It seems like in a weeks time the days have started to get more chilly and shorter. The trees are starting to shake off their leaves and we are greeted by cobnuts, apples and plums. Autumn is definitely upon us.
Last week I walked in a sunny meadow in Kent wearing a summer dress and red dancing shoes, today I'm packing a warm cardigan for London where I will stay with friends for a few days to attend this years food blogger conference. This time away from the hectic magazine deadlines and the company of like-minded food lovers from all over the globe will warm me with a fire of creativity.
In Kent, my mission was to find the 'Kentish cob' which is a type of hazelnut that has been grown in England since Tudor times and perhaps even earlier. The Victorians considered the Kentish cobnuts to be a delicacy and therefore are responsible for planting 7000 acres of cobnut orchard or 'plats'.
Like the cherry orchards, after first world war the amount of cobnut plats in Kent was drastically decreased to no more than 730 acres with a further decline to 250 acres today.
Unlike most hazelnuts, cobnuts are sold fresh and not dried. They are in season from the end of august through october.
At the beginning of the season the husks are green and the kernels very juicy, further into the season when the nuts have ripened the husks and shells are brown and the flavour has developed further to the hazelnut taste that we are used too.
This cake has a wonderful nutty flavour, together with the apple compote the flavours are a marriage made in autumn. Just glorious cake.
Kentish cobnut cake
traditional Kentish recipe adapted from English Teatime Recipes