Berry beautiful


SUMMER IN A CUP  Blackcurrant fools are simple desserts and real crowd pleasers. Pic: Mountain Girls Farm


Redmond Cabot

On Sunday I saw a beautiful, unexpected thing. After weeks of rain there was sunlight. I opened my eyes that sunny morning, and from bed looked towards open window. A tiny bird’s head poked in, maybe a blue tit; it perched on the top of the Roman blind, looked around and quickly sang. Then flew back out.
There is a tangle down the end of our garden. Many years ago, we planted a red currant, a white currant, a black currant bush and raspberry canes there. They are becoming a jungle.  We don’t police the area or use fruit nets, we just forget the place exists.
On Saturday, we passed by and discovered an abundance of blackcurrants. “Cannonballs!” shouted a joyful Louis, aged four, stuffing them  into his mouth. They were huge and ripe, bursting with a bitter sweetness that trumps his favourite supermarket blackcurrant cordials. All the red and white currants were gone, eaten, the children hope, by birds like the tweety who poked its head into the bedroom.
The raspberry canes have wrapped their vines around a hazel tree – for now most are hard and bitter, but from now on the kids are on daily raspberry watch.

A berry in the hand
For some reason, the birds don’t seem so keen on the black currants. Fair game for us, then. My mother-in-law, Mary-Jo, makes delicious blackcurrant jam for us from her bushes each year. They are one of the best tastes of summer, smeared on scones with cream on top. They are good now. Amazing in December when you forget summer ever existed.
Today, for Sunday breakfast we had American-style pancakes with shop-bought blueberries (scrumptious) and lashings of maple syrup – next weekend we’ll have a go at the same, but this time with our own blackcurrants.

Blackcurrant Fool

What you need

  • 450g blackcurrants
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150ml full-fat Greek-style yogurt

What you do
Wash the blackcurrants and simmer in a heavy bottomed pan with 150g caster sugar and one tablespoon of water for around ten minutes, ’til the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is soft.
Sieve the fruit to remove all the stalks and woody parts, and cool for ten to 15 minutes.
Whisk the cream, slowly adding the yogurt as you go, then stir the blackcurrants into the cream mix.
Spoon into glasses or dainty cups, and pretty up each one with whole blackcurrants and/or mint leaves, or whatever you have to hand.
Cool in the fridge for ten or 15 minutes then serve. Perfect to enjoy on a summer day!

Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.