Guernsey Gâche Mélée (pronounced Gosh Mel Ahh) is a traditional Guernsey baked apple dessert, and one of the finest desserts ever in Paul’s humble opinion! In Guernésiais (Guernsey's local patois), gâche mélée simply means cake mix.
It's made with apples, butter, sugar, flour, a bit of milk and sometimes spices (mum used a quarter teaspoon of mixed spice), all mixed and baked to a delicious golden brown.
At this time of year, with apple harvests being brought in and the nights really drawing in, this is the perfect if somewhat rich dessert. It can be served cold (great for a picnic) though Paul loves it with a generous trickle of Guernsey cream or large dollop of custard.
The recipe below was originally handwritten and gifted to cousin Tina by her mother-in-law. Mum's recipe was similar though with the addition of mixed spice.
We haven't done a video on this yet... though I have a feeling we may!!
1lb cooking apples (weighted after paring and coring)
5oz Self-raising flour
2.5 oz Butter or Suet (vegan option)
3 fluid oz Milk or Oatmilk (vegan option)
1/4 tsp Mixed Spice (optional, and in mum's recipe)
Good pich of salt
Chop apples into small pieces (1/2 inch cubes).
Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon until toroughly miced.
Place the mixture into a well-greased tin measuring 7" by 9" and bake on Gas 2 / 300F / 150C / 140 Fan for 1.5 hours, till golden brown and the apples are cooked. Add an extra 15 minutes if needed.
Cut into squares and serve with cream.
Dessert in photo baked by cousin Tina!! 🤗
I have always grown Guernsey Half Long parsnips... partly out of nostalgia, and partly because they've always done well for us. For the first time, this year they didn't want to germinate. The first sowing did absolutely nothing, and the second sowing chose to do similar. As I'd sent some seeds off to Liz Zorab of Byther Farm so that she could have a go at them, and also shared some with the fabulous Vivi, after my second sowing I'd none left for a third sowing. A quick search online showed none in stock, which wasn't a huge surprise as it was well into the sowing season! However, there was no way we could be without parsnips so I decided I'd use the Tender & True seeds that had come free with a Kitchen Garden magazine.
Nine months from sowing, I've just pulled the first parsnip, which we're going to have for supper this evening (Christmas Day). You always wonder what lies beneath, and I have to say I'm really happy with what came out. It's grown true and strong and long and I hope is going to be tender as well and fully live up to its name. We've another full few rows of these parsnips so I hope that they'll all come out as good. Fingers crossed!!
I do love the Guernsey Half Long variety; they have big, broad shoulders and don't grow too long though you still get a really good amount of parsnip per seed. I've saved seed from one that we grew, did not harvest last year and left to go to seed... a flourish of flowery umbells followed by fennel-like seeds. If you're thinking of growing parsnips this year do remember that the seed does not stay vibrant for too long. It's said that it's best to get fresh seed each year, so if you do have seeds from last year or even the year before give them a go though be prepared to re-sow with fresh seed as germination may be poor.
I think I'll also be sowing some other parsnip varieties too this growing year. I've a Finnish one from Old Gardener Guy, and will definitely be giving those a go, and if I get some free seed of these Tender & True again I'll also sow them once more.
We sow our carrots and parsnips sparsely in a raised bed which is 3 decking boards deep, and do not thin them and do not cover them. As the carrot root fly flies only up to a certain height we generally get away without too much damage to our root veg. It's been the same this year and in the move to our new plot we'll be shifting the carrot bed from our lower plot up to our new one.
One thing that always surprises me is that parsnips in many countries are considered food just for livestock. They're certainly considered more than this in our house, and I think in many others. The wonderful starchy sweetness of parsnips makes them an essential with any decent roast, and therefore one of the true Kings of the Allotment Crop.
A Guernsey Gardener in London, Day 19
...long term partners.