A husband and wife team. Yusuf is a professional chef, Clarissa is a designer, events organiser and very good cook. Regular supper clubs in Norfolk, Suffolk, Devon and London. For bookings and event information email unthanksupperclub@gmail.com

Monday, 17 September 2012

Sweet, Tart, Hot, Cold, Crunchy, Soft. AKA The perfect September pudding.

This month I am cooking bang on season, food gathered if not from my own garden, then from gardens or hedgerows very close to home. My 'suppliers' are not often usual. There is a man in the village I live in who I like to call 'Danger Shorts'. If you remember Danger Mouse the cartoon, it has a brilliant intro song that I hum as I see him cycle past our cottage to his honesty shop. He is is prolific gardener and grows lots of fruit and vegetables every year and sells them in a little home made shack on wheels in the heart of the village. He charges 50 pence for a huge bag of runner beans which is bloody brill! He also on a hot day, wears rather dangerous shorts whilst riding his bike and on more than one occasion I have seen slightly more than is polite. (Insert plum jokes here)....

I forage for fruit at this time of year, there are trees and bushes all over the area full of fruit. Lots of it sinks back into the earth or is eaten by birds, so I feel an urgency to stock up and hoard as much as the season will let me. (No I don't make jam I really can't be arsed! way too 1950's for my liking) We also have a lovely egg lady who lives very close and I by and eat eggs that have been laid that same day. I often moan about living so rurally, I miss popping out for a coffee and the rich diversity of London life, but, it is this time of year my grump with the solitude wanes and I thoroughly enjoy my surroundings.
Ingredients for a September pudding

The blackberries are kicking off! There are some rampant bushes not far from home and I have had an urgent picking frenzy every day since the berries became black, fat and juicy. I have been mainly eating them raw for breakfast, my small boy and I have made crumbles and tarts and I served some at our supper club on Friday in which I made what I like to feel is my perfect pudding. I say 'my'...because I like a few things from a pudding. I like hot and cold, sweet and tart, soft and crunchy. All on one plate.
Blackberries from Norfolk
I find it hard to devise a pudding that is just one thing. I like to push my spoon around the plate and pick from a little selection of things. Similar I suppose to my liking of the South East Asian balance of flavours; hot, sweet, salty and sour. I like this principal in puddings. If I make a crumble it has to be both sweet and tart, crunchy and a bit salty, with a massive splodge of cold cream, ice cream or hot custard...if I am super honest ice cream AND hot custard. This is the reason I rarely eat puddings! 

With all of this in mind, and beautiful local ingredients, blackberries, eggs, lavender, roses and elderberries I made what for me is the perfect pudding. It's not neat or cheffy, it is quite pretty though. All elements were at their most perfect and beautiful when picked. The roses in youthful bloom, petals firm and plump and perfect. The lavender neat and tight and hugely fragrant (approach with caution when using lavender in puddings a little goes a long way, my first ever batch of lavender meringues was like an elderly ladies toilet bag). The elderberries where weighing their branches heavy with shiny black berries and the eggs were laid that morning and tart small apples from my tiny orchard of three apples trees.
Caramel apples with lavender meringue, whipped cream, elderberry syrup, blackberries and crystallised rose petals.
Sweet, tart, hot, cold, crunchy and soft.

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