Wednesday, 4 September 2013

M's Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe, One For Jellies, And Some Interesting And Lovely Moths

Please don't confuse the title and expect the moths to be a serving suggestion.

Blackberry Ice Cream
1lb of blackberries (or 450 grams if you follow new-fangled weights and measures)
6oz sugar (175g)
5floz water (150ml)
10floz double cream (275ml)

1.75 pt (1 litre) freezer-proof container with a lid. A sieve. A wooden spoon (I can't think of wooden spoons without being reminded of my friend Sarah and her son Edward.  They were doing some baking years ago and he asked her where he had come from, so she said: "Daddy and I made you." He paused, thought about it, and replied: "with a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon?").

1.Place blackberries in sieve over a bowl and mash like mad with a wooden spoon until all you're left with is stalks, pips and skins.
2. Place sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar then bring to the boil and boil for 3mins exactly.

3.Remove from the heat and stir the sugar syrup into the fruit pulp.

4. Whip the cream until it just starts to thicken but it still floppy (technical term), then fold the cream into the fruit mixture until it is thoroughly blended.

5. Pour the lot into the container and freeze in the freezer for approx 3 hours (until it just starts to set).

6. Turn it out into a bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon.

7. Return to the container and freeze until required.

8. The recipe says eat within 3 weeks, but we often have ours months after it's been made and I am still alive.

While I'm in a mood of recipe generosity, I'll also share with you my made-up one for sorrel sauce, which is dead easy to whip up, impressive at dinner parties and utterly delicious with salmon, or anything else you care to eat it with (not literally of course: I shouldn't think it would be all that nice with, for example, bananas, and probably tapioca pudding wouldn't benefit from it either).

200g sorrel leaves
15 g butter
100ml cream or creme fraiche

1. Chuck the sorrel leaves in with the butter and cook gently until they are dark and wilted
2. Add the cream a bit at a time and mix in well
3. Serve

And just for good measure, because I'm on a roll and it's that time of year, here's my cover-all for all types of fruit jellies. The only thing that differs depending on the type of fruit you use is the setting time, but you'll be checking that as you go so it won't be a problem. You may also possibly need to chuck in a bit of extra sugar if the fruit is a tart one. 
One bit of kit it's really worth buying for jelly making is a jelly bag on a stand. It makes life a helluva lot easier and they aren't expensive things. Other than that you should have everything you need to make a good jelly in your kitchen already.
If you are a girl, you will probably want to use jam making as an excuse to go out and buy some nice labels for the jars as well as frilly checked hats for the pots to add that authentic "this is homemade country jam" look to your finished product. Because we all wear check in the countryside and dress our jam jars with it constantly.
NB- these jellies make fab pressies but bear in mind they take a few hours to set properly once snug in their jars. You can also splash out on fancy kilner-type jars which are good in that they hold a larger quantity plus the lid is attached so you won't spend ages trying to locate it in the back of the cupboard, as I have been known to do.

1. Any quantity of fruit in a pan half-covered with water and simmered until mushy
2. strain the juice through a jelly bag (recipes say over-night but I just squish mine to speed things up)
3. measure the juice and put it back in a saucepan with the same quantity of sugar (granulated). Eg: if you have 1 pint of juice, add 1 lb of sugar.
4. bring to the boil, add a knob of butter to help prevent scum forming, and test regularly for setting point (carefully because it's bloody hot at this stage and is quite capable of taking the skin off your teeth if you try to taste it). Test for setting point by dipping a teaspoon in and dripping the jelly onto a small plate. Nudge it with your finger and if it crinkles it's ready to pot
6. when ready take off the heat and pour carefully into sterilised jars, sealing immediately with either a screw-top lid or wax discs.
7. Label and either store, give to friends or family, or eat. These jellies work on toast or as an accompaniment to meat dishes.

A word on sterilising. I'll be honest and say I am a bit careless about this. The method I use is to pour boiling water into the jar and lid for a few seconds then heat both in the oven before filling with jelly. At the risk of sounding less-than-concerned-about-adequate (some might say paranoid) sterilisation, I don't often use the oven part, and look! I am still here, and minus any unsightly growths too. The level of concern you attach to sterilisation will depend I suspect on whether or not you are a person who cheerfully skims the mould off the top of jam and eats it (the underlying jam, not the mould, that would be a disgusting and probably daft thing to do), or are someone who takes exact notice of the sell-by dates on food. I'm a mould scraper and an ignorer of sell-by-dates (much to our daughter's horror- she refuses to eat a carrot if it's a day older than the label says it should be) preferring to use instead the long tried and tested sniff and nibble method which has worked for generations and hasn't killed me yet.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you happy jellying, happy ice-creaming, and happy saucing (that last one sounds wrong).

Right, largesse dispensed, on with the Moths.

Cooler again last night (12 degrees) so only 174 moths in the box of 42 different species, and 4 new ones, which were: Cabbage Moth, Light Brown Apple Moth, Chequered Fruit-Tree Tortrix and Apotomis Betuletana (a tiny weeny micro moth with a Very Large White Bottom). Several hornets too, all of whom were alive. I am getting Very Brave (foolhardy?) at handling them, and although I haven't gone quite as far as not using a pot and just doing bare hands (as I would for bees), I did have to have stern words with myself today about the unconcerned and potentially-inviting-a-sting-in-a-cavalier-sort-of-way way I was cheerfully scooping them up and chucking them in the flower bed. Some real beauties in the box (once the hornets were dealt with). Most of them Perfect Specimens so evidently Newly Emerged.

