I’m staying for a few days with my sister in Lincolnshire, with its big skies and open landscapes, and the weather at last is gloriously summery.
On Friday night we toured the garden, and noticed that the red-currants were ripe. So on Saturday morning, before it was too hot, I went out with my nephew Jay, to pick them. We waded into the dense, waist-high foliage, and pushing down into the bushes we found clumps of red currants hanging like precious jewels, hidden beneath the leaves. Our arms were scratched by the long brambles that entangled the bushes, and our hands became sticky with ruby-red juice, as we ripped the fruit from the branches. We also found a few early gooseberries, some small raspberries, and then stripped the last remaining white-currants that had been left by the birds. As the sun became hotter we retreated to the cool of the house, and spent the next hour or so removing stalks and strange insects from the fruit.
One of my favourite summer puddings is a traditionally British ‘Summer Pudding’! So we cooked up some of the more squishy fruit, with left-over blackberries and black-currants from last year, that we had found in the freezer. Summer Pudding sounds complicated to make, but it really isn’t!
About 2lb/1kg mixed berries, eg blackberries, red/white/black-currants, raspberries, strawberries, (you can also use a little plum or apple to bulk it up)
Sugar to taste – we used about 4oz/100g
Slices of white bread, crusts removed
1. Gently cook fruit and sugar for about 10 minutes, so fruit retains its shape. Allow to cool a little.
2. Wipe olive oil round a 1 litre/2 pint pudding basin, and line with bread, cutting it to fit snuggly.
3. Carefully fill the bread lined basin with fruit, using a slotted spoon. Cover with more bread, and trim the edges. Retain left over juice for later.
4. Place an upside-down saucer on top, and weight with cans or a bag of sugar. Cool over night in the fridge.
5. Ease a flat-bladed knife all the way around the edge of the basin as far down as you can. Then carefully turn the pudding out. If any bread is still white, spoon juice over. Serve with single cream, creme fraiche, or greek yogurt.