Last Drool before School

Blackberries

I was sitting at my desk at home yesterday, trying to send a few emails, get some inspiration by playing music while staring through the sash window at the swaying Crocosmia. My attention got caught when I noticed a little blue box, containing some neatly sharpened coloured pencils my nieces and nephews enjoy drawing with. As I was bored, I stuck my nose in it, expecting a flash back memory that didn’t disappoint; back to school and my pencil case, the last week of bliss before being sent to the pillory. As a form of acceptance, the last few days of freedom were quite pleasant, mostly foraging blackberries, with our neighbours and friends. The pain of lacerated limbs was soon to be healed and forgotten by my mother’s legendary “slurpy special” , straight from the pot, soon to be devoured by a small army of stained faces; the last meal for the condemned scallywags we were. As I was trying to reconnect with these delicious berries, nature sometimes gives so generously, I imagined them as a savoury ingredient, definitely with fresh goat’s cheese, a great companion to a pork filet roast … But I had another plan this time!

Pencil case

A friend of mine, organic grower from another local Meath townland gave me some fresh raspberries and apples; mine are still a bit green. What I have though, is a field at the back of the house full of blackberries and my first crop of Aronia berries, I planted last year, a taste between a blackcurrant and a blueberry if you wish with a lovely zing. Not as tart as sloe berries, we used to eat as a dare and it felt like your whole mouth was shrinking from the inside!

Mixed berries and apples

When we were good, or rather when she felt like it, my mother used to make this lovely apple cake, moist and delicious; she used to let it cool on the window seal of the kitchen of the old school we used to live in… Well, above the school. Since she was a teacher that was handy! I realised that the recipe leaves the door open to a lot more things than apples. All the fruits of my local foraging were going to go in. The recipe includes 200g of flour, I did twist things a little and put 150g of organic white and 50g of organic buckwheat flour… For extra nuttiness…

Cake and Tea

This recipe is a great little number. Its simple frame will allow you to have a bit of fun. Berries, Apples and also quince paste, which makes it an amazing surprise with a good Irish Blue cheese! I have posted the recipe in the “recipe” area of the blog (dah…), my Mum would be pleased to share this one with everybody, the same way my “compadres” broke bread and shared her blackberry jam by the side of the road… Before heading back to the classroom benches!

 

 

Foraging Cake

This lovely recipe is initially my Mother’s famous apple cake recipe; I have twisted it a bit a couple of times but the main frame remains the same. You just have to replace (or reduce) the amount of apples and replace or add some of your favourite berries. Here it goes:

You’ll need:

  • 150g of organic white flour
  • 50g of organic buckwheat flour (or just 200g of white)
  • 200g of salted butter (I prefer)
  • 200g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs (or 4 medium/small)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder/ soda
  • 4-5 apples

How to:

  • Mix the two flours in a bowl with the baking powder
  • Beat the eggs with the sugar
  • In a pan, gently melt the butter and cool a bit
  • Pour the eggs and sugar mix over the flour and keep whisking gently
  • Then do the same with the butter… Easy now.
  • Put in your peeled and chopped apples (Or berries, or quince paste…)
  • Bake in a floured and buttered tin at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes
  • Check with a skewer before cooling that it is cooked through. If not, leave it a bit longer!

Some examples…

Mixed berries and apple cake

Mixed Berries Cake

Apple and Quince Cake served with Bellingham Blue

Apple and Quince cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!