A day in late October. The air is bright, the sky is blue. This will take some searching, but Thomas isn’t easily discouraged. He keeps a watchful eye for hints and clues. To the left, there’s a stone wall that once traced the outline of a field, to the right the remnants of a path. There it is, an orchard over-run by second stage forest. Old fruit trees stand out, their branches twisted or broken. There’s life in them still, they carry gnarly apples and cooking-pears. Collecting the fruit isn’t easy. Unpruned all these years, the branches are thorny and tangled in vines. Wild food foraging at its best.
I come home to a Rembrandesque vision of plates and bowls overflowing with Lescure heirloom fruit. Gloriously ill-shapen, odd and ugly. The pears are poached in red wine and cinnamon, the apples will make their way into oldfashioned apple-pie. There’s room for experiment too: tarty chutneys and sloe berry liquor. The latter recipe calls for gin, but there’s none in the larder, so Thomas decides on a forgotten bottle of Nicaraguan sugarcane rum. Different, to say the least.