Saturday, 11 January 2014

Apples and Whisky

I remember telling you we got rid of the fruit arch way back at the start of December and thus lost our 2 pears, 2 apples and 2 plums, sad times. But we did get 2 new apple trees and I mean NEW as they are the Ecklinville Apple (or Echlinville, if you prefer), recently released for us commoners at a garden center in Co. Down. It's all rather an exciting tale to tell if you're a history geek like myself and my hubby :)

What?! They've spelt it wrong??
Well now, this story all stems from the rather powerful and influential Bishop of Down and Conor in the early 1600s; Robert Echlin. He was originally from Fife in Scotland and more than likely had another estate in Co. Down. His descendants built a lovely grade B1 listed house in acres of gorgeous land during the 18th and 19th centuries and it is still there today. Only now it's a whisky distillery which I think we shall just have to visit :) Anywho, that estate is where the Echlin Ville apple tree was reared and still thrives today.

The bit I like the best is that Bishop Echlin also had a 'bishop's palace' quite close to our allotments in Kilroot. Check out my super cool map :)

It's only recently that we heard about the tree being available for purchase and we knew it was the one for us (or two for us, as Andrew got money off in return for a wee history lesson given to the owner of the nursery!) Now they're planted I can't wait for the fruits, I really must start a Pinterest page dedicated to all things cooking apple - eek!

planting an apple tree (pt1)  - 'Grow Our Own' Allotment blog

planting an apple tree (pt2)  - 'Grow Our Own' Allotment blog

As they are going to be trained as espaliers Andrew lopped off a good bit of the stem and put in training wires as you can see above. A great wee tip when tying your tree stems to wire is to make sure there are a good few twists of the twine between the plant and the metal or you will get lots of rubbing = damage to your new favourite trees.

I just thought you might like to know that wee story.. funnily enough the idea for me telling you about it came to be a couple of days ago whilst eating an Egremont Russet Apple (one of the ones we had to dispose of - oh it was delicious!)
Egremont Russet Apple - 'Grow Our Own' Allotment Blog

And just to round this whole blog post off...I am having a medical whisky, hehehe - it's a Talisker 10.


  1. I hope your trees produce delicious fruits.

  2. I love the apple tree story, I'm a sucker for a good historical story, you could sell me anything if you make it good enough. You've done the wires for the espalier training beautifully. I have a couple of apples I've tried to espalier in the garden, but the wires are on the fence, so everything rubs. One of them is an Egremont Russett, and you're right, they are delicious. The other one is a Ribston Pippin - very high in Vitamin C and also really delicious, I can highly recommend it. Enjoy that whisky, CJ xx

  3. Sue - thank you so much, if they do you are welcome to come over for apple crumble xx

  4. CJ - isn't it fabulous when a plant has a personal story, my favourites are ones given by friends,ones that have moved house with us or ones grown from seed etc. It makes the experience of watching them do well even more rewarding.
    Eek! I don't know how wee trees don't get ruined growing up against walls but some of the best I've seen are in historic walled gardens...they are pretty tough. Oh, you lucky egremont owner you! :)
    P.S. the whisky was lovely...I had two,hehe

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  6. Hi, I read your blog from time to time, but never left the comment. I hardly ever do that anywhere, to be honest ;) But when I read that you're looking for apple recipes... oh how I love Szarlotka! :) I don't say Apple Pie intentionally, because for me it refers rather to the American one - many countries have some kind of apple cake/pie/dessert and they always differ a bit. I'm not an expert in those foreign ones, but I discovered my true affection to Polish Szarlotka recently, when I started cooking it by myself (yes, I like only the cakes I make on my own, none of the shop-bought can compare)... and smell of a good cooked/baked apple is just what makes it so awesome. A good one, because it has to be the proper variety and I don't know if they are the same here and in the UK... Wikipedia tells me that I can translate our two very best varietes as Russet and Antonovka, if it tells you something? I can see on your Ecklinville label that it "cooks to a well flavoured puree" so if I were you I would definitely try to bake with it ;)

    Oh my, where have all my good manners gone? Szarlotka is just a melting-in-a-mouth shortcrust pastry filled with an apple puree - just behold ;) They say that it has something to do with the Prussian princess Charlotte, hence the name: char-lot-ka (like in "cat"). If you would be interested I could share the recipe - I didn't want to show off THAT much ;)

  7. Nice post and a good story.
    It'll be interesting to see what the apples are like! Flighty xx


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