Saturday, 1 August 2009

A Country Harvest

I found this book in one of the Ringwood charity shops and the moment I set eyes on it, I knew it would be coming home with me. It is subtitled "An illustrated Guide to Herbs and Wild Plants, including delicious recipes, herbal remedies and beauty treatments", by Pamela Michael. Never was £2.50 better spent.

It's not quite time for Sloes just yet, but I loved the name of this recipe so I thought I would share it with you and you can make sure of locating the best sloe bushes in your area in good time to make this in early autumn. You can have a practice run with whatever soft fruits you have in the garden or freezer right now:


Early Autumn

Kissel is made with any red or dark red summer fruits - raspberries, cherries or blackcurrants, either mixed together or by themselves. The juice is always thickened with arrowroot and should be sweet and well-flavoured. The dark, strongly flavoured little hedgerow fruits make a very good version of this traditional Austrian dish. You can omit the red wine, but it does improve the flavour.

Serves 6

1/4 litre/ 1 1/4 cups / 1/2 pint sloes
Ditto amount of blackberries
1/2 litre / 2 1/2 cups / 1 pint elderberries
Ditto amount of water
300g / 1 1/2 cups / 3/4lb sugar, or 1/2lb honey
1 orange
1 level tablespoon arrowroot
3-4 tablespoons red wine
a little extra sugar

Wash the fruit and strip away all the stalks, put the mixed fruits into a large saucepan with water and sugar, or honey. Bring slowly to the boil and stir until the sugar or honey has melted, then cover and simmer gently for 10-15 mins. Pour into a basin and stand until cold.

Pare the rind from the orange and squeeze out the juice. Mix the arrowroot and strained orange juice together in a cup. Strain the juice from the stewed fruits into a saucepan, add the orange rind and wine and bring slowly to the boil. Add the slaked arrowroot and stir constantly while the juice thickens and clears, then draw off the heat. Add the stewed fruits and pour into a bowl. Serve cool, but not chilled.


Rowan said...

This sounds really good, I must try and find some sloes locally, in other parts of the country I know several good places but not here. I know there are some as an old chap used to give me enough to make slow gin but he'd never tell me where he found them! One or two exploratory walks called for I think:)

MrsL said...

It's a good book, isn't it? I got mine withdrawn from library stock a few years ago, loads of useful info in it. Haven't been to Ringwood for a long time, we used to go there regularly, about 4 miles from us then. I suppose it's changed a bit now.



Kim said...

This sounds yummy and what a great book to find. Does it say anything about removing the stones from the sloes?

Hope you had a safe trip back, speak soon

Kim x