North Dorset’s leading Garden Centre with Florist, Café and award-winning Farm Shop
Tel: 01747 835544

Apple Day at Orchard Park

What is Apple Day?

Apple day is a celebration of the English apple and the orchard held annually in October. It is a day, or few days, to recognise the diversity of apples in the United Kingdom and was first started in 1990 by a local arts and environmental charity, Common Ground and launched in Covent Garden market.  The following year in 1991 apple day was launched Nationwide with over 50 events ranging from village hall markets to larger apple roadshows.  Apple day has been celebrated every year since and has grown from a small local event to a nationwide celebration of the humble apple.



Apple facts

  • Apples float in water because 25% of their volume is air
  • In Ancient Greece tossing an apple to a girl was a proposal of marriage and catching it was a response of ‘yes’
  • There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples – the largest variety of fruit to exist
  • It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider
  • To prevent apples turning brown once sliced add a few squeezes of lemon juice or lime juice.


Orchard Café Apple Scone Recipe

600g Stoates Self Raising Flour (plus a small amount for dusting/ rolling out the dough)

500g approx. Bramley Apples Diced (a sweeter apple can be used if preferred)

3 Free Range Eggs

125ml Buttermilk

125ml Milk

80g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

1 Free Range Egg (for glazing)


  1. Heat the oven to 160*c for fan assisted ovens or 180*c/gas mark 4.
  2. Rub the butter and the flour together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then add the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and gradually add the eggs and milk.  Add the diced apple and mix until a dough has formed.
  3. Scatter some of the flour put aside for dusting onto the work surface and tip the dough out onto it.  Sprinkle some more flour onto the dough and your hands and knead very lightly before patting/rolling the dough till it is about 2cm thick.
  4. Cut out 12 scones and place on a baking tray.  Brush tops with beaten egg and cook in the oven for 12 minutes until lightly browned and risen.  Serve with butter and enjoy.


Breakfast Week

farmhouse breakfast

Breakfast Week: 25th-31st January 2015

sml EDIT Farmhouse Breakfast (3)

It may seem like a cliché, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Here’s why…

  1. People who eat breakfast consume more vitamins and minerals over the course of a day.
  2. Breakfast eaters have better concentration and are more productive throughout the morning. Researchers believe this is due to replenishing glucose, the brain’s main energy source.
  3. Researchers speculate that eating breakfast may reduce hunger later in the day so it becomes easier to maintain your weight, or even lose it.
  4. People who eat breakfast have higher energy levels and may engage in more physical activity. It has been proven that athletes who skip breakfast train less effectively.
  5. Breakfast eaters have lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

Sunday 25th January marks the start of Breakfast Week. This campaign champions the importance of breakfast, and also gives us the chance to think where our breakfast foods come from and supporting the farmers that produce them.

Both Orchard Café and Lagan Farm Shop are proud to be supporting Breakfast Week. Here’s how you can get involved!

Farm Shop

Our butchers have developed a delicious, exclusive chipolata made with fresh, local ingredients (pork, bacon, black pudding, mushroom Sausage on a forkand tomato). They taste absolutely delicious and are available for this week only – don’t miss out!

Why not treat the family and save £2.50 with a breakfast pack? You’ll get 12 breakfast chipolatas, 8 rashers of back bacon and 6 large free range eggs for just £7.50!


All week the café will be serving the new, exclusive chipolatas for breakfast, so you can try before you buy from the Farm Shop!

breakfast plateFeeling hungry? Come on in for our Big Farmhouse Breakfast! For one week only you can choose 8 breakfast items to have with toast and a regular hot drink of your choice for £8.95.

For those with a smaller appetite, pick up a copy of the Blackmore Vale Magazine this Friday, 23rd January. We’ve popped a voucher in there so you can get a regular 5 item breakfast and hot drink for just £4.95 until the end of January.

We’re looking forward to seeing here soon!

Apprentice Chef and Butcher required!

