Tag Archives: Mark Hix

The Bountiful Summer Harvest

Nature's Harvest, Rocking Dog

Nature’s Harvest

Hedgerow fruits are swiftly ripening. Blackberries are being foraged and picked for pies, crumbles, jams and wines. Sloes, Damsons and Bullaces are gaining their characteristic charcoal bloom. A little more ripening will be required before the picking begins, and then, a degree of patience whilst the fruits do their magic in their gin or vodka soak.

Meanwhile, squirrels are busy raiding the hedgerows for hazel and cobnuts. The remnants of their feast lie untidily discarded on the mossy well trodden pathways.

Haws, rose-hips and crab apples are gaining their rosy glow, giving welcome colour whilst we walk.

Sweet Chestnuts need to plumpen in their verdant spiny overcoats. They remind me of my fondness for sweetened chestnut puree. Folded through rum laced cream and sandwiched between hazelnut meringue layers it’s a decadent dinner party dessert.

A great book celebrating Britain’s harvest is Mark Hix’s British Seasonal Food. In particular I love his recipes for Gamekeepers Pie, Piccalilli and his simply delicious little Buttermilk Puddings.

Let’s rejoice the burgeoning summer harvest.

Sorry couldn’t resist the slightly cheesy summer song- almost forgot that it was used as the theme for a certain drinks brand!

Hedgerow Sloes, Rocking Dog

Hedgerow Sloes

Use For Those Sloes!, Rocket Dog

Use For Those Sloes!

Berry Recipes, Rocking Dog

Berry Recipes

Crab Apple Swotting, Rocking Dog

Crab Apple Swotting

Nature Bowl, Rocking Dog

Nature Bowl

Umbrian Apple Harvest, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Apple Harvest

Yay! Rhubarb Season, Cocktail Time!

Gin, Fizz And Rhubarb!, Rocking Dog

Gin, Fizz And Rhubarb!

The wonderful early spring sunshine has made our rhubarb grow prolifically! I LOVE rhubarb. What could be more lovely than granola or muesli served with some greek yogurt and chilled home cooked rhubarb. Here in Hambrook I have about seven Rhubarb clumps and we are able to enjoy this vegetable from April through to the start of September. The plants are very hardy, and they thankfully need very little to keep them happy and heavily cropping. I have some deliciously aged terracotta rhubarb forcing pots which add to the charm of my rhubarb triangle.

My favourite ways of using rhubarb are in crumbles (delicious with the addition of some chopped stem ginger) and made into a fresh “jam” to serve with freshly baked buttermilk scones and clotted cream. Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Marinated Pork Fillet on Roasted Rhubarb is a family favourite and very quick to prepare. Meanwhile Mark Hix’s Little Buttermilk Puddings are divine served with roasted rhubarb. Similar to Italian panna cotta’s they are a wonderful inexpensive and easy dessert to serve guests.

To celebrate the start of rhubarb season why not toast a good crop with a cocktail! Make a rhubarb syrup using rhubarb (doh!), a little water, sugar and a vanilla pod. Cook in a saucepan until the fruit is soft. Press the fruit and its liquor through a fine sieve and chill. In a pitcher or cocktail shaker whizz up gin, rhubarb syrup and lemon juice. Pour into ice filled glasses and top up with some chilled Prosecco. Stir carefully and add a thin lemon slice to each glass to serve. To alter the flavour of the syrup fresh herbs can be added to the stewing rhubarb, rosemary or lemon thyme would work well. For an eccentric way of serving cocktails, pour your chosen tipple from a pretty vintage teapot. Wind up the gramophone, slump in an old fashioned deckchair and celebrate rhubarb and the cherished sun. Cheers!

Rife Rhubarb, Rocking Dog

Rife Rhubarb

Ready For The Pan, Rocking Dog

Ready For The Pan

Teapot Cocktails, Rocking Dog

Teapot Cocktails