Under a Gooseberry Bush . . . .


We moved into our house 10 years ago this month and the following Valentine’s Day my husband bought me a fairly unusual gift – a gooseberry bush! We planted it in the garden together – and it has rewarded us ever since!  This weekend I picked 20lb of fruit from this one plant!  Covered in scratches from the sharp thorns (and watched by the hens who sat in its shade), they are all now either in my freezer, stewed and in the fridge to eat with yogurt or porridge (don’t knock it till you’ve tried!) for breakfast, some made into the two recipes below – and a few bagfuls to take to my friend today in exchange for blackcurrants.

Gooseberries are low in calories, fat and cholesterol FREE and rich in Vitamins A and C.  They can also be used in savoury dishes to make a sauce for mackerel and duck, cutting through their fattiness.

Gooseberry Shortcake (this will obviously make more than one portion but cut into slices and freeze and it will defrost beautifully whenever you want a taste of green sunshine!)

  •  150g unsalted butter
  •  75g caster sugar
  •  150g self-raising flour
  •  75g cornflour
  •  250g fresh gooseberries
  •  25g walnuts
  •  25g demerara sugar

Put the oven on at 180oC. Line the a tin with baking parchment (or a butter wrapper as I do), leaving an overhang at each side to help removal of the shortcake. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and cornflour together and gradually add to the butter mixture. Knead until it comes together, then turn onto the worktop and knead for a further minute. Spread 2/3 of this mixture over the base of the tin, using your hands. Smooth over with the back of a spoon. Cover the dough with the gooseberries. Add the walnuts and demerara sugar to the remaining 1/3 of the mixture and knead well. Gently spread this over the gooseberries and smooth out. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out. Dust the shortcake with icing sugar.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Ice cream

  • 950g (2lb 2oz) gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 6tbsp (90ml) elderflower cordial (you could use the one we made last week)
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 600ml (1pt) double cream

In a heavy-based saucepan, gently simmer the gooseberries in the elderflower cordial and lemon zest until very soft and pulpy. Remove from the heat, push the fruit through a sieve and leave to cool thoroughly. Lightly whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and fold through the gooseberry and elderflower purée. Pour into a large plastic container and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Serve with the shortcake for a total gooseberry experience!



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