When the opportunity arose for Orchard Park to recruit an apprentice chef they thought this would be a given; an easy vacancy to fill in these days of youth unemployment, support for vocational studies from schools and colleges, and wall to wall TV celebrity chefs.  However, this was not to be the case and Managing Director Richard Cumming is bewildered by this turn of events.  “We constantly hear about young people struggling to find good work in their area and we have been unable to garner any interest in this position let alone interview any prospective candidates.

Our previous apprentice was with us for nearly 2 years and worked closely with our own, experienced Chefs, learning from them a sound knowledge of the basic elements of commercial cooking.  As part of his apprenticeship he spent a day a week at Yeovil College and we were delighted when he graduated and became a full time member of the team.

Naturally he has recently moved on to the next stage of his career and we are keen to replace him with another young recruit who has similar passion and enthusiasm to learn whilst working and I’m hugely disappointed that we have not been able to do so.”

Richard went on to say “here at Orchard Park we pride ourselves in our place in the community and have put together a fantastic training programme which has attracted many local youngsters over the years and I would urge anyone interested in joining us at apprenticeship level to get in touch.”

Lagan Farm Shop are also looking for an apprentice butcher to work with the team of experienced Master butchers and train at Kingston Maurward college.  For more details about either position please contact Jilly Sitch on 01747 835544.

Other Orchard Cafe news……

A recent visit by The Food Standards agency has awarded the Orchard Park Cafe with the very top marks possible in the national Food Rating Scheme.  This scheme, recently adopted by North Dorset District Council, is a Food Standards/local authority partnership initiative designed to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food.  We will proudly be displaying our certificate for all to see and ‘5’ is now our favourite number!!   A huge well done to all the team who work so hard to maintain our high standards!

Chocolate Easter Nests


200g chocolate (milk or dark)
50g butter
3tbsp golden syrup – gently warmed
100g rice crispies or cornflakes
You will need approx 3 chocolate mini eggs for each nest


  • Melt the chocolate and butter together
  • Add the warmed golden syrup and stir well
  • Add the rice crispies and gently stir making sure  all the crispies are coated in chocolate
  • Divide mix into 12 cup cakes and place the mini eggs in the centre of each one
  • Leave to set


Venison Casserole with herb dumplings (serves 8)

Created by Shaun Carthy, Head Chef at Orchard Park


24oz diced venison from Lagan Farm Shop
3oz diced streaky bacon
1 bay leaf
2 juniper berries
1small carrot, onion, leek
2 tbsp olive oil
1tsp redcurrant jelly
2 stalks celery
1 beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato puree
20z frozen redcurrants
1 glass red wine
2oz dark bitter chocolate
Dusting of flour for venison


  • Peel and roughly chop onion, carrot and celery
  • Add tsp olive oil to pan and sweat chopped vegetables off gently until soft
  • Place veg in casserole dish and set aside
  • In same pan as veg softened add another tsp of olive oil and diced venison and brown off
  • Once brown add the flour to the venison and stir through
  • Place the venison on top of the veg in the casserole dish and place on low heat on hob
  • Add the red wine and slowly reduce down
  • Once all above cooked through add tomato puree, stock cube, bay leaf, thyme, redcurrant jelly and juniper berries
  • Place in oven at 150c for 2 hrs
  • 15mins before end of cooking time add the chocolate and the frozen redcurrants
  • Season to taste and serve with celeriac mash and roasted root vegetables


Anya's Rice Pudding Recipe

Here’s a great recipe for Rice Pudding:

Rice Pudding (serves 8)


2 cups of rice (Basmati or brown)
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup double cream
3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 ¼  tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup currants
Cinnamon sticks for garnish


  • Steam the rice and once cooked set aside
  • Pre-heat oven at 18c
  • Put raisins and currants into a small saucepan and cover with hot water and bring gently to the boil, remove from heat and allow fruit to soak and plump up
  • Stir butter into cooked rice – leave to stand
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, cream, eggs yolks, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Pour mixture into rice and stir through
  • Drain raisins and currants and fold into rice mixture
  • Grease 9” x 9” baking dish with butter and add rice mix
  • Place in oven for 45 minutes, uncovered
  • Serve garnished with a cinnamon stick and serve warm


