My early mornings are spent walking through the seasons by the sea. I love late summer early autumn watching the brambles flower and then as if by magic the fruit appears. Beautifully tart, soft berries growing in abundance in the hedgerows.
I think of days spent as a child gathering blackberries in the warm summer sunshine, and now as a parent with my own children, returning home triumphantly with our pickings.
Preserves, pies, jellies, crumbles, compotes - pick blackberries while you can. If you pick more than you need they freeze beautifully.
A firm favourite of mine deliciously comforting and evokes wonderful memories of cooking with my mother as a child.
The zest and juice of one orange
120g/4oz plain flour
2 tbsp demerara sugar
120/4oz unsalted butter, cold
Heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.
Put the blackberries, orange zest and juice into a bowl and gently mix together. Spoon into an ovenproof dish.
In a separate bowl, sieve the flour and add the sugar, stir together to combine.
Cut the butter into little cubes, add to the flour sugar mixture and crumble.
Sprinkle the mix over the blackberries and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the berries are bursting around the sides and the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Use 300g blackberries to 300g caster sugar. Pick over the berries and give them a quick rinse under a cold tap. Pour over the sugar and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for five minutes or so until the blackberries have softened. decant into a bowl and allow to cool.
Delicious served with my panna cotta recipe, pancakes or a dollop on top of plain yoghurt.