I bought a new juicing machine a couple of years ago. It's a big brute and spends much of the time skulking at the back of a kitchen cupboard. But from now until the end of autumn it will be out on the worktop earning its keep.
I've picked a bucketful of gooseberries, no need to top and tail, just a quick wash and then down the chute of the juicer. The result is a clear liquid with a frothy green head, perfect for making gooseberry fool.
Sweeten the fruit liquid from a pound or more of gooseberries with elderflower cordial, to taste. ('Almost a Spell', June.) Heat in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of cornflour until slightly thickened - this gives a firmer, blancmange-like consistency to the fool.
Fold in 1/4 pint cold, thick custard and 1/4 pint whipped double cream.
Mix thoroughly and chill in the fridge.
My black-currant bush, 'Ben Sarek' variety, was given as a present by my friend, Molly, when we moved to this house. It is wonderfully prolific, providing fruit for juice and jam and the freezer. Homemade black-currant icecream is a family favourite, it is a wonderful colour and full of flavour.
1 lb fruit, juiced
6 oz sugar boiled in 150 ml water
half pint double cream, lightly whipped. Churn all together and freeze.
The walnut tree is weighed down with nuts, this is the heaviest crop for many years. There is little point in getting excited because as soon as the nuts are ripe the squirrels will arrive and work hard until they have stolen the lot. They put on an impressive high wire act to avoid the frustrated, waving human and barking dog on the lawn below. When we are not around they bury their spoils in the vegetable garden and my plant pots. Walnut tree saplings pop up in the most surprising places.
We bought a humane trap, but it's of no interest whatsoever to the squirrels. I suppose that I could foil them by picking the green nuts now for pickling, but we don't eat pickled walnuts, so what's the point?