Dagger Moth

Blood Vein 
who sat on my finger and refused to get off. Apologies for the manky-looking nail beneath the pretty wing; a casualty of a bramble bush at the weekend that caught the nail and snagged the skin. Ouch!

 Perfect Brimstone

Gorgeous Frosted Orange
Having never seen one before Sunday, as is the way with moths there are now lots of them around, with three in the box this morning. I am not taking them for granted though and find them absolutely beautiful every time I see one.

A Ruby Tiger who took exception to being moved for her photograph and flounced off underneath the blind, flashing her red knickers as she went. She's hiding in a such a tight spot it's impossible to get her out and she vibrates her wings in warning whenever I try. I think I'll leave her to it, grumpy moo.

 Cheerful (in colour if not facially) Canary Shouldered Thorn

And finally, the Rather Stunning Burnished Brass, who caught the light perfectly for his photo this morning. Autumn colours abound indeed...

Right, I'm off to do various chores and enjoy the sun which I hear is not going to last all that much longer. Rain is forecast here on Friday. The plants and the ponds will be glad of it I'm sure.

Wishing you all a peaceful day, whatever you are up to.

CT :-)


  1. HI CT I can't get over how many oths you have in 1 night. this hibby must take you ages to study and sort out and photograph but I enjoy seeing the wonderful moths when you do.

    1. Hi Margaret :-)

      It used to take hours and hours while I searched books and the internet for ID's, but I've learnt a lot over the summer and am now reasonably good at id'ing (except for the small brown ones which all look the same) so I'm quicker than I used to be!

      I'm glad you enjoy seeing them - such wonderful creatures

  2. More beautiful moths CT, the beautiful Blood Vein and the even more stunning Frosted Orange especially :-)

    Interesting to read your recipes, and I agree with you as regards excessive sterilising of jars, equipment etc. As I and my family make quite a lot of country wines it's more a case of basic sanitation rather than full-on sterilisation as a fully sterile state would actually ruin the wine!

    1. It's a Good Time For Interesting Moths, even if their numbers are falling.

      I'm so pleased you aren't a sterilising fuss-pot either. I'm convinced folk worry too much about dirt, and as you say, there is such a thing as something being too sterile. Be very interested to read a post about your wines- M tried making some a couple of years back, they were absolutely revolting, so he sticks to making beer now with much tastier results :-)

  3. HI CT I have just found out (as promised) about the Darter from a previous post. It is a Common Darter. I copied your photo and sent it to an expert in N. Ireland and he conformed that it is is a Common Darter, not a Ruddy. Hope this helps.

  4. Thank you very kindly for the recipes. It is always good to have a recipe from a tried and tested source, and not follow one from say, a well known television station website and end up being thoroughly disappointed with the results despite following the method very, very, very closely.

    I, too, am a mould scraper and food sniffer! I laugh in the face of use-by dates! I stand, legs akimbo in defiance, at the idea of sell bys! If it looks okay and it smells okay and no one saw me drop it on the floor, then it IS okay!

    1. Crikey! No pressure this end then....

      I knew you'd be a sniffer and a scraper too! By way of reciprocal honesty, I am also of the "if it drops on the floor then blow on it and eat it anyway" school. L did this at a friend's house and the parents needed an injection and a lie down in a darkened room to recover. Oh, how we laughed....

  5. Thanks for the ice cream recipe-I'm going blackberry picking!
    The burnished brass is stunning in that light, it's like a beautiful piece of embroidered silk fabric.
    We once had a cat that could open the fridge...and sausages were often found on the floor with a few teeth marks and slightly licked butter wrapper! We still cooked and ate them...never did us any harm ever....although I can scratch behind my ear with my back leg....ha ha!
    I am also a mould scraper and food sniffer-my house is clean, but all this hysteria about dirt is just crazy-these people will have no immune system!

    1. I once read that dog saliva is actually a good deal healthier than we think it is, which must surely extend to cats? Totally agree about lack of immunity. Too much cleanliness is not a good thing (although I suppose the opposite is true too :-) )

  6. We sterilise our jars with a cycle through the dishwasher. They don't hang around too long anyways, so I rarely have mould to scrape.
    I'd avoid squishing through the jelly bag though, it makes the jelly cloudy.

    1. Interesting about the squishing, never had cloudy jelly here and have always done it :-)

  7. Thanks so much for the recipes CT - collected loads of blackberries from the garden yesterday and made an apple and blackberry crumble - but I will make the icecream - need to go into countryside and forage for more :)

    I used to sterilise the same as you - until last year when making chutney the kilner jar exploded into a thousand pieces as I poured in the boiling water :( So now just wash well and stick in oven low temperature.

    My daughter is the same as yours - she is especially bad at throwing fruit away that is a day past sell by date :(

    Love the moths - so want a Blood Vein (never trapped one) and Ruby Tiger (have had a few of those) are one of my favourites :)

    1. Ooh I'll bare your exploding jar in mind - praps a good wash and a warm in the oven as you say, or a run through the dishwasher as Jessica does would be better.

      I think the food thing must a young lady aversion- L eats food off the floor with a quick blow or a rinse under the tap. I don't think he's even aware of sell by dates :-)

      Blood veins are one of my favourites, so pretty. We get a fair few here but not so many to take them for granted. Fewer Ruby Tigers - they really are an incredibly rich colour :-)

  8. I don't know if my comment worked. My pc has a habit of freezing then deleting what I've written.

    It said...

    If it hadn't turned so cold, I may have tried to convince my ma to help me make that delicious sounding ice cream!

    Also beautiful burnished brass moth! :)

    1. Only got this comment Lou :-)

      You can always make it up and stick it in the freezer- it lasts us months and months (unless everyone eats it first!)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.