Skip to content
February 10, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Be photographed with your Valentine at Apley Farm Shop


Personalised presents by Big Little Things

Hero2Be photographed with your Valentine at Apley Farm Shop – news flash !: 

“Steve Watts of A Decent Exposure will be available for portrait photos of happy couples at Apley Farm Shop on Saturday 13th February as well as on Sunday – Valentine’s Day! He’ll be offering to photograph you on our Skylark Nature Trail (weather permitting of course!) or in the courtyard and taking you through a range of natural poses. Whether you’re holding hands, cuddling up together, looking into each others’ eyes or holding the traditional red rose, Steve is sure to get some really great pictures, and you’ll have some good fun with him as well!

Sessions will last up to 15 minutes and 6”x4” mounted prints will be available to purchase on the day for just £5 each – he’ll even shoot in romantic black and white for you. Larger prints are also available to order.” What a perfect present to give each other.

Alternatively, Big Little Things have a nearly-sold-out-already range of personalised presents – so drop in asap to their shop in Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard.

February 9, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

China Town & Pancake day

Chinatown, London

Chinatown, London

Pancake day in Pigg's Playbarn

Pancake day in Pigg’s Playbarn

Whenever we can, we head off on after-school adventures. We get on a bus or tube & pop up in a totally different part of London like moles. Today, we’re off to China Town, then home for pancakes. Here are a few recipe ideas:

Smoked haddock pancakes

2 pancakes per person as a main course

For 4 people, ½lb haddock (cooked & smoked)

½ pint pancake batter (for 8 pancakes)

Mixture A

  1. 2 tablespoons chopped celery (fry with others in butter)
  2. 4 oz mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  3. 3½ oz unsalted butter, melted
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. 14-16oz tinned tomato (add to others)
  6. Sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, grated cheese

Simmer mixture A to a thick puree.

Remove skin from haddock & flake it

Add haddock to tomato mixture   } to filling

Add lemon juice to sharpen           }

Melt remaining butter over pancakes

Garnish with lemon & parsley

Serve with peas

Lemon savoury pancakes

Fill with freshly made filling

Top with sauce or grated cheese

Heat pancakes through in hot oven for 30 mins or grill, covered with foil.

Potato pancakes, for a strong breakfast or light lunch

Grate 1½ lb potatoes for 4-6 people.

Remove excess moisture

Add corned beef, bacon & onions

Blend flour into egg yolks, add to the pot mix

Heat in deep pan of oil.

Sole aux crepes

12 filets of sole for 6 people

Seasoned flour for sole



Fry seasoned sole

Roll pancakes & slice into ½” strips cross-ways.

A few other alternative pancake ideas

Fill like Spring rolls

Bacon pancakes

Rum & pineapple pancakes

Or just for the basic mix – 4oz flour, 2 eggs & ½ pint milk

Source [of some]: The Cookery Year, Published in London by the Reader’s Digest, 1973 – a very old favourite of Gavin’s !



February 8, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Easter Funday, bank holiday Monday 28 March

2016-02-08, Easter A5 leaflet final JPEG

The Apley Easter Funday will be on bank holiday Monday 28 March, 10-4pm, with masses for all the family. So if you’re doing some forward planning, here’s the programme we’ve prepared ! Get making your bonnets !

We’ll be open as usual on Saturday 26 March, 9:30-5:30pm, where there will be a display of Easter eggs, Easter chocolates & spring lamb from the butcher. If you’re expecting family & friends & you want to order your Easter food early, order in our online Delishop – just click HERE. On Easter Sunday the farm shop is closed, but the Creamery Cafe is open as usual for Easter Sunday lunches (Apley spring lamb from the Apley butcher will be on the menu of course). For the children, Pigg’s Playbarn & Scotty’s Animal Park will be open, but Alley Katz Toy Shop will be closed. Click HERE for more details. Our free Skylark Nature Trail (45 mins walk from the car park) is open all year round & by the Easter weekend, you’ll be able to spot signs of Spring. Having said that, it’s been so mild until now that I’ve seen catkins, camelias, magnolias & some trees in blossom already !

On Sat 2 & Sun 3 April, Apley Plant Centre (which comes out of hibernation on Mon 15 Feb) will hold a special Spring Border weekend, to help you get your gardens looking their best this spring & summer.

February 7, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

This week in Apley Farm Shop

Beetroot, available in red, white & candy

Beetroot, available in red, white & candy

2016-02-08, More seeds have been planted

More seeds have been planted

2016-02-08, Phil's rice paddi field

Phil’s rice paddy field

2016-02-08, Seed started - Broad beans, tomatoes, cauliflower & more

Seed started – Broad beans, tomatoes, cauliflower & more

2016-02-08, Started sowing the tomatoes for the tomato festival

Started sowing the tomatoes for the tomato festival

It’s pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) on Tuesday (9 Feb) – we of course have all you need ! Cake of the week sounds awesome – squidgy chocolate & pomegranate torte. Dish of the week is Apley faggots with red onion, mash potatoes, peas & gravy. Cheese of the week is Colston Bassett Stilton (£2.25 per 100g).

