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
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.
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!
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.