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FOOD: Gooseberry and elderflower fool

Go on – be a fool…

Food and Wine
Redmont Cabot

Dear friends, ever made a fool…? This ripe time of summer season means the most delicious fruits are at our fingertips. The best fruits are luscious, ripe, sweet, juicy, tasty and have not travelled too far. In summer, a fruit fool can be eaten as dessert for either lunch or dinner. As a food it is fresh, clean, positive and nutritional; like all the best things in life (swimming, Guinness, growing, giving, loving…)
Reconnect with the delight of simply cutting ripe fruit into a bowl and letting the juices mix up, eating simply with yogurt or ice-cream and watching the colours swirl around in your bowl…
On no account ruin this simple pleasure of life with fruit contaminated with pesticides or fruits robbed of their natural sugar goodness by long storage. Insist on organic fruits at your local shop when possible at a good price. Ensure your shop is selling good fruits that are not over-ripe or under-ripe. Remember, you don’t expect people to put up with second best, and neither should you!
Fruit has great nutritional value. Protein, fibre, sugars, vitamins and minerals. Freshly picked fruit in its natural state is the most nutritious; most fruits quickly begin to lose nutritional value once picked.

Sweet goodness
Fruit possesses all of the nutrients that the body needs in order to stay healthy – water (a joint lubricant and needed for body-temperature control), proteins, fibre, sugars (commercial sugars are simple carbohydrates and can endanger the balance of the system; natural sugars are complex carbohydrates that the body must have to operate efficiently), essential minerals and a range of vitamins.
Fruit is so good for you that some people go so far as to become fruitarians. Yes, you heard right, fruitarians. Fruitarianism is a nutritional system and a life style based on a diet of of raw fruit and seeds ONLY! Hilarious stuff… Don’t you just love the variety of life? Fruitarianism may be overboard, but like most things, perhaps there are some grains of truth in it.

Simple pleasures
Making a fruit fool is one of summer’s simple joys. It is a great recipe to make with kids and I recommend you trying this with some young ones. In essence you are mixing fruit with cream and some extra sugar for sweetness. Yum.
Why not try a great northern European fruit, gooseberries, and add a local twist with elderflower, which can be seen all over the hedgerows around Mayo.
Gooseberry and elderflower fool
225g/8oz gooseberries top and tailed.
600ml/1 pint cream
30-45ml/elderflower cordial
Caster sugar, to taste

>  Place the gooseberries in pan with 50ml/2fl oz water and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the gooseberries have turned to a thick, chunky purée. Remove from the heat and cool.
>  Whisk the cream until softly whipped and light and fluffy.
>  Place the gooseberry purée in a bowl, add the whipped cream and fold in, then add elderflower cordial to taste.
>  Spoon the fool into glasses and serve straight away.
>  Add caster sugar if necessary to taste.

As an extra, you can add meringues and whipped egg white. Whip two egg whites and add two meringues crushed. Fold in to the mix before spooning out.

Red’s tipple
As a wine to complement this you have a choice: a lighter, more steely sauvignon blanc to have with daytime fools, or a bigger, rounder and fatter, oaked chardonnay to go with a heavier evening meal. I’d go for the refreshing ‘Organic Blanco’, a white wine from La Manche region, Spain. It’s made with the local Airen grape. Available from Market 57, Bridge Street, Westport for €12.99.