During the week between the two Open Studio Weekends, I ventured out to check out the mulberries. The crop wasn’t good, but there were quite a few coming on. Possibly ready to pick in a week or so once they ripened up a bit more.
After the last weekend sale, when I found some time to get to the orchard again, I realised that the birds had eaten all the mulberries. ALL THE MULBERRIES!
Recently, we have had quite a good number of wattle birds, Dollar birds, Frier birds and the constant regiment of endemic bower birds
There were just a very few immature pale hard berries left. So no mulberry tarts this year.
Instead, I decided to make a youngberry tart, using last years Youngberries that I preserved and bottled on the 4th of December ‘21.
It’s a lovely tart. It isn’t quite so good as when I use fresh berries, as fresh berries retain a lot more texture and structure to the substance of the tart.
This years berries aren’t ready yet, but the pantry has a few bottles of last years berries that have survived the hungry gap. Principally because we are trying to cut down on our sugar intake.
I don’t add any sugar to the preserved youngberries. They are sweet enough, and every little bit of sugar adds up. But they are wonderful, so rich, so lively with that special mix of acid and sweetness. I love them. They are so special, really unique to this time of year. I really look forward to their season. They follow the mulberries and preempt the cherries.
I couldn’t net the mulberries, the tree is too old and too big, so they are all gone, but I can net the youngberries, as they grow on canes at ground level.
I blind-bake the pastry first to cook it through and then add the fruit, and bake it again to set the fruit.
As soon as we could find the time, we were out in the garden and netted the youngberries. Safe for this season now.
The chickens come out to see the new Tesla Battery. Perhaps they want to know what it is like to be a battery hen? They don’t appear to be very impressed. Battery hens! What’s all the fuss about?
In the garden, we have picked the last globe artichokes. They are a bit past ‘best’, so need to be cut in half and have the ‘choke’ taken out.
I cut them and trim them down to the essential core of flavour and drop them in lemon juice acidulated water, eventually to make a pasta sauce out of them with our home-made tomato passata sauce from last summer and some little zucchinis and broad beans from the spring garden.
I stuff the zucchini flowers with broad beans, olives, cheese and some chopped gherkins. Not my filling of choice, but I am committed to use what we have in the garden and live with the seasons. We have a lot of broad beans at the moment, and
the last of the winters cauliflowers.
We eat the cauliflower raw with just a little bit of mayonnaise. It makes a lovely entrée.