Have you noticed the nights are getting cooler, there is a crispness in the air early mornings, around me winter is slowly creeping in. I have always enjoyed early Autumn – time when I return to home comforts after a Summer spent outdoors. I want to nest, sew with cosy tweed and needle cord, wrap myself in quilts, watch old fashioned black and white films and relish the comforts of and delights of domesticity.
My thoughts turn to Autumn when blackberry picking, so I headed out on Sunday morning to my usual spots. The the wet August has meant a very poor supply this year, the blackberries were in abundance and full of flowers and tiny berries in May and June but without the August sun to ripen them they have just gone black and mouldy on the bush. There are pockets of small berries desperately trying to ripen before the first frosts so it seemed only right that these efforts should not go to waste.
Blackberry picking does demand sacrifice, despite wearing leggings (I never wear them any other time) socks, long teeshirts, I still come away with scars! However, while last year half an hour’s work and the bucket was full, this year over an hour’s picking was not going to make much jam. I spotted a lot of elderberries, so decided to mix the two, into a jelly, as elderberries are quite tart and the blackberries were small so would have made a very ‘seedy’ jam. So I simply simmered the berries gently in a little water then left them to drain in the strainer overnight. It is one of those gadgets that it is really useful to have, mine came from Lakeland years ago.
As I had to wait for the jelly to drain I thought I would make something else…. so here is a clue..
You use the juice and zest of three lemons, combine with two tablespoons of cornflour and water. Stir until the mixture begins to be clear – it will thicken.
Add three egg yolks (I had a double yolk egg!) and mix thoroughly until combined.
Add to a prepared digestive biscuit base and allow to cool and set in the fridge.
pop the egg whites with three tablespoons of caster sugar into a bowl and whisk until it is solid
Place on a baking tray in a circle to fit the base – place in the baking oven (180) for 20 minutes then transfer to the warming (60) oven for an hour or so.
Transfer to the top of the base and you have a Lemon Meringue Pie,
(Did you guess correctly?)
I have also been making these patchwork flowers using English Piecework.
They are so transportable and useful to take to the pub and watch the Rugby but poor England ;-(