Phil’s just sent me these planting photos – good to see the new garden year beginning & tomatoes being planted for our first tomato festival 24-25 Sept. Amazing to think 3 years ago (5 Feb 2013) he was felling trees & building bonfires to clear the gardens after 60 years out of use.

To help make the most of our current offers in the farm shop, here’s a summary:

  1. Café – Tuesday Specials two main courses for £12.00 and two puddings for £6.00. Valid to 30 June
  2. Dine at home – The Meal Deal for 2 – £20. Valid to 30 April
  3. 200 free loyalty card points when you sign up to an Apley Farm Shop Loyalty card 1 Feb 2016 to 30 April 2016
  4. Free small standard tea* or coffee* when you buy any 9 hot drinks when stamped in coffee/tea card. Expires 31 Dec 2016
  5. Free tea* or coffee* when you spend over £10 online & create an account. Expires 31 March
  6. Free coffee with any cake for Harper Adams first year / fresher students. Expires 31 July 2016
February 6, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Lovely feedback from a Creamery Cafe customer

Your feedback matters imageI recently received this email with great feedback for Zoe, our Creamery Cafe manager:

I would just like to thank one of your very hardworking members of staff whose serves me most weeks in your cafe. She always acknowledges my arrival for my usual coffee and serves me promptly even when very busy. I only have a short break on my travels and appreciate this very prompt service. Good service is the reason why most of us visit again. Thank you very much 😊

Good service is the reason why most of us visit again – that’s the important bit isn’t it. Huge well done to Zoe & her team !


February 5, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Vintage crockery Afternoon Teas for Valentine’s Day

2015-02-13, Conference Room set up - Valentine's 4

Corn Loft Conference Room ready for Valentine’s Day Afternoon Teas

2016-02-03, Peanut butter squares (2)

Cake of the Week: Peanut butter squares by Julie

2016-02-03, chicken breast with saute savoy cabbage and smoked bacon and mushroom tarragon sauce (1)

Chicken breast with saute savoy cabbage, smoked bacon & mushroom tarragon sauce

2016-02-03, Neuf Chatel, heart shaped cheese image (2) best

Neuf Chatel au lait cru

2016-01-04, Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea table set up 2 2016-01-04, Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea table set upVintage crockery Afternoon Teas is rarely used these days, but is exactly what Apley Farm Shop staff lay tables with for Valentine’s Day. This year, teas are available Saturday & Sunday 13 & 14 February in the Creamery Cafe, the quieter Corn Loft Conference Room & even the Old Dairy – the courtyard’s beautiful central building. Valentine’s lunches in the Creamery Cafe are only available on Sunday 14 February. Call 01952 730 345 to book or email 

If you’re popping in this weekend, Dish of the Week is Chicken breast with saute savoy cabbage, smoked bacon & mushroom tarragon sauce & Julie’s Cake of the Week are peanut butter squares – yumm ! If you are after smaller portions, just ask for the midweek ‘£12 meal for two‘ offer.

Apley Cookery Club with Gilly Clayton is tomorrow Sat 6 Feb in the Conference Room, 10:30-12:30pm & Tuesday 9 February is Shrove Tuesday. We have all you need in the farm shop to make yours at home or enjoy them in our Creamery Cafe – they’ll be the menu for sure !

February 4, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress

02-2016, 20 down, 220 to go. Varieties grown

Labels – 20 down, 220 to go. That’s how many varieties are grown in the gardens

02-2016, AWG -time to go home

Sunset over the gardens – time to go home

02-2016, Bronze fennel, great for winter salads

Bronze fennel, great to add colour & texture in winter salads

02-2016, Early sloes in blossom

Early sloes in blossom

02-2016, Giant carrot. Only available on Apley Estate

Giant carrot. Only available on Apley Estate.

02-2016, Ground preparation for heritage carrots

Ground preparation for heritage carrots

02-2016, Onions - Ready to plant out

Onions – Ready to plant out

02-2016, Rainbow over AWG

Rainbow over the gardens

02-2016, Some sun over the garden at last

Sunrise – great to have sun over the garden at last

02-2016, Stratification to soften the seed coat & improve germination

Stratification to soften the seed coat & improve germination

02-2016, Sweet pea tunnel under construction

Sweet pea tunnel under construction

02-2016, Repairs to fruit pen

Repairs to fruit pen

02-2016, Red veined sorrel grown for Creamery Cafe

Red veined sorrel grown our own Creamery Cafe

Apley Walled Garden is waking up from its quietier months. Phil’s got a new mobile, so has been sending me these great on-the-spot photos to keep me up to date. I love these daily photos, as they tell a real story of the gardening year from the man himself doing all the spade work (excuse the pun!).

