Words Lisa Valder Photographs Lisa Valder and stock images
Summer provides us with an abundance of soft fruit and berries. We can already see first crops of gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries in our gardens, followed soon by currants and blackberries.
Of course much soft fruit is available in shops and supermarkets all year round, and not everybody is lucky enough to be able to grow fruit in their own garden. However, produce that is in season is fresher, healthier and tastes best.
Below are three favourite recipes involving seasonal soft fruit.
450g (1lb) mixed berries (raspberries, redcurrants*, strawberries, blackberries etc)
450g (1lb) white granulated sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
In a preserving pan, mix together the berries and sugar, then stir in the lemon juice. Warm the mixture over a low heat, stirring gently, until the sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Cook at a full rolling boil for 3-5 minutes until the jam reaches setting point.
Pot into hot sterilised jars, seal, and label
(*Using redcurrants, which contain a lot of pectin, helps the jam to set)
BABY SPINACH AND SUMMER BERRY SALAD
1 tbsp white wine or fruit vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, finely slices
100g flaked almonds
225g firm log goats cheese
150-200g baby leaf spinach
225g summer berries
In a salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Stir in the onion and set the bowl to one side.
Put the flaked almonds into a dry saucepan, stir over a medium heat for a few minutes until they turn golden, then tip them out on to a plate and leave to cool
Cut the goats cheese into bite-size pieces, put them on a grill pan and heat under a hot grill until browned.
Stir the spinach, berries and nuts into the salad bowl, top with the hot cheese and serve at once.
(You can substitute the almonds with walnuts or seeds, just make sure to roast them for that extra flavour)
GOOSEBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER NO-CHURN ICE CREAM
50g golden caster sugar
2 tsp elderflower cordial
600ml whipping cream
200g condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g ginger nut biscuits, roughly crushed
Put the gooseberries and sugar in a medium saucepan, set over a medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and gooseberries have released some liquid. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 6-7 minutes until thickened and the gooseberries are just holding their shape. Stir in the cordial, then transfer to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool completely.
Whisk the cream, condensed milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl until just forming soft peaks. Swirl in the cool gooseberry mixture, then transfer to a 1.5 its freezer-proof container and allow to freeze solid.
Leave to soften at room temperature for 15 minutes (returning any unused to the freezer quickly) before serving with crushed ginger biscuits.