A Glut of Gooseberries.

It has occurred to me that I have scuppered my chances of substantial blogging ‘success’ by stubbornly refusing, against advice, to separate the books from the baking, etc. I’m sticking to my guns. I’m a housewife; surely that’s niche enough these days. I bake, I garden, I make and mend, I moan a lot, occasionally rejoice, and I read a ton of books. Because of this blog, my lovely fellow-bloggers, and your kind comments, I know I am not alone. That, my friends, is all I need.

One more thing: while I am fortunate enough to be paid for contributions to Bookwitty.com, my blog posts are not sponsored in any way and are not affiliate-linked. If I mention a book here, or link on to a review, it is simply because I really love it and want you to know about it. That’s all.

Moving on…

I have no idea what the collective noun is for gooseberries but the word around here is glut. I’ve run short of jam jars and the freezer is already chock-a-block and so, I have been driven to remarkable (by my standards) creativity.

There are, in my garden, two types of gooseberry bush. The first is a vicious creature, intent on impaling its owner with inch-long thorns.The fruits of this bush, which take considerable determination to gather, are massive, green, hirsute, tough-skinned, globules of concentrated citric acid. They make excellent jam (as seen in this post) and now, believe it or not, they make a fabulous kimchi. Now listen, I’m no expert, the only kimchi I’ve eaten thus far are those I’ve made myself. I don’t even know whether it is correct to write kimchi or kimchis in the previous sentence. Whichever, this is tasty stuff. Husband and I have been piling it up on burgers and barbecued chicken. The recipe is a variation on the Rhubarb Kimchi in Fiery Ferments by Christopher and Kristin Shockey. I recommend their book as an excellent guide for any fellow novice fermenters. Take a look at their website, here. If you have a few gooseberries, this is surely worth trying for novelty factor alone.

Gooseberry Kimchi.

300g gooseberries, sliced as finely as patience allows
3 scallions (spring onions), sliced finely
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
Generous tablespoon of chilli flakes
Generous tablespoon of grated fresh ginger.
Combine everything together in a bowl and give it a good mix until it all looks a bit juicy. Then, pack the mixture into a small fermenting jar, if you have one. I don’t. I’ve used either small Kilner jars or recycled beetroot jars which seem to be exactly the right size for our appetites. The important thing is to press it down as firmly as you can to eliminate as much air as possible.

Leave the jar in a shady corner of the kitchen for a week, remembering to ‘burp’ it daily by the simple expedient of quickly opening it and closing it again. You should see tiny bubbles so you know it’s alive. The flavours mellow and mingle as the week progresses.

It’s ready to eat. I keep it in the fridge too prevent further fermentation or spoiling.

Gooseberry Kimchi.
Gooseberry Kimchi!

 

The second variety is a far more gentle gooseberry; smaller, smooth-skinned and turning a rosy pink under the cerulean blue skies of this past week. With a stroke of pure genius (it might have been the sun) I had a notion of making a Gooseberry Clafoutis. This is a variation on a recipe for Rhubarb Clafoutis taken from a children’s cookbook (Yumee by Aoileann Garavaglia) so it’s dead easy and, honestly, very yumee. I doubled the recipe; you could easily halve it again if your home is not populated, as mine is, by ravaging savages.

Gooseberry Clafoutis.

500g gooseberries
4 eggs
350ml cream
200ml good, full fat, natural yogurt (my favourite is the greek-style from Lidl)
4 tb.sp. golden syrup.

Ingredients for gooseberry clafoutis.

Place the topped and tailed gooseberries in a large, oven-proof dish. Mine is a 28cm diameter tart dish but a lasagne dish works fine too.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a custard and pour over the gooseberries.
Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes. Watch it closely at the end and try to nab it when the edges are browning but the centre still has a wobble to it.
Serve with cream and a good book. (I’m reading Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield; it’s a joy! Thanks, Sam, for convincing me to treat myself.)

 

Gooseberry Clafoutis.
Gooseberry Clafoutis.

If even those simple recipes seem too much like hard work or if, like me, you STILL have MORE gooseberries, try this one.

The One-Week-When-The-Sun-Shines-In-Ireland Dinner.

Method:

  1. Suggest to husband that he take the barbecue you bought him for Christmas out of the bubble wrap. Allow Husband cook just as much MEAT as his heart desires. Pass everyone a ripe tomato for sake of conscience.barbecue
  2. Suggest to offspring that they pick everything that’s ripe, with a particular emphasis on GOOSEBERRIES, and encourage to have huge fun wrapping fruit in tinfoil parcels (I’ve read, by the way, that Americans find our persistence with tinfoil quaint). Deliver parcels to expert at barbecue.barbecue fruit parcels
  3. Relax in the company of Small Reader and above-mentioned Provincial Lady.IMG_7648
  4. Relish, ideally with vanilla icecream, the fruits of your labour.IMG_7666

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PS. STILL have more gooseberries!

19 thoughts on “A Glut of Gooseberries.

  1. I love your blog precisely because it IS a bit of everything … and because it’s so lovely to get to (virtually) visit with a kindred spirit.
    Your kimchi and clafoutis are works of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha, I knew I couldn’t be alone! I’ve tried every natural yogurt on the market and I prefer that Lidl one to even the super fancy ones. If you strain it in a muslin-lined sieve overnight you get the most amazing cream cheese! I use it to make icing for carrot cake.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That comment made my husband and I gasp in horror! Never a gooseberry! Actually, they are very rarely sold in the shops here even though they are incredibly easy to grow so there are probably lots of Irish people who have never tasted them. They are marble-sized, quite firm, with a tart ‘Granny Smith’ apple flavour. Few people would eat them uncooked, although I do, but they make really excellent jam (what you call jelly). If you are ever in the neighbourhood…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have two of those big beast gooseberry bushes. Scratches all up my arms every time I dare to pick from them. Love the idea of gooseberry kimchi. And I love that your blog is books and baking and things all in together. Always a good read. CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My arms are in tatters! I keep finding more thorns embedded in me! I made more kimchi yesterday, I think (I hope) it will be even better with these last really ripe berries. Let me know if you try it.

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  3. I love your blog…..I love the way you write….and I really enjoy your pictures….what beautiful dishes you present….I bet they are yummy….I love your kimchi…and I bet its good on burgers….we have the same BBQ in our back yard…and I am right there with you, let them cook as much meat as their little hearts want….especially when the sun is fickle….LOL, love the idea of the berries and fruit on the grill after….gonna do that next time we start the fire….hope summer is still shining down upon you all…xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

      1. no its cooled off some, well at least to us its cooler back down around 105 to 108….that’s cooler than 116 to 120 that was a bit much really…we are heading over to the coast, San Diego area for a few days, suppose to be in the 60’s….lets hope we don’t catch pneumonia….LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If you’ve any gooseberries left, you can send them over here! So glad you’re enjoying Diary of a P L. It made me snort with laughter. Your blog is perfect as it is. x (That clafoutis looks delicious.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! Ended up with coffee up my nose in a most unladylike fashion. It was her honesty that got me, the nitty gritty of what we really worry about… just brilliant.

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