I was sitting by the window at Cranks Kitchen in Dartington with Tin and Thyme on Friday, celebrating National Vegetarian Week with a slice of Homity Pie, when I spied that most exciting of late Spring things – the first elderflower! Of course, once you’ve seen one you notice them everywhere and, as I meandered back from Birmingham on Saturday (such a flibbertigibbet) I saw them in the hedgerows of Somerset too – hoorah, it’s foraging time!
I get ridiculously excited by foraging – moving in Spring from wild garlic and nettles to dandelions and elderflowers then on to the flowers of Summer and nuts, berries and fungi of Autumn – there is nothing better than bringing home food I have found and cooking with it!
Every year in Spring we set off with our bags and our boots and clamber into hedgerows to pick these beauties. I took this photo three years ago and I can’t believe how much she has grown up. She is sitting her GCSEs for the next few weeks but we have plans for when they are finally over and we are freeee – foraging for these blowsy beauties is high on the list!
May turns to June and the first of the gooseberries appear in our country market just as elderflower season gets into full swing.
As bottles of our homemade sweet elderflower cordial start filling up the fridge it’s time to make some ice cream!
Elderflower and Gooseberry Ice-Cream
- 500 g gooseberries
- 75 ml elderflower cordial
- 300 ml double cream
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- Wash, top and tail the gooseberries and put them in a pan with the sugar and water. Cover and bring to the boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Leave the pulp to cool completely and then whizz in a blender until smooth.
- Push the pulp through a sieve into a large bowl.
- Add the cream and the elderflower cordial to the gooseberry purée and stir well. Check the flavour and add more sugar to taste.
- Pour into a plastic container and pop it into the freezer
- When the ice cream is nearly frozen put it back into the blender and whizz again until smooth, pour it back into its container and freeze again. Repeat this process once more.
- Bring the ice cream out of the freezer to soften for 10 -15 minutes before serving.
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