Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Gooseberries are really out of fashion!
Friends pass by my bushes and exclaim 'what's that?' to my sheer consternation. Doesn't anybody remember the gooseberry years?
For me at least, my childhood summer fruit was the gooseberry. I have memories of this rather sour and sometimes hairy fruit lasting through the early summer months. I think they grow better up north and therefore have a better reputation there, as when I respond to my french friends 'thats a groseillier à macquereaux' they look perplexed and confused.

Its true that the goosegog likes a lot more shade than I can provide down here but I've found a perfect spot for the bushes under the Indian Lilac where the evening sun just dapples light on them and they seem to be content as they are giving me heaps of scrumptious fruit.
Before using the fruit in crumbles and tarts, they need to be topped and tailed which takes time, energy and enthusiasm but once ready there is little to do but eat them raw or make relish!

Elderflower, Ginger and Gooseberry Relish

knob of ginger - peeled
1tsp mustard seeds
400g gooseberries (topped and tailed)
80g cane sugar
80ml elderflower cordial

Tip the cordial, sugar, mustard seeds and gooseberries into a heavy based saucepan.  Grate the ginger into the pot. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 1 hour. 
Take off the heat and pour into a jar and leave to cool. It will keep for two weeks in the fridge. Serve with roast pork or a nice oily fish.

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