A quirky new café opened recently at the village shopping centre just five minutes from The Blue House, so Peter and I were quite eager to check it out. To our delight, we discovered that the service is cheerful and prompt, the food is fresh and tasty, as is the coffee — and there's a delicious selection of reasonably priced cakes and slices. Needless to say, we've popped in a few times already.
It was raining on the morning that we arrived at Borrodell Vineyard, so our scheduled 'Heritage Apple Walk' had to be put on hold until after lunch at Sisters Rock restaurant. There were two courses. A sumptuous chicken salad followed by Bramley apple pie. We were dining in a restaurant in the midst of an orchard overlooking the spectacular Towac Valley on the outskirts of the city of Orange, renowned as the 'apple capital' of Australia. The apple pie was destined to be good. Doing my best to seem nonchalant, I looked on as a finely-dressed woman at the next table prepared to take her first mouthful of pie. She took her time, deliberately scooping up some of the crème anglaise, raspberry syrup and double cream, along with a chunk of the pie. She put the spoon with its contents into her mouth, closed her lips around it, shut her eyes, then smiled and nodded pleasurably. Be still my beating heart! From that sneak preview, the pie was very, very good, and I was already salivating!
Orange in New South Wales greeted us with garlands of autumn colour, almost as if celebrating our arrival. A thriving regional centre just a few hours drive from Sydney and Canberra, Orange is the kind of place where gentlemen smile and tip their hats, children play outside on the front lawn, and folks take the time to stop for a friendly chat. If you will, it's a city in the country. A destination where you can enjoy the benefits of city life minus the pressure and rat race, or soak up a quiet rural life without feeling isolated. Are you seeking a tree change? Spend a week or more exploring Orange and its surrounding towns and villages, taste the district's food and wine, meet the locals, and you'll quickly find yourself falling for this charming place.
AFTER APPPLE PICKING
My long two-pointed ladder is sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
Except from a poem by Robert Frost 1874–1963
'We have rather betrayed the apple. It's the most important fruit in our eating and cooking. It's the foundation fruit of our Western culture. It's the fruit of aphrodite and the Virgin, of earthly and heavenly love, and so on. What a pity, and what a betrayal, that commercial growers have now concentrated on [the] look [of apples] at the expense of flavour and texture and scent'.
— Jane Grigson, on Apple and Quince, Good Things 1971.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.