Recently I found a second-hand copy of , “The Man Who Ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten, a collection of essays from 90s written by the former Vogue Food Critic. In one essay on ripeness of fruit, I learnt that dessert fruits are the ovary of plants, the seed surrounded by flesh. A peach is one ovary, but blackberries like raspberries are loads of ovaries from the same flower fused together. I may have learnt this in my A-Level Biology course but I doubt it, too busy learning the bio-chemical pathways of photosynthesis.
Thankfully learning this small piece of trivia has not ruined my enjoyment of fruit, especially since the blackberries are so early and abundant this year. In a week they all seen to have ripened into clumps of gorgeous purple. They taste as if they have sucked in all the sunshine and swelled in the rain.
Steingarten also writes about the joy of impeccable seasonal food , you wait an entire year for it to arrive and then you overdose. This is certainly true for me for asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli , but some seasonal food like blackberries can be extended without losing taste spread on a baing tray and frozen then popped into bags freeze well .
The weather is stormy at the moment there is nothing more comforting to a Brit than a cup of tea and nothing goes better with tea than a slice of cake.
This recipe is adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe where the plain cake is served with a blackberry sauce. Here the blackberries are in the cake bleeding purple stains through each slice, sweet sour berries much nicer than blueberries. I won’t guarantee that it counts as part of your five a day but it’s delicious
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup caster sugar
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 2/3 cups plain flour
2 tsp teaspoon baking powder
2 large handfuls of blackberry
- Wash the blackberries
- Grease a 1kg loaf tin and preheat the oven to 190degC
- Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, oil & lemon
- Slowly add each egg.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder.
- Pour half the mix into the loaf tin , add half the blackberries
- Pour over the rest of the blackberries and push down each one slightly into the mixture.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until risen and golden