Our home is lovingly known as 'Blackberry Farm' and I can just get away with sharing this recipe, the sun is out, autumn is here, and the blackberries are still on the brambles. The very mention of the name, ‘blackberry’ conjures up nostalgic childhood memories of foraging around and through hedgerows in search of black, squishy, treasure. The event itself always seemed to herald the end of summer and nature's consolation prize were these purple gems.
I adore ice cream and with my new fancy ‘ice cream maker’ we have been experimenting in a major way. So far I have made all sorts, and aside from the blackberry, the most memorable being, the naughtiest, most intense chocolate I have ever had the pleasure to eat – thanks to the wonderful ‘Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream’ recipe book. Chocolate I can talk about any time, but blackberry definitely has a season so here is the recipe for any die-hard, blackberry foraging ice cream fans!
Blackberry Ice Cream
1 cup double cream
1 cup whole organic milk
½ cup of sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks – whisked together
250g of blackberry puree
1. Heat the cream and milk and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a large sauce pan. Just when it is coming up to the boil take it straight off.
2. Whisk the remaining sugar and egg yolks together and very slowly add in the hot cream and milk mix, whisking all the time.
3. Put the custard back on to the heat and stir until the custard thickens. Watch it like a hawk as you don’t want scrambled eggs! Remove the custard when it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Leave to cool.
4. Meanwhile make the blackberry puree by blending the fruit and passing through a sieve. Sorry, no fast way around this!
5. When the custard has cooled add the sour cream and blackberry puree and stir well together. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
6. Now pour into your ice cream machine and churn until it resembles a soft scoop. Remove and pop in the freezer or eat immediately!
I highly recommend the ‘Cuisineart Gelato and Ice Cream Professional Maker’ - it is amazing. No freezing bowls in the freezer, it has a built-in freezer and can make up to 1.5 litres of ice cream at any one time – that’s quite a lot of ice cream.
For those with less of a sweet tooth here is an easy, seasonal salad that can be created in minutes with virtually no cooking required! For me ‘beetroot and goats cheese’ is a heavenly combination. Coupled with some garden ripe tomatoes and a handful of fresh herbs, make this salad magical by using a variety of different beetroot. For the first year ever my golden and choggia (the pink candy striped one) beetroot have outgrown the classic red ‘bolthardy’ variety, I have had so much I have been giving it away. I urge you to try this also with burrata instead of goats cheese and some white balsamic vinegar - it's divine!
Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad
Serves 4 as a starter
1kg (or just over) of golden, red and choggia beetroot – ideally apple sized!
250g of garden tomatoes
100g (or more if you are cheese fan) of fresh goats cheese
1 handful of fresh oregano
Olive oil and freshly ground black pepper
A few small uncooked beetroot for shaving over the salad to finish!
1. Cook the beetroot – well here’s the dilemma – roast or boil? Boiling is easy and what is more, the skins slip off instantly. Roast, and the beetroot are sweeter and more intense, but because the skin blisters, peeling becomes a little (and only a little) more time-consuming. Your choice! Roasting does take longer so allow for this, about 1 hour – sometimes more, but obviously this depends on the size of your beetroot. If boiling, it normally takes about 40 minutes, slip a knife into the middle and it should come out easily – but still have a little bite as such! Let the beetroot cool completely before peeling them.
2. Halve and quarter the tomatoes depending on their size. Likewise cut the beetroot into 1 inch cubes. Crumble the goats cheese over the tomatoes and beetroot.
3. Now sprinkle the fresh oregano over the salad along with a good slug of olive oil and a good pinch of Maldon sea salt and grind of black pepper.
4. Lastly if you have a few very small beetroot, leave them raw and slice them extremely finely, ideally on a mandolin over the salad.
Sit back and enjoy – a wonderful, colourful, seasonal and healthy salad.