Thursday, 30 July 2009

Fie! For you are such a fool! I can no longer use words to express it!

Tell him! Tell him in a song!

Or so the song goes (Fool, from Xanadu of course!) That's a lot of exclamation marks, I shall be less declamatory for the rest of the post. Which is of course about fools. As you clearly realised from my witty quotation type title. Really, you can just smile and nod sometimes. I'll get to the food eventually I promise.

Now firstly I know I still haven't blogged about Taste, the London food festival that was on last month. However, I still have my notes, I just want to check with Olly Smith (wine guru from Saturday kitchen) that it's OK to use him as the centrepeice of my blogpost, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I've not had much in the way of occaisions to cook of late, being single and busy with Guiding have meant that I've eaten a lot of pasta and... dishes, thrown together in a hurry, with leftovers frozen for another night when I'm doutblessly racing in the door, throwing on my uniform and racing out again. However, I did manage to wangle some annual leave that meant I allegedly had time to rest between Pack Holiday and Guide camp, and this did afford me some time for proper cooking.

Summer in the UK is always a strange affair, just as you get used to the overpowering heat, the weather breaks and we're treated to thunderstorms where lightening flashes through the sky and it sounds as though every window in the house will surely shatter as the thunder crashes. However, the wonderful early part of this summer has left us with an abundance of summerfruits; strawberries, raspberries, and now as the summer is passing on blackberries, and blackcurrants. I didn't have the sort of idyllic childhood which has left me memories of smearing my face with strawberry juice at a Pick Your Own farm (actually I've never been to one at all) and neither was I brought up somewhere where one could go blackberrying. However, as with so many things that we miss out on as children, I'm determined to fit them in somewhere, and this year blackberry and apple jam is a must have. Truth be told I'm hoping to make it for Christmas presents as my plan this year is for home made ones. So I'm hoarding jars and lids and hoping that friends and loved ones appreciate the thought and love that goes into those little jars.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, summer fruit fool. I blogged a month or so back about my flatmate making a wonderful rhubarb fool with our first rhubarb from the garden. I however, cheated and used a recent discovery from Mr Sainsbury himself; frozen berries. Whilst the summer berries are in season, they are not cheap (and not living close to any useful markets) I treated myself to 3 bags of frozen berries, with plans to stew them up for yoghurt toppings. I must say I always have stewed fruit and natural yoghurt in the fridge for a quick serve pudding when something sweet is a must have.

Anyway, I looked through my recipe books for a basic fool, and found that it seemed to consist of fruit, cream and in some cases custard, whipped together, and served cold from the fridge.

I decided to live life on the edge... and make up my own recipe. Now having used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference (Good Lord I sound like an advert for them today, I feel like I should say, other supermarkets are available) custard as an ice cream base in the past I was confident in using it in this. It is more than flecked with vanilla seeds, it is positively freckled with them, and I whipped 150ml of this with 150ml of double cream until the mixture reached a ribbons consistency. I then layered the defrosted summer fruits in the bottom of a glass and topped it with the cream mixture. This made 3 large portions plus 2 sensible sized ones. And it tasted amazing, luxurious enough to feel like a proper dessert, but the tartness of the fruit cut through the creaminess of the fool just enough to make it feel less indulgent than it probably is.

I would and will definitely be making this again, I think the fruit needs to be tart to counteract the tooth achingly sweet cream, and you could easily substitute your own creme anglaise or custard for shop bought, but really, do try the Sainsbury's TTD, it is pretty much unadulterated and utterly lush (and as an added bonus, freezeable, so I just used 150ml of the 500ml pot and froze the rest for use at another time).

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