Janie Clarenne’s recent appeal via Justgiving to help her take her husband Pascal of Chez Pascal on a last visit to France – the target sum of £5,000 has now been exceeded.
Many of you will have enjoyed Pascal’s special pastries at Chez Pascal – Ledbury’s “little bit of France” lately in New Street.
Janie and Pascal had to close Chez Pascal permanently following Pascal’s diagnosis with cancer earlier this year.
Janie has launched a fund to help Pascal to visit France one last time as follows:
“Pascal has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and is battling his illness with great courage. It has been a difficult year with the loss of our business and Pascal’s declining health. My wish is to take Pascal to France when he is feeling stronger. He will need additional medical insurance as he is on oxygen 24/7. If anyone would like to make a donation to this, please donate to help – it would be gratefully received. I will keep you all updated on Pascal’s progress. Janie x”
125g. / 4 1/2 ozs. plain flour
pinch of salt
300mls. / 10fl ozs. milk (full fat is best)
a little olive oil for frying
2 tbsps. tomato puree
2 tbsps. water
1 tsp. dried basil
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 aubergine, diced
2 courgettes, sliced or diced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato puree
2 tbsps. red wine
pinch of caster sugar
salt and pepper
2 tbsps. chopped basil
4 tbsps. grated Parmesan
To make the pancake batter sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the egg and gradually work in the milk and beat to form a smooth batter. Whisk in the tomato puree, 2 tbsps water and the dried basil. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.
To make the pancakes, heat a little oil in a good non-stick crepe or omelette pan. Add a ladle of batter and swirl to coat the base. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until golden and then flip or turn over and cook the other side. Slide on to a plate and keep warm whilst cooking the remaining pancakes, oiling the pan between each one.
Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, red and green peppers, aubergine and courgettes. Fry stirring for 5 – 10 minutes until they begin to soften, then add tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then stir in the chopped basil.
Use the ratatouille to fill the pancakes. Roll up and serve straight away, dusted with Parmesan. Or, prepare the pancakes in advance, roll them up and place in a baking dish, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and reheat in a medium hot oven. .
I don’t bother to let my pancake batter stand and it is still fine. Do make sure you use a good non-stick pan, that is essential. You can make the pancakes the day before and store in the fridge. i put a sheet of kitchen paper between each one. They also freeze really well but I wouldn’t try and freeze the ratatouille mixture, there is too much water in courgettes and aubergines for them to freeze well.