From Garden to Plate – Gooseberries

Gooseberries are relatively easy to grow, as it grows in most soil types and doesn’t need too much tending to. Ours has been here few years and even with my previous lack of gardening skills and/or effort, it always produced lots of berries each season but recently, I learnt that it is best to thin out about half the crop before the berries ripen as it will make the ones that are left on the plant much sweeter and bigger later in the season, so off i went this morning to do an early harvest. IMG_9397 The berries are at this point are still a bit hard and very tart, so not great for eating raw yet but great for cooking apparently. Apart from some Gooseberry compote for breakfast, I also managed to get just enough of  gooseberries to make with the kids an amazing Gooseberry Honey Cake that i saw in The Simple Things Magazine recently.  It is very simple but so delicious. While the cake was baking, I made myself a delicious  salad for lunch, using some of the compote that I had left. It has been a Gooseberry kind of day, to say the least ! Hard to resist going out there to pick some more but I guess i better leave at least some to ripen.

Gooseberry Compote

  • 1 lb/450g gooseberries, top and tailed
  • 1oz/ 28g fine/caster sugar or honey
  • A splash of Elderflower Cordial (optional)

– Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. – Scatter the gooseberries on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake until tender – 20 – 30 minutes. IMG_9425 – Tip the gooseberries into a bowl and squash gently with a fork to break up the fruit and release the juice. IMG_9428 – Taste to check sweetness and add more sugar if required, this is personal preference, or depends on the end use. – Add Elderflower cordial if using. IMG_9439 – Serve with Greek Yoghurt for a great snack or breakfast, with some home made granola. Also delicious with Cheeses. Options: Use blender, food processor and sieve to create a smoother compote. Gooseberry and honey cake

  • 100g washed, topped and tailed Gooseberries
  • 225g soft butter
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 4tbsp honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • zest of one lemon

– Heat oven to 170C/Fan 150/325 F – Line base of 20cm cake tin with parchment paper – Put all ingredients, apart from Gooseberries in large bowl and mix together with either food processor or electric mixer, until mixture is fluffy and light. – Fold in gooseberries until they are well distributed. – Smooth mixture into the tin and bake on middle to low shelf for about one hour. – Test to see if cake is ready, using a skewer. – Let cake rest for 10 minutes before taking out to cool on rack. – Serve with Greek Yoghurt and honey or perhaps some Elderflower cream. – Decorate with fresh Elderflowers. Gooseberry and Honey Cake PS. The cake got a bit burned, as I forgot to adjust the cooking time according to AGA instructions but still tasted very nice.  In an AGA, cakes tend to cook a little quicker. Enjoy ! Spicy Gooseberry Dressing

  • 3tbsp of Gooseberry Compote ( or boil and reduce 100g of trimmed gooseberries and 2 tbsp of golden caster sugar)
  • 1 long, hot red chilli, shredded
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Put it all in a jar with lid. Shake for a couple of minutes. Done. Deliciously fresh and spicy. A few other recipes I am hoping to try when i get my next harvest. Gooseberry Crumble Goose Berry Ice Cream  English Gooseberry Cobbler

Credits: The Simple Things, BBC Good Food, Delia Online

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