From her kitchen in Fife, Catherine Devaney is making the most of this season’s bramble bounty.
Last year, I found myself honing “skills” I didn’t know I had, as lockdown lit my gardening flame.
Merrily wielding the secateurs, I didn’t know that brambles rather like being hacked to the ground, in fact thrive on it. I have long since beaten a retreat to the kitchen, with only a vigorous cascade of new thorns to show for my meddling.
The upside is a bumper crop of luscious, glistening brambles this autumn. Thorny they may be but I’m rather fond of this accidental bounty.
Give choc muffins the berries
To make use of this wild autumn larder, try bramble and white chocolate muffins. It’s a great activity to do with kids after a bit of bramble picking, mostly because the method is all about mixing by hand and doesn’t require precision.
Preheat the oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and line a muffin tray with muffin cases (or simply grease the holes and press a square of baking parchment into each).
Take 250g brambles and put half of them into a small pot with two heaped tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of water. Place on a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the berries release their juices.
Let them bubble for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and gently stir through the remaining brambles.
Method in the muffins
While the brambles are cooling, mix 125g caster sugar, 250g self-raising flour and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl gently whisk two eggs, 125g whole milk and 75g Greek yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly, then stir through 90g melted butter.
Add half the bramble compote (avoid adding too much of the liquid) and gently stir to ripple through the muffin batter, along with two generous handfuls of chopped white chocolate.
Spoon into the muffin cases (this recipe will make nine large or 12 smaller muffins) and bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and springy to touch.
Decorate with a drizzle of melted white chocolate and some fresh brambles. Serve with the leftover bramble compote on the side.