Midsummer Moments

Wild strawberries


paired with cheesecake:


Savouring summertime ūüôā


Happy New Year from the Orchard


This gallery contains 4 photos.

Roast Loin of Venison with Plum and Walnut Stuffing (preserved plums, chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs in equal quantities, seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed garlic) ¬† and Pontack Sauce Happy New Year from the Orchard ūüôā

Tradition in Translation: Black Forest Gateau


This gallery contains 8 photos.

Hermann the German‚Äôs birthday is the week before Christmas and to make sure his day does not get drowned out by the pre-Christmas drum roll I always make his most favourite cake of all for his birthday: a Black Forest … Continue reading

Christmas in the Orchard ‚Ķ or the Orchard in my Christmas

Cheese Bites with Wild Garlic Mustard Seeds

Garlicky Walnut Dip

Mulled Apple and Quince Punch

 Cheese bites with copyright P1110505

Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce

 Braised Red Cabbage with Plum Sauce

Cheesy Chard with Walnuts

Apple Jelly Glazed Sweet Potatoes

 Sweet_or_Dessert Cherries with copyright Plum Sauce with copyright

P1110192 Apple jelly with copyright

Walnut Liqueur Tiramisu

Meadow Orchard Mince Pies

 P1110179 P1110347

Blackberry Liqueur

Cherry Brandy

Quince Liqueur

Sloe Gin

IMG_3775 Preserved cherries with copyright

Quince liqueur with copyright

Sloe Gin glass with copyright

This is when all that hard work preserving the edible landscape really comes into its own:

Merry Christmas!

Images with copyright Richard Taylor are courtesy of www.taylorsphotosafaris.co.uk

Sloe Gin…


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¬†Image courtesy of¬†www.taylorsphotosafaris.co.uk Following on from the Walnut¬†and the Blackberry Liqueurs, for the third Sunday in Advent¬†I am serving up¬†another¬†hedgerow classic … Sloe Gin My version has a hint of vanilla which, to my taste, rounds off the red plum … Continue reading

Hooch from the Hedgerow: Blackberry Liqueur


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Advent moves into its second week this Sunday and this week‚Äôs Advent tipple is even easier than last week‚Äôs Walnut Liqueur¬†because you do not even have to cut up the blackberries like you do the green walnuts‚Ķ ¬†‚Ķ all you … Continue reading

K√§sekuchen: Cheesecake … with preserved cherries ‚Ķ

09_06_2012 Basket full of cherries with copyright  Preserved cherries with copyright Cheesecake with copyrightPickings are processed and preserved, days are decreasing in daylight, so what now here in the edible landscape?

Make and bake with all that mellow fruitfulness, that’s what!

To start:¬†a real Franconian classic: cheesecake, or Kaesekuchen…

Kaesekuchen has been sweetening Saturday and Sunday afternoons in Franconia for nearly 300 years, ever since multiple 16th century recipes for a sweetened cheese cake appeared in cookbook published in Nuremburg in 1733…

This recipe comes from ‚ÄúGscheitgut (Volume 2)‚ÄĚ, published in 2014 – a great culinary read combining regional background, restaurant guide and make-them-yourself recipes, by kind permission of the publisher,¬†Michael M√ľller Verlag GmbH (details below).

Prep. Time: about 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves 12 (1 x 28 cm tin)

Flour                               250 g

Eggs                              6

Sugar                             325 g

Cherry schnapps               2 cl (optional)

Butter                             125 g

Low fat quark or

cream cheese                   1 kg (replace 200 g quark with mascarpone if you want it even creamier)

Vanilla sugar                     3 tsp

Cornflour                         50 g

Baking powder¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬Ĺ tsp

Butter and flour for



Optional: your choice of

preserved fruit                  150 g

  1. For the base, place the flour in a bowl and rub in the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Separate 2 of the eggs and set the egg whites aside. Place the egg yolks, 125 g of sugar, cherry schnapps and a pinch of salt in the well and work in to the flour mixture to form a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, cover and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Grease the tin with butter and dust with flour. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to form a circle about 38 cm in diameter. Use to line the base of the tin, pushing the edges up to a height of about 5 cm.
  3. Heat the oven to 180 ¬įC. For the filling, separate the remaining eggs. Beat all 6 egg whites until stiff and then chill. Combine the quark or cream cheese, the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar and the vanilla sugar in a bowl and mix together well. Fold in the cornflour and the baking powder, and then the egg whites. *
  4. Spread over the pastry base and smooth the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes, covering with a piece of foil after 20 minutes to prevent it becoming too brown.
  5. Use a skewer to test whether the cheesecake is cooked through (the skewer needs to come out clean). When cooked through remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before taking it out and leaving it to cool completely on a cake rack. Served dusted with icing sugar if you prefer.

* This is where I fold in 150 g of preserved cherries (be it the Cherries in Syrup, the Cherry Preserve with Brandy, or the Cherries in Red Wine…) or 150 g of preserved wild plums or 150 g of preserved mirabelle plums… You can also add the zest of 2 untreated lemons with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to give the cheesecake a lemony note…

I also make mini versions of this cheesecake in muffin tins ‚Äď perfect for picnics‚Ķ

Mini Cheesecake with Copyright

The term ‚ÄúGscheitgut‚ÄĚ is Franconian and roughly translates as ‚Äúdownright good‚ÄĚ. For those lacking that handy smattering of German, there is me ‚Äď the Culinary Scribe ‚Äď who happily translates this fine Franconian fare into English for you!


¬© Copyright German original: Michael M√ľller Verlag GmbH and the Caf√©-Brennerei Geist-Reich in Weingarts: http://www.michael-mueller-verlag.de/de/reiseportal/gscheitgut/reportage__kunreuth__cafe-brennerei_geist-reich.html


Sloe Jam ‚Äď maroon and multifaceted

Something of a ‚Äúgrown-ups‚ÄĚ jam, sloe jam is for those who like a bit more than just sweetness to their jam.

Hermann the German loves it; Mini-Kraut does not.

Sloe jam with copyright

When to pick sloes? After the first frost, or before the first frost and then a night in the freezer before using? This year, with everything, including the sloes, ripening so much earlier and in such abundance, I opted for the latter…

Prep. Time: about 5 minutes ‚Äď plus the picking beforehand of course

Cooking time: about 60 minutes plus overnight freezing if necessary

Makes about 4 x 400 g jars

Ripe sloes                                                                       1 kg

White wine (or apple juice if you prefer)                         2 x 250 ml

Brown sugar                                                                    375 g

  1. Pick over your sloes, rinse and freeze overnight if necessary. Take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw before using.
  2. Place the sloes in a saucepan with the first 250 ml of white wine ‚Äď should be enough to just about cover the sloes, top up with a little water if necessary.
  3. Cook over a medium heat until the sloes are mushy (about 15 minutes).
  4. Pass the mushy sloes and their cooking liquid through a sieve, leaving the stones behind (wash them thoroughly and they make brilliant baking beans for baking pastry cases blind …).
  5. Return the sieved mixture to the saucepan together with the sugar and the second 250 ml of white wine, place over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Leave to simmer away until setting point is reached, pour into sterilised jars and seal.