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Saturday, 4 October 2014


Much as I love Summer, the end of it heralds some great foraging.
Last week we picked a couple bushels of apples. I am going to peel, and cook them this weekend, and use them to freeze for sponges. I will include the sponge topping recipe at the end.
We also found lots of juicy blackberries, which I also made into bramble jelly/jam. It is quite simple to do, just wash them, and weigh them, and add just under the same quantity of sugar to a saucepan, with a little lemon juice. Boil for around 7-10 minutes, and leave to cool. It should set nicely.
Yesterday, we found some sweet chestnuts. There were also some conkers thrown in though, but it is easy enough to tell the difference.
Here is the horse chestnut, which as you can see has less spikes, and different shaped leaves...

The sweet chestnut, which I think sometimes looks like a furry animal! Well, the outer casing does, anyway.....

(pictures courtesy of woodland trust)
Here are some of us picking them...(Good idea to use gloves)

Oh, and I almost forgot about picking Bilberries/wynberries in Wales. They are like a smaller and sweeter version of blueberry. Taste lovely with a sponge on top, and the best organic icecream you can buy!

Interesting, as we spotted just two bushes in Sherwood Forest, the last ones left.

Here is the sponge recipe, to go on top of fruit. This serves six, so double, or triple, as needed.
Marg/butter, selfraising flour (I use some wholegrain, too) sugar, eggs, milk.
Cream 4 ounces marg with a little sugar (maybe 2-3 TBS)
Add 2 beaten eggs
Fold in the 6 ounces of self raising flour.
Mix, and add a couple TBS of milk. Add some vanilla if you like.
Spread evenly over your fruit mix, so it is on top.
Bake at 200 c for around 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes clean.
Enjoy with ice cream, or custard!

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