|Coe's Golden Drop|
After a practically non-existent harvest in 2012, we were hoping for a better year this year. It didn’t get off to a good start. Only two of my colonies of bees made it through to spring. Both were headed by new young queens, but the foul weather last summer meant neither had been properly fertilized. They couldn’t lay replacement workers, so those two hives soon died out as well. It meant for the first time in four years the hum of honeybees was missing from our garden. That was sad enough. Then forestry work out in the wood sent the deer in the direction of our garden. All the lower branches of our cherry, plum and apple trees were nibbled to death. The lay of the land around here means it’s impossible keep them out, so we resigned ourselves to having no fruit for a second year running. The orchard at Tottering Towers now resembles a Capability Brown landscape in miniature, with trees pruned drastically to livestock-height. We thought things horticultural couldn’t get any worse - until the rodent population exploded. Our cat can cope with the mice and voles, but with the garden encircled by trees, most of the squirrels can bounce out of his reach. When rabbits finally returned to our neck of the woods, it felt like the last straw.
APPLE AND BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE
1.5lbs peeled, sliced cooking apples and washed blackberries
Sugar to taste
3oz butter or margarine
2oz demerara (brown) sugar
3oz rolled oats
Put the prepared fruit into an ovenproof dish with sugar to taste and a couple of tablespoons of water.
In another bowl, rub the fat into the flour. Stir in the sugar and oats. Spread this crumble mixture evenly over the fruit, making sure to cover it completely. Cook in the oven for around half an hour at 180°C, (fan oven 160°C) Gas Mark 4, or until the fruit is cooked and the topping is golden. Serve it hot or cold, with plenty of custard, cream or ice cream.
What’s your favourite fruit dish?
You can read Christina's blog at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com and see a complete list of her published books at http://www.christinahollis.com