Considering the limited space we have in our back garden, and the small number of fruit bushes that we have, it’s been a banner year for berries at Agents of Field HQ.
As with previous years, Ade grew the strawberries in hanging baskets, but this year we’ve had an almighty crop! It’s also been the first year the strawberries have coincided with the rhubarb, so I’ve been able to combine the two in some Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam. It’s a glorious colour and Ade, with his recipe tester hat on, tells me that this is the finest jam I’ve ever made. Praise indeed! Thanks to Chilcotts Farm for the recipe.
We also had our first proper harvest from the gooseberry bush Ade planted about three years ago. I ended up roasting the gooseberries with the remaining rhubarb stems in this simple recipe from Blanche Vaughan, using honey instead of sugar. It’s so delicious spooned into overnight oats or greek yoghurt.
Even the cherry tree has delivered this year. For the first time since we planted it five years ago, we managed to fill a colander with ripe, juicy cherries. I had to make a pie, obviously.
I followed Ruby Tandoh’s recipe, although I ended up making a few adjustments as I didn’t have a sufficiently large pie dish, nor did I have any cornflour or enough lemons. To be honest, after all my tweaking, I didn’t have high hopes for it at all, particularly as it was made in haste one evening. But, oh my God, it was so good. Even Ade demolished two huge helpings in one sitting.
If there’s anything finer than a cherry pie, it’s a cherry pie made with fruit from your own tree. Damn fine.
And now we wait with bated breath for the raspberries and blueberries…