Cookery Project Update

Monica Askay

Hands On Cookery Workshops

The Culinary Project’s budget this year has focused on the provision of hands-on cookery workshops for harder to reach groups throughout the region. Four such workshops took place in October, with a fifth postponed possibly until next orchard fruit season.

The aim of these workshops was to raise awareness of our rich orchard fruit and nut heritage, with the main focus being on the versatility of different apple varieties and their culinary properties.

The participating groups covered a large geographical area - two were in Norfolk (The Feed Norwich and Escape Swaffham), one in Suffolk (Activlives Ipswich) and one in Hertfordshire (St Elizabeth’s Centre Much Hadham).

The people catered for by the groups included those who had been homeless, those with physical and mental health issues, including epilepsy and other complex needs, the long-term unemployed, and those feeling socially isolated. The ages of participants ranged from two boys of 4 and 6 (and their baby brother who tasted the apples on offer) to older adults.

The Feed is a charity offering training in the catering industry to those who had been homeless. The other three groups are involved with orchards and allotments. Where possible produce from these orchards and allotments was incorporated into the dishes cooked.

The format of each day did differ slightly but all involved some discussion about the fruit (and in some cases tasting), followed by all working together to produce a meal to be shared. Dishes cooked varied depending on availability of produce and dietary requirements of participants. All dishes did however contain apple.

Dishes included soups such as Squash Apple and Ginger, Apple Sage and Wensleydale Bread, Sautéed Potato Apple and Bacon, Red Cabbage Slaw, Waldorf Salad, Autumn Fruit Salad and “Blackcaps par Excellence”, an Eliza Acton recipe from the Victorian era. The shared meal was a good opportunity to introduce participants to unfamiliar foods and methods of preparing them, and for discussion.   

Beetroot and apple salad made by the workshop participants

Cider and Song

Cider and Song took place on October 19th and 20th at Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket. This was the first time an apple related event had been held there. The more traditional apple day events took place during the day on the Saturday. The Cider and Song element took place on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Orchards East took part in the Saturday daytime events offering fruit identification, and cookery demonstrations with tastings (the latter provided by me). As ever, my aim was to raise public awareness of our rich heritage of orchard fruits and nuts, and to demonstrate their culinary versatility. There was plenty of opportunity to discuss storage and recipe ideas. Recipe sheets were provided.

We were extremely lucky with the weather, the event was held on a beautiful sunny day. The atmosphere for the Cider and Song evening became magical as darkness fell! It is definitely an apple event to be recommended. 
Watch out for Monica Askay's seasonal recipes and other news in our Blog >

Workshops in 2019

(these workshops still have available spaces, all other workshops are fully booked)
January 2019

Sun 20 Jan 10.00-15.00 – Restorative Pruning and Care of Veteran Fruit Trees 
Tutor Bob Lever

Rummers Lane, Wisbech St Mary, Cambridgeshire.

Sat 26 Jan 10.00-15.30 – Formative Pruning of Young Fruit Trees
Tutor Colin Carpenter

Etonbury Academy Orchard, Etonbury, Arlesey Road, Nr Stotfold, Bedfordshire. 

Sat 26 January 10.00-15.00 – Second Stage Restorative Pruning on Veteran Fruit Trees
Tutor Bob Lever

St Elizabeth’s Centre, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire. 

Sun 27 Jan 10.00-15.30 – Espalier and Reformative Fruit Tree Pruning 
Tutor Dr Anna Baldwin

Waldringfield Scattered Orchard, Waldringfield, Suffolk. 

February 2019

Tue 5 Feb - Formative Pruning of Young Fruit Trees Two half-day courses running 1000-1230 and 1300-1530.
Tutor Bob Lever

ActivLives People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments and Chantry Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk 

Sat 23 Feb 10.00-16.00 – Fruit Tree Grafting
Tutor Paul Read

Suffolk Wildlife Trust Foxburrow Farm, Melton Woodbridge, Suffolk

March 2019

Sun 3 March 10.00-15.30 – Maintenance Pruning of Mature Fruit Trees 
Tutor Dr Anna Baldwin

Cressing Temple Barns, Nr Braintree, Essex. 

Tue 5 March 10.00-15.30 – Second Stage Restorative Pruning of Mature and Veteran Fruit Trees 
Tutor Dr Anna Baldwin

Orchard Barn, Ringshall, Suffolk.

Sat 9 March 10.00-15.30 – Formative and Reformative Pruning of younger Trees 
Tutor Dr Anna Baldwin

Tewin Orchard, Tewin, Hertfordshire. 

Sat 9 March 10.00-16.00 – Fruit Tree Grafting
Tutor Colin Carpenter

Greensand Trust Working Woodland Centre, Nr Haynes West End, Bedfordshire. 

To book email