My favourite part of summer is the arrival of the Scottish berry season and here at The Newport we are coming to the end of a glorious season of amazing farmed and cultivated berries as well as foraged wild fruits for the kitchen.
Throughout Scotland the berry trail is growing rapidly. I enjoyed stopping in at various farms and picking the best of what on offer at that very time wherever we happened to be.
It was refreshing to see the farms in full swing and bustling as families made the most of the pickings. When we go foraging with the kitchen we are always on the lookout for wild blueberries, brambles and raspberries. I always tend to find the foraged berries have more of a savoury flavour which lets us play with different combinations such as venison and wild blackberry and using grouse with the wild blueberries.
To prolong the local berries, we pickled and preserved what we could to complement our autumnal and winter dishes. My favourite is salted blackcurrants, which are stored in a 1% salt brine and served with our confit duck French toast on our Sunday brunch menu.
The cultivated berries tend to be a lot sweeter and are always on our desserts. Currently we have a raspberry and woodruff ice cream sandwich, woodruff being a wild herb that grows not far from raspberries, forming a lovely natural combination of flavours.
We have used all kinds of berries throughout the summer months in our soufflé bases which are always a sell-out.
To make my autumn apple and blackberry crumble, mix together 100g butter, 100g sugar, 150g plain flour and 1 tsp of cinnamon to make crumb.
Peel and dice six Granny Smith apples, mix in 200g of blackberries, 1 tbs sugar and place in a casserole dish. Cover with crumble mixture and bake in the pre-heated oven at 160 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with custard or cream – delicious!
If you have a glut of berries in your freezer you can make a mixed berry jam. Simply take 500g of berries, add equal quantity sugar and berries with a teaspoon of pectin and bring to the boil to 105 degrees using a jam thermometer. Allow to cool and store for up to a month.