size 5 in x 7 in 13cm x 17cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
Today I have painted the bottoms of two different kinds of apples. They have both been identified as Ellison’s Orange by experts at an apple day, possibly different experts as the largest apple was identified two years ago. The other, from the community orchard, was ID’d last weekend.
The smaller apple and the cut piece both show two differences. They have more distinct stripes and they have long sepals which reflex out in a little star shape. The other apple has short stumpy downy sepals. The sepals are the remains of the covering of the flower when it is in bud.
I believe that the very pronounced stripes and the sepals point to it apple being Allington Pippin. It does not taste quite the same as the Ellisons Orange ,which incidentally is a dead ringer for the illustrations of the variety. It just goes to show that there are so many factors that have to be considered when doing an ID that it is no wonder there are and always have been many cases of mistaken identity in the apple world.
But since writing this I have found some really clear pictures for Allington Pippin and they are nothing like the striped apple. There are pictures of Allington Pippin out there with lovelylong stripes but the ones in the National Fruit Collection are not striped, think again next year, the last of the apples are rotting on the ground so there’s little option.
Yesterday I drove a mammoth triangle taking in London Surrey, Hampshire and back to Sussex. I finished my bit of guerrilla gardening at my aunt’s house and got back home after dropping off my former neighbours knitting bag with her niece! She has such a sweet garden, even in the dusk I could see that the balls of box were perfect and the textures were varied but harmonious. I knew I had found the right house when I saw the pot of bamboo by the front door. Because her bamboo is so invasive she keeps it all in pots, it is still over two metres high and makes a good screen…which can be moved at will.
#140 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Trying to key apples, they have to be cut up.
size 6 in x 4.5 in 15cm x 12cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
Yesterday I went to collect my aunt so that she could visit us and then the intrepid soul is off for a week on the Norfolk Broads with my mother and sister. They will be hiring a motor boat , she has packed more thick jumpers than I own.My mother has made a Fleetwood cake which was the cake which went with us on any journey when we were children. When we went to the Broads as children the standard was an 8”x8” cake and a catering tray of homemade bread pudding donated by my grandmother. We also took all our Easter eggs as it was always just after Easter that we went. Sometimes it was lovely the reedbeds were coming alive after winter and the primroses were out. Some years it snowed. I remember being in a dinghy when the snow started falling and the wind dropped to nothing , the belly of the sail filled with goosefeathers of snow as we watched and grew colder and colder. I think we got back in the end by using the sail as a great bit flapping wing. Hot tea and slabs of cake restored us.
I had a very frustrating attempt to get the apples from the community orchard identified. I tried to spread the apples out over the day and had got one identified positively when I queued again. I finally got to where it seemed to be my turn and a woman from Storrington pushed in with ten samples of apple and I couldn’t keep my aunt and the rest of the family waiting any longer.
So it now requires another visit to another apple day or some tentative guesses with the online apple key. Slow work,an expert will recognise features which short cut the process.
#134 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Day One hundred and thirty three
size 5 in x 5 in 13cm x 13cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
Today I am considering the subject of my blog, I have been asked to do some Morning Glory, I quite fancy doing an outdoor picture but it will probably rain on me, and then again there are flowers and apples in the garden which I like but haven’t put in a blog painting yet…some days to have plenty of choice seems a luxury and on other days it is too much. I have decided upon one of the stored pears ,you can tell its been stored its gone a little crumpled.
I made a big tray of apple sortofshortbread this morning for the weekend, but it smelt so lovely that when my neighbour popped round to look at the builders progress on their house( getting there) we got stuck into it with a cup of coffee. Apparently her daughter K. reads the blog which is lovely to hear.
The shortbreadsortof is an attempt to pass off more apples on the family in an acceptable form. I made a mix half way between shortbread and pastry using butter and stork and plain flour (1lb flour,3/4 shortening,1/2 sugar,1 cup raisins, two large aromatic eaters diced,pinch of salt…I used the Ellison’s Orange, but Cox or anything suitable for a French Tarte au Pommes would do. It’s quite crumbly but tastes good*. There are many opinions on what should go in a real French Tarte au Pommes, something like Calville Blanc d’Hiver apple is classic, it has a very strong flavour and thin slices cook but do not break up, however modern writers including French recipe sites suggest Golden Delicious or Granny Smith ,these will look right but they will not have the intense flavour of the older apples which are used by better restaurants in France. If you tend to think that Tarte au Pommes is OK but a bit insipid I suggest you seek out one made with the sort of apples around which the recipe was created. I wonder how many old recipes we miss the point of as we do not have access to the right varieties of fruit and vegetable to make them special. Ellison’s Orange is actually a cross between a French Calville Blanc d’Ete and an English Cox so it probably is a good candidate for a proper Tarte au Pommes. The apple can seem dry as soon as it starts to overripen , but that I think is the sort of characteristic required.
Last night I put apples in the salad and in the pudding and the night before I made Bolognese sauce with fresh garden tomatoes ( they thought it was marvellous…no of course they didn’t they moaned that it was different from the standard brew).
Method for recipe if you would like to try:
Put the flour and the shortening and the salt into a food processor, blitz until it is mixed and starting to stick together in lumps.
Mix in the raisins and the diced apple, press into a lined tray bake for half an hour in a medium oven or until it is firm and beginning to brown in places. Cut up when nearly cool and eat, but you could guess that bit.
#133 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog