Invicta Gooseberries from Tibbs Farm

About gooseberries 

Gooseberries are related to blackcurrants but Invicta are slightly larger, like small grapes. The Elizabethans loved them but over the years popularity has dwindled until recently when imaginative foodies have restored their reputation.  They are a natural partner to oily fish, in salads and add the same tartness to creamy puddings that you would usually use citrus flavours.

The Invicta gooseberry is a popular variety. The Invicta gooseberries we sell come from the Tibbs fruit farm, in Udimore, East Sussex, where they mostly grow strawberries and gooseberries until the small summer fruits come through (soon).

P1090832


How do they taste?

The Invicta gooseberry is a large yellow-green fruit – and their taste can vary, depending on where they are grown, but we can definitely say that this variety is smooth and not too tart.

How to store them?

To store gooseberries, just place them loosely in a shallow container, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate (for up to 2-3 days). Don’t wash them until they’re ready to be eaten, as they can grow a bit mouldy if they’re left damp in the fridge.

If you want to freeze the berries, wash them carefully in cold water, pat dry and place in a single layer on baking tray in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags and return them to freezer.


What foods pair with gooseberries?

Most recipe ideas use the base of a gooseberry compote… A delightful combination of gooseberries and sugar, or honey/maple syrup work equally well, reduced down with a splash of water till soft and pulpy.

If you’re looking for food that pairs well with gooseberries, try adding elderflower cordial – add a spoonful of your compote to elderflower cordial with a little fresh ginger for a refreshing summer drink.

You can also use compote in stunning cakes – spread a spoonful of compote along with softly whipped cream as an alternative filling to Victoria sponge or a delicious topping to party buns or the perfect accompaniment to ginger scones.

Gooseberries can also be used in pastries and pies;  you could whip up a delicious patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie. (link to the recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3147693/patchwork-strawberry-and-gooseberry-pie)

Gooseberries are not just great for dessert; they work equally well as part of a savoury main meal too. Pair them with oily fish, like salmon alongside seasonal greens for a balance to the rich flavours. Or try gooseberries combined with Asian flavours like soy, chilli and fish sauce to achieve a hot and sour taste which is a little similar to the Japanese sour plum umami sensation.

But if you prefer, you could also try to cook a simple but delightful old fashioned gooseberry pie.:

Ingredients 
  • 250 g. unsalted butter
  • 140 g. icing sugar
  • 5 eggs yolks
  • 500 g. plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the filling 
  • 900 g. Invicta gooseberries
  • about 200 g. caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

 

  1. To make the pastry, mix the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl, then tip in 4 egg yolks. Add the flour and mix it all together with your fingers until you get a crumbly texture like damp breadcrumbs. Work in 1-2 tbsp water until the pastry just comes together, then divide it in half and roll it into 2 balls. This will make double the amount you need, so freeze half for another time. Lay the ball you are using on a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands, wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.
  2. For the filling, tip the fruit, sugar, or a splash of water into a saucepan and simmer everything for about 10 mins until the fruit is soft. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if you think it needs it. Pour the fruit into a pie dish about 25cm wide and 5cm deep.
  3. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface so it’s big enough to make a lid for your pie dish. Cut a thin strip of pastry to stick onto the lip of the pie dish – this doesn’t have to be one continuous piece. Stick it on with a little water, then moisten the strip with more water and place the pastry lid on top. Press down firmly, trim off any excess pastry and crimp. Make a hole in the middle of the lid, brush the top with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkle over some caster sugar. You should have enough pastry trimmings left over to make some artistic leaves to decorate your pie, if you like. Bake for 30 mins or until the top is golden brown. Leave the pie to relax a little, then serve it with custard or vanilla ice cream.

recipe-image-legacy-id--286491_11


Come and visit us to see our online shop at www.finandfarm.co.uk 

Invicta Gooseberries from Tibbs Farm

Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake

FullSizeRender

A leftover apple cake that is lighter than traditional fruit cakes – would make a perfect Simnel cake.

