Food for free – what’s not to love? Foraging is one of life’s great pleasures and now we live in rural France, I’ve been taking full advantage of the numerous hedgerows. When we first arrived in June, there were elderflowers to gather and cordial to make. For the recipe, see here.
Throughout the summer, we enjoyed wild mint in salads, raitas and cous cous.
But now autumn is on our doorstep it’s blackberry and rosehip time…
*disclaimer – the flowers are merely a bit of added pretty, I have no idea whether they are in fact suitable for use as a garnish.
One of my earliest memories is pilfering wild strawberries from the garden before school. The plants were concealed, nestled under bushes and, being only little, I had the advantage when it came to spotting these tiny jewel-like berries.
A flash of red, a darting hand, a burst of sweet, nectar-like pulp on the tongue and then it melted away; the juicy rush all too quickly replaced by the dry, resinous scent of pencil sharpenings and the growing anxiety as morning break approached and the dreaded carton of lukewarm milk loomed.
Today, my dad may have a different garden but I am still the littlest—all the better for tracking down a smultronstallet…
Remember my homemade Elderflower Cordial? I’ve mostly just been drinking it thus far, but as my original intention was to use it to cook with, I thought I’d better get a move on before it’s all gone. The weekend provided the perfect opportunity: gooseberries have made it to the market stall and they are cheap as chips right now.
I’ve always loved gooseberries; when I was a little girl I used them in my many potions (I was always a witch rather than a fairy). Their uncanny resemblance to eyeballs or frogspawn, not to mention the alluring green colour makes them particularly suitable for witch’s brews.
This is a decidedly more grown up potion (and edible to boot), but you still get to boil them up and squish them about… And don’t let anyone stop you from chanting ‘double, double, toil and trouble / Fire burn and cauldron bubble’ as you stir away.
1 punnet of gooseberries
1/2 bottle elderflower cordial
Top and tail the gooseberries and chuck them into a saucepan with the elderflower cordial. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gooseberries disintegrate.
Pass the mixture through a sieve and decant the liquid into a container. Allow to cool, then pop in the freezer. Check on it every couple of hours and give it a stir to break up the crystals so it freezes evenly.
Enjoy as a zingy palate cleanser or light and virtuous pudding (best not to tell anyone about the witch bit though, tends to put people off).