When we first moved up here from Gloucestershire, many moons ago now, I was astonished to find that blackberries ripened so much later and indeed that there was a thing called ‘Blackberry Week’ in October. I’m pleased to say that this year there is a bumper early crop all over the county just waiting to be picked.
We’ve already made Blackberry & Apple Jam to add a sweet tartness to the bakewell style Brown Sugar Blackberry Slice from our favourite Yeo Valley cookbook. And sitting outside on the hottest day of the year last week in September our ‘Pick and Paint’ attendees relished Blackberry Victoria Sponge along with a refreshing glass of our Hedgerow Cordial: frozen blackberries, mint and elderflower topped up with soda water.
Friends staying for The Great North Run enabled me to try out a new non-alcoholic delight Blackberry & Lavender Switchel. From an inspirational book: SOUR by Mark Diacono, you mix a handful of blackberries with some grated ginger, lemon juice, cider vinegar and honey. Fill with filtered water and then pop a just opened lavender flower in the jar. Shake and leave for an hour to infuse then remove the lavender and leave overnight. Dilute with tonic for a mocktail to delight.
Fran’s Blackberry Pancakes
Inspired by a recipe in this months Children’s Nature Detectives magazine by the Woodland Trust, my youngest son Fran picked himself a cupful as well as pockets of blackberries to make us all some brunch. They were delicious drizzled with some Northumberland Honey Company Wildflower Summer honey and some Greek yogurt and as you can imagine they got gobbled up.
75g Blackberries, washed
150g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1tbsp Golden syrup or maple syrup
75ml plain yogurt
Oil for cooking
1 Whizz up the blackberries or mash and put them to one side.
2 Put the flour, baking powder, egg and syrup, milk and yogurt in a large bowl and whisk together until you get rid of the pesky lumps.
3 Stir in the blackberries
4 Heat a teaspoon of oil in a hot non-stick frying pan. Pour a large spoonful of the batter into the pan and cook for two minutes on each side.
5 Stack the pancakes and serve with yogurt, honey and a few fresh blackberries.