As a tiny thank you to the chefs who’ve agreed to come & give demonstrations on bank holiday Monday 2 May at our First Apley Bake Off, Phil is offering our Grown-to-Order service for free. So Chris Burt of the Peach Tree, Momonoki & Havana Republic in Shrewsbury, he’s growing Japanese mooli radishes. They’re already in the ground, but will take 70 days to come through. They may only just about be ready in time !

Ground preparation for heritage carrots: The red, yellow and white have been sown in the polytunnel already.

The whole crop of red veined sorrel will be labelled & sent to our own Creamery Cafe at Apley Farm Shop as and when our Head Chef Matt orders it. It’s another good example of our Grown-to-Order service. Chefs decide what they need (in advance, so it has time to grow!), tell us & we grow it !



February 3, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Bake Off – our line up of demo chefs

2015-06-06, Gilly Clayton, Apley Cookery Club, cropped

Gilly Clayton, Apley Cookery Club

Lajina Leal image jpeg

Lajina Leal of Masala Magic

Chris Burt image jpeg

Chris Burt of The Peach Tree & Momonoki restaurants, Havana Republic bar & other Shrewsbury businesses

2016-01-29, Momo-no-ki-logo

Chris Burt’s restaurant

2016-01-14, AFS - Bake OFF 3x1 final JPEG

James Sherwin

James Sherwin chef

Suree Coates image JPEG

Suree Coates, Thai chef

Stuart Philips image JPEG

Stuart Philips of The Hundred House

Hundred House Hotel emblem image logoThis week, I’ve been confirming a fabulous line up of demo chefs for the First Apley Bake Off on bank holiday Monday 2 May (10-4pm).

Demonstrating chefs include Chris Burt of the Peach Tree Restaurant in Shrewsbury, James Sherwin who made it to the finals of Nigella Lawson’s The Taste TV show, Suree Coates who won the 2015 Midlands Thai Chef of the Year, Stuart Philips who runs Apley Estate’s Hundred House Hotel in the estate village of Norton, Lajina Leal who has rapidly established herself as a leading supplier of spices & curries to Shropshire’s restaurants & Gilly Clayton who runs our monthly cookery club.

They’re all lined up to give a demo & then pop into the Have-a-Go tent where the first 8 who sign up get to have a pop-up masterclass in culinary skills. I can’t wait to see that happening – I’m sure there will be a lot of fun.

The competitive element is essential of course in any Bake Off, so getting practising your cakes, sweet tarts or savoury tarts & bring them into the Competition Tent by 2pm on the day, to be judged by chef James Sherwin.

At Apley Farm Shop, we always have something for the children: The Pigg’s Playbarn staff will set up a messy cookery corner where they can get creative (under the close watch of their parents!).

I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful foodie day for everyone !

February 2, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Farm Shop’s big heart

2016-02-01, Valentines heart and display (11)

Valentine’s Day presents display in Apley Farm Shop (also available in our online DeliShop)

2016-02-01, Valentines heart and display (8)

One heart, 2 ladders, 3 ropes, 4 men, 5 feet [its size] – the heart being installed in Apley Farm Shop

2016-02-01, Valentines heart and display (2)

Perfect presents – Narcissi, Prosecco & Holdsworth chocolates

Apley Farm Shop’s big heart was caught on camera as it was being installed yesterday. Is it the biggest – has anyone seen a bigger one ? !

Still need to book in for your Valentine’s Day lunch (Sun 14 Feb) or Afternoon Teas (Sat 13 & Sun 14 Feb) – just call Zoe on 01952 730 345 ext 2 or email her on

February 1, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Probably Shropshire’s largest heart

2016-01-31, Apley Farm Shop Valentine's Day laurel heart (4)

Apley Farm Shop Valentine’s Day laurel heart, ready to be taken to be installed

2016-01-31, Apley Farm Shop Valentine's Day laurel heart (1) 2016-01-31, Apley Farm Shop Valentine's Day laurel heart (2) Apley Farm Shop is just installing today probably Shropshire’s largest heart – made of laurel leaves. Phil Allen, our Head Gardener, made the chicken wire frame, Gavin pruned a laurel shrub in the garden, then yesterday the children helped me decorate it. The Apley Estate will send 2 men with a very long ladder to hang it from the beams in the farm shop & finally Tina will add the finishing touches as it’s rather fragile ! So it’s another example of the fabulous Apley team work !

Here’s Francis with it, fresh back from his rugby lesson.

For Valentine’s Day lunches & Afternoon Teas, just call 01952 730 345 – ext 6 is the office or ext 2 is the cafe (book with Zoe).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,155 other followers