I was browsing ways of using up a couple of our Ringden Farm Egremont Russets and Jonagold apples that were a little past their prime and thought I’d make a cake for a friend coming over for supper.  Cake recipes are generally heavy on refined sugar one way or another so we thought the best balance is probably to incorporate more fruit and eat a delicious cake in smaller slices, using the best ingredients possible.

This cake is pretty much a lighter version of a fruit cake, but you could swap leftover ingredients or use whatever dried fruit you have in the cupboard.  It would work equally well with cranberries, cherries or pears.

It’s a nice grown-up kind of cake as well, that would work equally well with afternoon tea or as a delicious Easter Simnel Cake.

One thing is that we don’t eat cake every day – but when we do, it has to taste bloody good. We came across this cake on the BBC site, which with a bit of tweaking became the cake below and it’s one we’ve added to our little black book of cakes to repeat.

The comments on the BBC site said their cake was a little crumbly, so we upped the apple content to give it some moisture (worked brilliantly) and to counterbalance the fat.

It’s a little heavy on the butter side, but we only use Sussex Southdowns butter and this is our small indulgence (Southdowns is a traditionally-made butter that goes off if you don’t use it, unlike most commercial butters which must be irradiated or something…).

We have pinned this recipe in our December notes as it would make a fantastic lighter Christmas cake if you include homemade glacé cherries and nuts.  On the subject of which, if you’re foraging around at the back of the cupboard, then we found the remains of a bottle of Cointreau from the Christmas cocktails and soaked the dried fruit beforehand.

Nick is most definitely not a fruit cake fan, but he liked this as it has a lighter texture and is more moist and plump than a traditional fruit cake without the heavy leaden lining on your stomach afterwards!

Apple Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 good size eating apples , grated (approx 120g each)
  • 300g mixed sultanas and raisins
  • A drizzle of Cointreau or brandy
  1. Put the dried fruit in a dish and drizzle over the liqueur.  Leave to absorb for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  3. Butter and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the tin slightly. A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when it’s ready.
Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake

Howgate Wonder Baked Apples With Rhubarb

apple

Of course, we always recommend our Bramley apples from Ringden Farm over near Etchingham – BUT on this occasion we urge you to try the early Howgate Wonders.  When they are picked early they are mild and citrussy but their flavour mellows over time.  They are a different kettle of fish to the Bramley so ring the changes with a traditional Edwardian cooking apple.

This recipe waxes lyrical about eating outside on a summer’s day – but since apples and rhubarb are at their sweetest and best, we will have to sit by the radiator and pretend.

A note about the recipe….we wouldn’t bother with the demerara sugar, sticking as we do to a good local honey…especially a borage honey if you can find it, for the fragrant rosy flavour and aroma.

We also sell delicious creamy yoghurt but the large tubs are generally to special order, as most people prefer low fat, these days.

To overcome this and keep variety in our fridge, we often have a pot of Northiam Creme Fraiche and mix with low fat yoghurt (if we mix it – it’s so rich and creamy, it’s tempting to leave as is)…it gives another layer of tart depth to the flavour which works well with the malic acid in the apples.

howgate

Baked Howgate Wonder apple and rhubarb with vanilla-honey yoghurt

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 6 apples
  • 150g of rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of Demerara sugar, to sprinkle
  • 200g of Greek yoghurt
  • 40ml of honey
  • 1 vanilla pod
1  Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
2  Score each apple horizontally to slightly pierce the skin – this allows the flesh to expand while cooking.
3  Core the apples by pushing an apple corer down through the apple until it pierces the bottom, discard the core. Repeat for all apples.
4  Mix the rhubarb, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Stand the apples up side by side in a baking dish.
5  Use your fingers to push the rhubarb mixture into each apple, dividing the mix evenly.
6  Add a blob of butter to the top of each and sprinkle over the Demerara sugar.
7  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are cooked through – you can check this by piercing the apples with a skewer.
8  Meanwhile, split the vanilla pod in half with a small knife. Scrape out the seeds and add to a bowl with the yoghurt and honey, whisk to combine.
9  Remove the apples from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve on plates with the yoghurt. Drizzle over the juices from the baking tray.

