Red Currants

Summer Bounty

By | summer | 2 Comments

With August you are just beginning to realise how wonderful summer is. I had bounty of gooseberries, a good crop of raspberries and not so many red currants that have all come to an end. Gooseberries went into pie, were gently poached to serve with lots of cream and there so many I’ve also tucked them into the freezer to cheer up mid-winter evenings.  Most of my raspberries along with the red currants became summer pudding. I’m on my third one and I’ve also have one in the freezer.

This year, for the first time I made raspberry jam, just four jar because my friend Ilze had so many they were dropping to the ground faster than she could pick them. The recipe I followed Christine Ferber’s recipe, and it’s so delicious I’m going to have trouble keeping it until winter.

There is one fruit in my garden that is still going strong and will continue into the autumn, my wild strawberries or fraises de bois. I love these intensely flavoured fruit that are all the more precious because I can never gather more than a small handful at a time. Enough to top an individual tart but I don’t bother, I simply eat them warm and juicy from the sun.

Red Currants + Raspberries

By | Step-by-step, summer, Summer cooking | No Comments
This is the time to make summer pudding, as both red currants and raspberries are in the markets or ripening in your backyard, if your lucky. Many people throw any combination of berries into summer pudding, but it is best when made with only raspberries and red currants in a 3 to 1 ratio. It requires little heat, so perfect for a hot summer day. Make it a couple of days before you want to serve it. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator and also freezers well, but remember to line the bowl with plastic wrap first if the pudding is destined for the freezer.
You’ll need bread, I like egg bread or challah, but any quality white bread will do, not too fresh, I always check the day old bin at my local bakery. A bowl, my ceramic pudding basin is perfect and holds my mixture of 600g raspberries, 200g red currants off the stem, rinsed, and 200g sugar. Place the damp berries and sugar in a frying pan over low heat and stir from time to time until the berries soften and the sugar is dissolves. Meanwhile, cut the crusts off the bread, and line the bowl with bread and set the bowl in a pie dish to catch any drips.
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Fill the bowl with the fruit mixture, reserving any left over syrup. Top the pudding with more bread.
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Pour over the remaining syrup allowing it to soak into the bread. Cover with plastic wrap, top with a plate, weight down (yet another use for my homemade sauerkraut) and refrigerate at least 24 hours. Remove the weight and plate.

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When ready to serve, turn out onto a plate and carefully cut into servings with a bread knife. It’s good with whipped cream but doesn’t really need it. Once cut the pudding looses its structural integrity and will start to sag, Putting the bowl back over it will help hold it together if you have any leftovers.

Why is it called summer pudding? Because of its resemblance to a steamed pudding.

And while we are on names why is making an irreverent sound with your tongue and lips called a raspberry?  In the nineteenth century English rhyming slang “raspberry tart” is rhyming slang for a fart.

In my hands

By | Books, Cookbooks | 6 Comments

The first copy of Odd Bits is in my hands. It is very exciting to be holding something that you ave only seen on a computer screen or endless black and white printouts. There is still and always will be something special about a physical book. Here is a sneak peek……

The front and back covers. The cut piece of meat on the cover is half a pig’s trotter and on the back is a dish of sweetbreads with morels and fava beans (broad beans in if you speak English and don’t live in North America.

Anyone familiar with my first two books Bonesand Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipeswill know that I love end papers. It is such a lot of space that is usually wasted in cookbooks. How beautiful is that tripe? Wouldn’t it make a stylish cardigan?

And here is the contents page, the only place you can beg for a double page spread – love it! Want to see more? You’ll have to wait until September.

PS: For anyone interested the cream didn’t really soften the tannins in the red currant ice except, but it did make it paler and firmer in the freezer. On subsequent tastings the tannin doesn’t bother me, the ice is refreshing, palate cleansing and delicious.