Thursday, 9 August 2012

Seasonal Ingredient: Gooseberries

Rachel, Dublin

Just the sight of gooseberries can transport me straight to my childhood; my brother and I used to dare each other to eat them straight off the bush in our garden.  After eating many underripe, incredibly sour berries this way I am perplexed at how I managed to end up loving the flavour of them so much;  Mum must have made very tasty things with the rest of them.

While I love the flavour of gooseberries I have never cooked with them before and so, when I saw them for sale at the Kenmare Food Carnival during our recent trip to Kerry, I purchased two cartons of the beautifully plump, weirdly bristly, green berries. 

I had been inspired by this post on Wholesome Ireland to make gooseberry curd but was also tempted by the thoughts of a gooseberry fool and the excuse to eat lots of cream won out in the end.  I had a sudden strike of inspiration to use up some of my gallons of Elderflower cordial and so I poached the gooseberries in that instead of simple syrup.  This made me a huge quantity of gooseberry compote which has been delicious with yogurt and I froze some to make a zingy sorbet too. I hadn't yet heard of Aoife's sorbet tip of adding a little vodka to keep the consistency smooth so mine was a little crunchy in places but still very tasty. 

Gooseberry Sorbet with Blueberries

Gooseberry Compote, with yoghurt and raspberries, Gooseberry fool with granola

Gooseberry Fool from Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course Serves 6

450g Gooseberries, topped and tailed
Stock Syrup made from 300ml water and 225g sugar or elderflower cordial
Whipped cream

Barely cover the gooseberries with the syrup and bring to the boil (this really means barely cover, I added a little too much cordial and my fool was a bit too liquid as a result).
Boil the fruit for about 5 minutes until it bursts.
Let it cool and then blend the mixture.
Combine the pureé with whipped cream in a ratio of 2:1 and fold the mixture together gently. 
I like to serve fool in wine or cocktail glasses and I decided to top mine with a sprinkle of homemade granola.

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