 

Recipe by Nathan Outlaw – Great British Chefs

Howgate Wonder Baked Apples With Rhubarb

Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal

It’s so easy on the internet to list your ingredients and have at your fingertips a whole load of recipes for every occasion.

So there’s really no excuse to go off course from local Sussex produce on the grounds that ‘there’s nothing to cook!”…

Continue reading “Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal”

Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal

Celeriac – Our Unsung Hero

Celeriac

Toos’s daughter helping on the farm picking celeriac

Known also as celery root or turnip celery, this is a vegetable is a Mediterranean staple but slower to be loved here in the UK.  But root veg seems to be having a moment this year – the sweet flavours released in chips, crisps and roasted wedges.

We have two celeriac growers…outdoor grown and left to mature in rich soil from Worthing and Biodynamic Organically grown celeriac from Toos in Cuckfield.  Take your pick… Continue reading “Celeriac – Our Unsung Hero”

Celeriac – Our Unsung Hero

Proper Sussex Bramley Apples

Bramley

The other day, Nick took this picture of these Bramley apples from the farm at Ringdens. Just so different from those monstrous waxy green supermarket specimens…. local fruit picked from orchards are blushed and rosy with an almost lime-coloured flecked white flesh, these have a wholesome apple flavour.  They are just slightly too tart to eat raw, but not massively.  Continue reading “Proper Sussex Bramley Apples”

Proper Sussex Bramley Apples

Medlars – What are they and what do you do with them?

Medlar

Turn back the clock to the beginning of the 20th century and any Sussex resident would know and cook with medlars and be a mine of information about bletting and the suchlike.

But, the fact that this fruit looks so disgusting and we are not accustomed to eating anything, bluntly, half rotten, then this has fallen out of favour.  But it’s really unfair, as it’s an exciting and delicious fruit that deserves it’s place at the table.

It’s not easy to come by now, as farmers weren’t able to sell crops, so sadly chopped down trees to make way for other more lucrative ways of selling fruit.  So this has become something of a delicacy and a bit more unusual – and therefore more expensive.

But the taste is a real sensation and most people, when you read articles, are amazed at the depth and sweetness of this peculiar fruit.

Bletting

You can’t get away from this term – you have to ‘blet’ your medlars.  This basically means letting them go brown and wrinkly.  When they look like they should be composted they are ready to eat.  More about bletting here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or you could speed things up and try them roasted in this absolutely gorgeous recipe for Roasted Medlar and Walnut Bakewell Tart

A wintry twist on the classic Bakewell with rich walnuts and unusual medlars.

Ingredients

For the walnut Bakewell tart
For the roasted medlars
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  2. For the tart, line a deep 23cm/9in tart tin with the sweet shortcrust pastry. Place a sheet of baking paper or foil over the pastry and weigh down with baking beans or rice.
  3. Place the tart tin onto a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the paper or foil and baking beans from the tart tin, then return to the oven for a further ten minutes until the pastry is lightly golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
  6. Crack in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  7. Add the ground walnuts and breadcrumbs and fold together until well combined.
  8. Spread two thirds of the damson jam over the base of the pastry case. Cover with the walnut filling mixture and smooth the top using a wet palette knife. Place the walnut halves around the edge of the filling.
  9. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the remaining damson jam.Watch technique 0:48 mins
  11. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  12. For the roasted medlars, heat the butter in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the medlars for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Add the sugar and cinnamon stick, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the medlars are soft and the skins have split.
  14. To serve, cut the tart into slices and place onto serving plates with a spoonful of damson cream and some roasted medlars.

BBC Food

Medlars – What are they and what do you do with them?