It’s been sometime since I have dedicated an entry to a single recipe…it’s been a bit treehouse filled of late. So much of the food I have had come and go through the outdoor kitchen has been truly memorable and most of it photographed for future use. But at what point does photographing every stage of an exploit detract from the fun and experience of taking part in escapade to begin with?
There are so many things down here That I want to capture, write up and tell the world so everyone can take home a little piece but sometimes there is too much (good thing I’m writing a book to put it all in to)! Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to cook a meal or do something without having to consider it for books, blogs, so on and so forth. Perhaps these are the moments the magic really happens and things move at the pace they should rather than having to wait for the sun to come out again to take that so-important shot…
If there was one lip-smackingly indulgent free food spectacular to put up for all to see…it would be this one, and I’m sure I’m not he first and won’t be the last! Trigger finger at the ready…lets wait for the clouds to part.
This month, Mother Nature has been kind enough to add blackberries to the list of consumables in my gigantic outside larder. Thanks! I had been dreaming of the fat, juicy berries for the last three months and started to get very excited when they began appearing as tiny, hard red things.
The problem is….overload. There are just too many blackberries around to enjoy every single one, it’s great to return home with a bowl full of them but they never taste as good as when freshly plucked and eaten sparingly. A blackberry fool breaks all the rules, it’s messy, rich and uses plenty of extra thick double cream: real sinful stuff.
On the premise of producing this recipe I treated myself to a tub of said cream…lack of refrigerator meant it would have to be consumed in one fell swoop…which it was.
The last few weeks have been full of its ups and downs, the Ashes to be exact. The fool construction took place on the very same day I brewed another batch of meadowsweet beer and Broad nailed Australia in the final test. Brewing and eating to the banter of “Aggers & Tuffers” (what?! No Blowers!) was delightful, left hand for stirring stuff and right hand free for sups of previous homebrew- perfect? There was one flaw in the plan: wind-up radios need winding up and every time the wireless began to fade in went the aerial, down went TMS and wound I did…
Enough of cricket, on with the fool.
I went out armed with billycan to glean the brambles down by the river, I was spoilt for choice, there are something like 100 different varieties of blackberry in Britain, each one varying slightly in its quantities of bitter, sour and sweet. My picking regime is: find one you like and stick to the bush, except this is quite difficult to do when presented with a thorny, tangled mass of hedgerow. For a fool, a tart blackberry is perfect, as sugar is added to the mix. Pick a few sweet juicy one to throw in and top off the fool.
The dictionary sees a fool as being: a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding. I suppose that is why the fool is called a fool…it is very simple. The only mildly technical bit is probably the sugar. Of course you can use it straight up, but I have mint in spades growing around the wood, it would have been poor form to ignore it in the light of such berry mutilating activities.
Whilst Trott was giving the Aussies what for with his bat, I was pounding fresh mint leaves and sugar in a pestle & mortar; the result is green-minted sugar…a superb addition to strawberries by the way.
(Makes 2 or 1 big one if you’re feeling peckish)
Bear in mind, I don’t have much accuracy in terms of quantities down here…so common sense will apply here…the best I could do was do pint glass measures!
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 2 sprigs of mint
- ¼ pint of sugar
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ pint of extra thick double cream
First, zest the lemon (you can squeeze the juice straight into the pan). Pound the sugar and mint leaves in a pestle and mortar until the sugar is taken on a certain shade of green.
In a pan over a fire (or hob) heat the blackberries and crush with a spoon to excrete some of their juice, add the sugar, lemon juice and zest and stir until warmed through. Put the mix aside till completely cool.
Assembly: place a few fresh berries in the bottom of a suitable vessel- I used an “old fashioned” glass, and add some of the mix and juice. Put in a good dollop of the cream and push down into the glass. Put in another layer of berries and mix and then a final layer of cream. Decorate with mint flowers/leaves and blackberries.
Eat at once. Or, if you have a fridge, put it in there for an hour and enjoy in sunny weather! A good addition is elderberries, which are all over the place at the moment.
Other foolish activities that have been afoot in the wilds of Sussex:
I saved up some eggs and smoke-pickled them with fresh horseradish and rosemary…more about that another time, they are delicious!
Mushrooming has begun in earnest- Ceps, tawny grisettes, chickens and horse mushrooms have all made and appearance so far, things can only get better.
Cut hand quite badly on the bow saw whilst trying to employ it as an air guitar…don’t ask.
Been following that English chap in Alaska on twitter- he called it a day last week. Good Effort-he had some minerals, luckily I don’t have to deal with bears, wolves or Meese (the plural of moose), only foxes shitting on the path to the throne which I fill my toes with on midnight missions to the lavoratory.