Or as I have christened it… Nombleberry Tart! Yes, it is the very thing I love the most about autumn… even more than the crisp air, the time to get the woodburner going, the beautiful Cotswold colours, the snuggly jumpers and the potential of a new academic year… (and these are some of my favourite things in the world!). It is the best season for … you guessed it … foraging.
So sad as I was to leave La Rochelle again after a week spent with my best friends there & favourite cafés, stuffing down as many patisserie delights & croissants as I could within 5 days, I was excited to go on my first dog-walk at home armed with wellies, plastic tubs & shopping bags… ready to be filled with autumn’s delights.
My mum & I think that maybe people just don’t know that there are things that grow in the fields that you can eat! My tummy says that perhaps it’s a yummy secret best kept that way! But it would be cruel of me not to give you a little shove in the right direction.
Here’s a little mini field-guide:
Blackberries… now most people can spot these! Choose the darkest, biggest ones which fall from the stem when you pick them. My favourite fruit in the world… and you can find them all over the place!
Elderberries… these are less well-known and the season is nearly over. So get out there now and pick them!! I’ll give you a few hints as to what you can make on the blog!
All of these fruits were found about half a mile from my back gate. And now… what to make them into? Well I made two things. Firstly, and you can’t go wrong with this… jam!
Easy homemade jam recipe (no thermometers needed!):
Put a saucer in the fridge (you’ll see why later!) Take a bowl of your picked fruits (I used elderberries, blackberries & plums) – mine came to about 275g with equal weights of each fruit. Put it in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan & add the same amount of sugar (i.e. 275g in this case). I used ‘preserving sugar’ – it has added pectin for your fruits to set well.
Bring to the boil, and bubble away for 3-5 minutes. When you think it’s nearly done (don’t overcook and make your fruit tasted burnt!) get a teaspoon and put a drop onto the cold saucer from the fridge. If within about 30 seconds it forms a skin/becomes thick and, well, jam-like… then you’re done. Pour the jam carefully into sterilised jam jars & seal.
Bakewell lined with homemade foraged fruit jam/filled with bakewell mixture
400g butter, 400g caster sugar, Juice & zest 1 lemon – blend all of these together thoroughly until light & fluffy. Add 2 large eggs & 1/2 tsp almond extract & whizz together until you have a smooth paste. Finally, carefully fold in 50g white breadcrumbs and 100g ground almonds by hand.