Amazing Apples

Do you remember the Apple blossom photographs from our April blog ? Well, harvest time is here !  Whilst it’s sad to wave goodbye to summer days in the garden, the sheer abundance of outstanding Shropshire produce makes Autumn a very exciting time at the Hundred House.

The next few blogs will be dedicated to showing how we  make the most of our delicious local and homegrown produce, starting with our glorious apples.  If you’re anything like me you can’t wait for steaming hot bowl of apple crumble and custard, or succulent, rich roast pork (complete with crackling) beautifully paired with a tart apple sauce.

Whilst modern production and storage methods mean apples are available all year, there is something extras special about the first harvest of our own fruit. Signs for apple pressing days are springing up, and many local communities have wholes dedicated to celebrating this unsung hero.

I wonder what our chefs will transform this beauty in to ?

 

There are around 7,500 varieties of apple in the U.K. !

There are so many ways of using apples, they deserve their own blog.That’s quite a task though so I’ve picked out a couple of favourite Hundred House recipes for you to try at home. The first one is a stunning side dish that works well with pretty much any delightful Autumn dinner you could create.

Braised Red Cabbage with Caraway and Apple

Ingredients:

2 Red cabbages (thinly sliced)

4 onions (thinly sliced)

2 Bramley apples

4 Tbsp. oil

½ Pack of butter

2 Tbsp. caraway

¼ Pint of red wine vinegar

2 Pints red wine

2-3 Tbsp. of crab apple or redcurrant jelly

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

Method:

  1. Sweat onions, cabbage and caraway in the oil and butter for 20 minutes
  2. Add balsamic and reduce by half
  3. Add red wine and reduce to a glaze then add orange zest and juice.
  4. Stir in the jelly then cook further for 10 minutes.

From this…..

 

 

 

Delicious, warming and very good for you !

This recipe will serve a crowd, but it’s easily halved. Any leftovers will freeze well too. It works well as an accompaniment to many autumn and winter dishes but my favourite is when it’s served alongside some deliciously simple roasted duck.

Another favourite is our Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Flan.

 

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Hollowdene Hens

 

Can you imagine how many eggs the Hundred House needs each week? As well being part of our delicious breakfast dishes, we use them in cakes, glazing pastries, sauces, side dishes, you name it, eggs are involved in the kitchen every single day. As you know, we really care about where our ingredients come from and whilst we like to use as much of our own produce as possible, space and time mean we source our some of our ingredients from local suppliers.Over the next few months I’ll be finding out about many of our suppliers and the essential egg seemed like a great place to  start. Peter Jarvis, owner of Hollowdene Hens was kind enough to answer some questions and take some fab poultry pics!

Happy hens mean tasty eggs

HH What can you tell us about Hollowdene Hens?

PJ I’m a former dairy farmer, and went into free range egg production just over 10 years ago. We run 3 separate flocks of about 2000 birds in each. This gives us a continuous supply of varying size eggs. Each flock is re stocked about every 15 months. Effectively this means we are re stocking one flock every 5 months.

HH Why are free range eggs better than other methods?

PJ The hens have the freedom to go out during day light every day. Judging by the speed they rush out every morning, this is something they truly enjoy. I haven’t said much about caged hens. Clearly, they are easier to manage, they eat less (therefore it’s cheaper to produce eggs) due to lack of exercise, but they have no life, other than that of a prisoner.

Here’s to happy hens !

HH What do you enjoy about your job?

PJ   For me, this is a very enjoyable job, although the down side is, it is truly 24/7, 365 days a year. Days off are few and far between.

HH Can the public buy your eggs?

PJ Our eggs are used in many top hotels and restaurants in the Shrewsbury / Telford area and can be bought in many independent shops in this area too. Under the Hollowdene hen’s logo.

HH Finally, do you have a favourite hen?

PJ the two resident cockerels are the only ones we have named. Colin and Stanley! Pictures attached. Stanley is the one posing in the back of the van, next to the egg boxes.

Stanley the Cockerel

 

Free range eggs not only taste better, they really do come from hens that have had happy lives. Thank you Peter for telling us a bit more about Hollowdene Hens, and for taking the smashing photos.  I’m pretty sure Stanley will be ready for a modelling career soon !

Colin the Cockerel

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