Anya’s American style Ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter & banana

Ingredients to serve 6 – 8;

  • 1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g butter

For the honeycomb butter;

  • 250g unsalted, softened butter
  • 100g sugar honeycomb (crushed)
  • 2 tbsp honey


  • Combine Ricotta, milk and egg yolks
  • Sift flour, salt & baking powder – add to Ricotta mixture
  • Whisk egg white and fold through the batter – do this slowly a little at a time
  • To make the honeycomb butter place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well – put to one side until pancakes cooked
  • Heat large frying pan using a little of the butter (do not leave pan unattended)
  • Using a small ladle (remember these need to be small pancakes that stack) put mixture into pan  and cook on low to medium heat for 2 minutes
  • Using a palate knife to loosen the edges of the pancake and gently toss the pancake into the air so it comes down onto the pan on the uncooked side – cook for further 2 minutes.
  • When evenly browned remove from pan and place on plate and cover with foil
  • Cook the next pancake using the same method

To serve;

Put a layer of sliced banana on the first pancake, top with 2nd pancake and top that with dollop of the butter and decorate with a little icing sugar.

Lagan Farm Shop Pork Belly with Rhubarb compote

This is a delicious alternative for Sunday lunch or an evening with friends – simple to make and easy to cook.  Serve with leek and potato mash. Serves 4


½ Pork Belly, de-rinded and boned out – speak to one of our butchers who will help you with this.
For the compote;
1lb rhubarb1/2pt red wine
3oz butter
10 cardamom pods
5oz brown sugar


  • Place foil in the bottom of a roasting dish, with sufficient to wrap around the meat if needed.  Place a rack in this dish and place the belly of pork on top
  • Season with generous amounts of black pepper.  Wrap the pork in foil parcel to cook
  • Place in hot oven for 20mins, then turn down the oven temperature 150c / 300f / Gas mark 2 for the rest of the cooking time – approx. an hour or just over
  • 15minutes before the cooking time is up, open the foil to brown the top of the meat
  • Now make your compote;
  • Wash and slice the rhubarb into small chunks, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rhubarb and sauté until it changes colour
  • Add the sugar, red wine and cardamom pods then simmer gently for 10mins
  • Remove the pork from the oven – the meat will be crispy on the outside and moist and succulent inside.  The fat will have dripped away into the bottom of your roasting dish
  • To serve : Place meat on board and slice into long pieces and drizzle the rhubarb compote  over the pork

Posh Fish Pie

This is a lovely recipe that is perfect for the pre-Christmas run up before life goes meat-tastic!  It is a favourite recipe of our Orchard Café chef Shaun and is simple and easy to make.  It is also a great dish to freeze ahead.


2 small onions
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 pint milk
20fl oz of double cream
2lb of salmon fillet
1lb of coley fillet
80z crayfish tails
8 oz butter
3 oz plain flour
Chopped parsley
Grated zest of 2 lemons
4lb floury potatoes
Salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat oven to 175c / Gas mark 4
  • Stud the onions with the cloves and put in a large pan with the bay leaf, 30fl oz of milk, the cream and all of the salmon & coley
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes
  • Lift the fish out onto a plate and strain the cooking liqueur into a jug
  • When the fish is cool enough to handle, break into large flakes discarding any bones and skin
  • Put into a large bowl and add the chopped parsley, lemon zest and crayfish and with your hands very gently mix together – handle with care so as not to ‘mush’ all the ingredients
  • Place the mix into an ovenproof dish
  • Make a white sauce with the fish stock, flour and 4oz butter.  Add the seasoning and when cooked through pour over the fish mix and gently mix together
  • Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, mash and add the rest of the butter and then beat enough of the remaining milk to form a spreadable mash
  • Spoon the potato over the fish and fork the surface
  • Bake for 30-40mins until piping hot and golden brown
  • Expert tip – add spinach and egg for a richer taste but if you do this the dish is then unsuitable for freezing.

Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
Tel:01747 835544
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