From the jaws of defeat comes ice cream….

Bramble curd ice cream

I know – why am I blogging about ice cream when I’ve just dug my woolly tights out for the first time this autumn? But there is a very good reason. Honest….

We are at the height of bramble season and this year has been one of the best for a while. LSH is continuing with his brambling expeditions and is bringing home tubs of them.(I think it’s his inner hunter/ gatherer coming out). Some are stashed in the freezer waiting for my apples to ripen. Others are fermenting in a large jar of gin. Some were turned into a soft squidgy bramble cake. But this batch I decided to turn into curd.
Bramble curd
I was happily stirring my bramble and egg mix when I suddenly realised I’d failed to add the sugar or butter! I frantically mixed, seived and heated but in my panic I’d added too much sugar and whilst the result was a beautiful dark purple colour with a good consistency it was far too sweet and any hint of bramble was just overpowered by it.

Then I had a flash of inspiration ice cream! That needs to be sweeter in order to offset the cold – I just wouldn’t need to add any extra sugar to the mix. I needed to add yoghurt (to offset the sweetness) and cream and it might just be saved.

So that’s what I did . To my 230g of bramble curd I added 200g of Greek yoghurt and 130g of double cream.

I beat them together in a bowl until well mixed. Then I poured it into an ice cream maker and churned until frozen.

Curd and ice cream

What I ended up with was a beautiful pastel lilac colour ice cream. The cream and yoghurt cut through the sweetness wonderfully leaving a light blackberry flavour. Not quite seasonal but I can always serve it with a slice of hot apple pie.

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Redcurrant Shrub and other things

Redcurrant shrub bottled

The LSH and I have been brambling, risking life and limb climbing through overgrown hedgerows in search of the elusive blackberry. They are everywhere but the best fruits are hidden in the depths of prickly bushes and vicious nettles. By the time we return with our hoard, we are stained with scarlet juices and bearing scars.

But what to do with them – I have enough jam to last til the next season. Blackberry curd is an option as is freezing them til my bramleys are ready to turn into crumble. However, worryingly, my thoughts are turning to gin…..(clearly this blog is turning me into a cake making lush!)

bramble gin

I already have some rather potent plum brandy from last year but I’m in a “booze producing” mood. Pip and Little Blue posted a raspberry gin recipe recently and I feel it’s wild cousin will lend itself to a similar treatment. So I’ve put some of them into a large jar with remains of a bottle of Gordens and some caster sugar.

But already maturing in the cupboard is the last member of my redcurrant preserve family. After jelly and curd comes something that the River Cottage Preserves book calls Shrub aka Redcurrant brandy.

If you are keen to get into preserve making I can heartily recommend this and you’ll find this recipe amongst many others. Follow the redcurrant curd recipe to get your redcurrant juice ( You can force this through a sieve if you want). For 300ml of juice, add 600ml of brandy and pour into a bottle or large jar. Leave for a week. Put the liquid into a pan with 300g of sugar and heat to about 60C when all the sugar should be dissolved. Pour back into a sterilised bottle. Now for the difficult bit – leave for a few months to mature and voila – a splash of warming summer fruits to see you through the cold winter months.

Roses

Rose kelly -gj

And finally an update on my rose jelly – the photo on the left is my Gertrude Jekyll rose in full bloom. It’s on it’s second flush and I’ve made some more rose jelly but just from this rose (pictured right). As you can see its come out a slightly more peachy tone than my earlier batch that also had a much darker bloom added to the mix. My white roses may be the next ones I try – it will be interesting to see what colour that goes.