Friday, June 22, 2007

I pity the fool...


So I didn't make one. It seems the natural choice when confronted with a pile of gooseberries but I wasn't in a fooling around kinda mood. I was after something a little sweeter, something that remained true to the bright green English gooseberries sitting in the bowl but that spoke of something a little more exotic. A fool seemed a bit pedestrian. I wanted to create an English spoon-sweet, one of those sweet preserves eaten with a tiny spoon with coffee in the Middle East and Levant.

The unripe gooseberries seemed to be the perfect vehicle for it. I figured it was a matter of making a sweet preserve that has some texture to it and had something of a floral quality , something akin to the rosewater that might be mixed with a fig preserve but something quintessentially English. Elderflowers it was then, and a natural partner to the gooseberries and gently fragrant. Now, I know making a preserve is meant to be something of an exact science and upon reading up, I knew that the gooseberries were laden with pectin, the agent in fruit that makes a jam set. I also knew the jam sugar I was using was laden with the stuff too. In the end, in a true culinary punk fashion I decided to wing it a bit.

The smell in the house as the mixture boiled up was something special. Like distilled English summer rising up from the pot, the only thing missing the tang of cut grass, luckily the mixture was a brilliant green to make up for the fact. The pots are cooling in the kitchen, but I couldn't resist a quick taster. The taste of sunshine and wildflowers. Something of a success.


Bonnie said...

Hrmmm I'm quite envious of your bright green jam. I made gooseberry cordial last night and it turned pink. Pink like that barley and grapefruit squash stuff to makes your water not taste like water.

I wonder why it did that. Any ideas?

L Vanel said...

Felicitations. Very good choice. I have wonderful childhood memories of gooseberries and never see them here. Be sure to tell us how it turns out. L