First published on Irish Country Living.
One cold winter’s morning in 2014 I went, radio mic in hand, to Ballingarry where I recorded Theresa Storey – aka The Green Apron artisan preserve company – making her Seville orange marmalade. I’ve made plenty of jams and marmalades and chutneys in my time but, as I recorded, I picked up some brilliant tips from Theresa. Simple things, that make life easier – and the marmalade better. Who would have thought to use a food processor to do all that laborious chopping? Only someone who has made thousands upon thousands of jars of marmalade, one small, 21-jar batch at a time.
I’ve been asking her to write a book ever since. And now – ta da! – here’s Fruit on the Table.
I don’t think that Theresa’s has ever met a garden glut that she didn’t like. Whether it’s turning strawberries into butter, cranberries into cocktails or converting tomatoes into tapanades, there’s always something just a little bit out of the ordinary that she can do with piles of fruit. As The Green Apron, she makes little pots of pleasure, seasonal preserves with personality. You’ll always remember where you were the first time you tasted her Raspberry Jam, Oh My Darlin’ Clementine Marmalade or Partridge in a Pear Tree Chutney – and sigh with sadness as you scrape the last scraps out of the jar, until you remember that you can pick up a replacement at Limerick’s Milk Market on Saturdays. Too far away? It no longer matters because all you have to do is get your hands on Fruit on the Table and make the recipes for yourself.
And it doesn’t just stop at good things in jars. There are tips for growing and foraging. There are recipes for cakes and pies and smoothies and vin d’orange (make sure you try the vin d’orange) and all kinds of lovely fruit-orientated dishes, with a nice balance between both plenty and thrift.
There’s no bone broth in this book, no spiralized fake “pasta”, no wannabe clean eating; it’s just good wholesome home cooking, but with a Theresa twist.
Fruit on the Table is full of recipes for genuine food, using honest materials that are rooted firmly in the seasons. So go, get the book and make your own hedgerow jelly, apple butter and Russian rhubarb relish – but do so knowing that you have a safety net; The Green Apron will be at the Milk Market next Saturday.
Apple Pie Cake
This is one of Theresa’s mother’s recipes which, she says, is the essential flavour of Autumn. Or you can cheat and bake it in summer, like I did! Having a randomly stocked pantry, I used light muscovado sugar and wholemeal spelt flour in this without any problems.
60g butter, plus a little extra for the dish
1 egg, beaten
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eating apples, cored and chopped (don’t bother peeling them)
Butter the base and sides of a 23cm x 5cm pie dish. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Melt the butter and tip it into a large bowl. Add the sugar and egg and mix well together. Measure the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour and scrape the batter into the pie dish and roughly flatten. There will be lots of apple pieces sticking up – this is fine.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool in the pie dish and serve with whipped cream or natural yoghurt.