Category Archives: Others

Elderberry Vinegar

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Continuing the theme of my recent trips foraging in the woods behind our home, I finally got round to creating my latest flavoured vinegar -Elderberry Vinegar.

Since we began with foraged fruits alone, we have made Sloe Vodka, Blackberry Vinegar, Blackberry and Apple Crumble, Blackberry Brandy and now Elderberry Vinegar.

Elderberries are much tougher that blackberries and therefore the vinegar cannot be cooked in the same way. Instead the elderberries need to be baked in the oven with the vinegar and sugar to extract the most from every berry by allowing them to burst.

Once the vinegar has been bottled, it can be used as a great salad dressing and with cheese too as an alternative to the Blackberry Vinegar.

8ozs of Elderberries
Half pint of white wine vinegar
4ozs caster sugar

1. Place the ingredients in an oven proof dish and cook in the oven for an hour and a half @ 150C (300F).

2. Let the mixture cool and strain the liquid through a sieve before bottling.

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Elderberry on Foodista

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Somerset Cider Apple Cake

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According to my mum, she found this in a old recipe book and as it had cider and apples in it and as my home county is Somerset, she thought it would be appropriate to give me this to share with everyone.

This is one of those cakes that is so delicious and moist that I would choose it any day over most other cakes even though it would appear the most rustic of them all!

It has been around as a big family favourite all my life and I know it will keep being one! Shame she can’t put a few of the small ones in the post to me – writing this blog can be very cruel at times!!!

Ingredients:
1¼ lbs Sultanas
½ Pint medium/sweet Cider
1 lb Caster Sugar
12ozs Butter
4 Standard Eggs
1¼ lbs Plain Flour
1½ lbs Cooking Apples
3 Level teaspoons baking powder
2 Level teaspoons mixed spice or ground coriander

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven

Makes 18 muffins and two 1lb loaf cakes. It is also enough to fill a large roasting tin 30cm x 25cm (12″ x10″). Grease and line the tins.

1 Place sultanas in a basin and cover with the cider, leave in a cool place overnight until the sultanas are plump and have absorbed most of the cider.

2 Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add beaten eggs gradually.

3 Add sifted flour, baking powder and spices, the mixture will seem stiff at this stage.

4 Add chopped apples (these can be the size of your choosing but should not be too big), sultanas and any remaining cider, and mix thoroughly.

5 Put mixture into prepared tin/tins and bake in centre of oven.

The muffins take 20/25 minutes. The loaf tins will take 40/45 minutes and the large roasting tin 1¼ to 1½ hours. Test with a skewer to make sure the middle is cooked.

Tip: If the top of the cakes are browning too quickly, place a piece of greaseproof paper lightly on the top and continue cooking until they are done.

When cooked the cake should spring back and have begun to shrink from sides of tin. Leave to cool in the tins.

NB Somerset Cider Apple Cake can be eaten hot, as a pudding, with cream or custard, stored in a tin for up to 1 week and freezes well.

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Apples on Foodista

Blackberry and Apple Crumble (Gluten Free)

First read… Proof is in the pudding…

8ozs Blackberries
1 large cooking apple
1 tabelspoon caster sugar for the fruit
4ozs Gluten free flour
2ozs Stork/Cooking margarine
3 tabelspoons demerara sugar
Oats for the topping

Use a pre greased oven proof dish for best results.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.

1 Cut the apple into bitesize chunks and place in a non stick saucepan along with the blackberries. Add some boiling water and the tablespoon of caster sugar and heat until the apples are soft but have some bite.

2 While thats cooking, mix the flour and cooking margarine in a mixing bowl and sift it through your fingers until it resembles a breadcrumb consistency.

3 Add the 2 tablespoons of demarara sugar to the pasty mix and stir in well.

4 Place the warmed fruit into the greased oven proof dish and cover with the pastry mix.

5 Level the pastry mix with a fork and add a tablespoon of demarara sugar to the topping.

6 Finally add some oats over the top of the dish. Most coeliacs are not allergic to oats if they are not eaten everyday (Source: Coeliacs Society).

7 Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 mins or till the topping is golden brown.

Serve with either cream or custard.

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Blackberry on Foodista

Blackberry Vinegar

First read… Urban foraging

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12ozs of Blackberries
Quarter teaspoon of peppercorns
1 Cinnamon Stick
Half pint of white wine vinegar
6ozs caster sugar

Bring all the ingredients to the boil gently and then pour them though a strainer.

Add the cooled vinegar to a vinagrette bottle and use as a dressing over salads etc.

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Blackberry on Foodista

Urban Foraging

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When I was younger, the idea of being dragged out for the afternoon fruit picking with the family was as much fun as going to the dentist. But recently, with the advent of TV shows like River Cottage, ‘foraging/fruit picking’ has become a growing trend, which I got suprisingly hooked by when going for a walk this afternoon (saturday) in the woods behind our home.

We started to notice bush upon bush of untouched blackberries within a few minutes of our walk, so abrubtly turned round, picked up a container and went back to start filling it. Within only a few minutes, we had collected just under a pound of blackberries and were already deciding what to do with them.

When we got back home we decided that we would try to make three things from them all:

Blackberry and Apple Crumble (Gluten Free)
Blackberry Compote
Blackberry Vinegar

the last two being more of mum’s suggestions and recipes. Over the next few days I will add the recipes on here, once I have tried them out.

Now I realise why we were dragged around picking fruit as children, as you cannot find fruit this fresh in your local supermarket!

On the walk home, we also noticed bushes of sloes and elderberries, so if tomorrow is fine weather, I think another walk is in order. Already have some ideas as to what to do with them!

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Blackberry on Foodista