Being a Bit Picky

CIMG1537

I shall have to write a list of Cool Jobs to do as the week continues, for both indoors and out it has been exceedingly warm and airless today. Even the birds were subdued, the only sounds in the garden being the occasional crowing of our neighbour’s cockerel, most human activity taking place inside in front of the tennis. There must have been an occasional light breeze however, as whilst writing this from the sitooterie in the late afternoon a faint tinkle reaches my ear from the nearest windchimes.

The picture above shows some of the crop of berries on the amelanchier, strange though it seems to have berries early on in the year especially when it was only the end of April that it was in full flower . I may just not have noticed in previous years, but the tree is now smothered in them and our local blackbird families are clearly finding them very tasty – how nice for the fledglings to be introduced to such a varied diet so early in their little feathered lives!

CIMG1521The blackbirds are not the only ones picking fruit, as since last Sunday I have been able to pick around a pound of raspberries – these are the Autumn fruiting ones which are being double cropped and it will be the first year I have been able to put this principal properly into practice. Once these stems have finished fruiting they will be cut them down to the ground and the new shoots allowed to fruit later in the year – all looks good so far. The row of established loganberries are later than usual, but I did find a single ripe berry today amongst a mass of unripe ones. My attention however, during the promised sunshine and heat of this week, will need to be focused on the currants, as already the trusses are being weighed down with the rapidly ripening fruit – I love the jewel-like colours of these red and blackcurrants, and the pearly translucency of the whitecurrants.

currants

Meanwhile, although the rhubarb plods along in its own almost old fashioned way, I have recently discovered the joys of poached as opposed to stewed rhubarb and will probably never return to the traditional stewed method again. I have been experimenting with rhubarb cakes, but having tried recipes from bloggers Christine and Annette I wanted something simpler that could be thrown together on a whim – ideally a Victoria sponge mixture with rhubarb added to it. For this I guessed the rhubarb would need to be precooked, hence the poached rhubarb – I shall post instructions for both under the In the Kitchen tab. The rhubarb keeps its shape when it is poached, and both the texture and colour are very different from when it is stewed – I can highly recommend it, and the cake was pretty successful* too!

*the first attempt was less successful, so I reduced the quantity of rhubarb in the second

rhubarb

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13 Responses to Being a Bit Picky

  1. If I can ever get mine to really get going, I will have to try the poached method.

    • Cathy says:

      It is so simple but the result is far more sophisticated – good luck with your rhubarb! I have now posted the recipe – do take a look, Donna

  2. Anna says:

    Looks delicious Cathy. It’s never too hot for cake 🙂

  3. We just made strawberry and rhubarb as well as gooseberry jam yesterday with our son and his girlfriend. The gooseberries were a real pain to prepare, but the jam was delicious.

    • Cathy says:

      Well done Jason – preparing soft fruit for freezing and jamming can be fiddly at times. It does make such a difference to be able to pick fruit as it ripens instead of waiting for the time and weather to do it. I am sure your jam was yummy 😉

  4. Annette says:

    Looks definitely yummie…one thing I’d like to know though (or maybe I don’t if the answer isn’t positive, haha): did you like my rhubarb cake? I love Amelanchier berries and am amazed they’re ripe already – make sure you get some for yourselve 😉

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Annette – I would be too polite to tell you if I didn’t! Only problem was the length of time to cook it – I think my tin was too small and it wasn’t fully cooked when I turned it out, so I had to put it back in the tin and cook it for longer so it looked a bit unhappy at the end but was nevertheless very tasty. What size tin did you use? And those amelanchier berries – I never for one minute thought they might be edible, so after checking I went and tried one and indeed they are delicious! Do you just eat yours as they come?

      • Annette says:

        Diameter is 25cm, due to the crème fraiche it’s a very moist cake, maybe that’s why you felt it wasn’t fully cooked. As for the berries I pick them as they ripen but you need to be ever so quick as the blackbirds love them dearly 😉

        • Cathy says:

          My biggest tin was 8″ and I rather guessed it should have been bigger than that as it was definitely still liquid in the middle. I would like to try it again with perhaps half quantities and a smaller tin.

          • Annette says:

            Only goes to show that it pays to think BIG (at times) ;)…definitely worth trying again, now with other fruit that starts to ripen, it’s one of my favourite cakes even if I have to chop a lot of wood afterwards…

  5. croftgarden says:

    Impressive looking berries for a non-vegetable gardener. Potentially we’ve a good crop of currants but we need some sunshine for ripening.
    I’d not thought about putting fruit in a Victoria sponge mix, I’ll experiment – but after I’ve coped with the courgette glut.

    • Cathy says:

      Most of the fruit was in the garden when we came, but dotted around – literally – until we moved it one place. And admittedly I don’t do anything to them other than prune them and pick the fruit, although I did feed them this year which they must have been a bit surprised about. Hope you get enough sun to ripen yours – my Mum is very protective of her one redcurrant bush.

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