Berry overload

August 12, 2010

I’ve taken some gentle teasing over my berry obsession but the way I see it is they are not here for long so we may as well make the most of them.  Thus an afternoon off saw me trundle out to Seldom Seen Farm near Billesdon. This farm always make me think of that idealised farm in the film Babe – it’s several miles from other human habitation and is set in a  deep little valley,  with bright green swards brightened by big flocks of noisy, pure white geese  running around in tight formation  like schools of fish.  The farm may be known to many for its Rick Stein approved geese at Christmas time, but the rest of the year it makes a living through arable and fruit. I got stuck in and bought  (could have gone PYO  but time was tight)  some wonderfully chubby rasperrries, blackberries, redcurrants and Worcesterberries  (a gooseberry and blackcurrant cross).

So, having rather splurged what would I do with them?  First off it had to be a summer pudding – possibly the easiest but most rewarding desert for the time of year.  Stew up  a selection of berries with a splash of water and sugar to taste, line a bowl with slices of white bread (a little stale is fine), fill the bowl with the cooled bery mix, top with bread and leave to mature for a day or two with a plate and weight on  top. The result is always a highlight of my year – especially served with some clotted cream.

Then what? Raspberry and white cheesecake of course. I followed an easy no-bake recipe –  melting white chocolate with a little butter over water,  mixing a little sugar with cream cheese  (I used a mixture of ricotta and philadelphia), chucking in some raspberries and  pouring over a base of mashed digestives mixed with melted butter in aloose-bottom tart tin.  It then just takes overnight for the whole lot to set.  You’ll need a sweet tooth, but oh my it’s good.

The remaining redcurrants I made into a jelly which will go with a leg of lamb eventually. They are full of pectin so it’s a fairly easy process of just simmering the berries with an equal quantity of sugar for 20 minutes  and then pouring into a muslin-lined sieve and letting it drip through. Decant it into a sterilised jar  (just heat it carefully in the oven for a bit)  and it sets very quickly.

Finally a big cake.  I made a basic cake mix and chucked in a range of  fruit before baking. I suppose it’s like a standard fruitcake  but using fresh summer berres  instead of dried fruit and nuts is a revelation  – the little explosions of sweetness, tartness and intense flavour make it an exciting eat.

Right, that’s enough about berries. There’ll be still some around for a couple of weeks if I’ve inspired anyone. If you want to glimpse Seldom Seen farm, it’s signposted off the A47  just past Billesdon. The recipes given here  are deliberately sketchy because you’ll all have your own  preferred methods and tastes,  but if you want full version just let me know.


One Response to “Berry overload”

  1. Charlotte said

    Ah, Seldom Seen! Their strawberries are always glorious. Especially when eaten in the car park, straight out of the punnet. Also, ‘loose-bottom tart…’ *snickers childishly*.


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