‘Here we go making mulberry gin….’

Food & Cooking

My morning sortie to gather a bowlful of mulberries for breakfast (actually, forget the bowl.  Mulberries go directly to mouth) has suddenly got much harder.  Autumn’s in the air as I traipse across the dewy grass.  The mulberries are fewer.

The mulberry tree still bears fruit.

This isn’t just the fault of the weather.  We have some new residents in the garden.  A family of moorhens: mum, dad, and five chicks.  They like mulberries too.  The windfalls that used to be mine, all mine, are now theirs, all theirs.  But who could begrudge such charming tenants?

 

Anyway, I suddenly realised that if we were going to have our much talked-of mulberry gin in time for Christmas, we needed to act.  We had a houseful of helpers.  Not just Malcolm, but Emily and her boyfriend Miquel, over from Barcelona.

Out came the bowls.  Out came the small steps.  Out came the team.  We stripped the tree of any berries that were ripe enough to fall into our hands, as the moorhen chicks cheeped and protested from their lair in the flowerbed.

Emily concentrates on the task in hand.

The rest was easy.  Wash the berries.  Half fill an empty bottle with gin.  Poke berries into bottle.  Add sugar.  Argue about whether to follow the recipe that suggests adding a handful of roasted almonds or not.  Decide to leave almonds out today, but add them to the next batch.  Screw cap on bottle.  Shake.  Place in cupboard with note to self to shake bottle daily for a couple of weeks, then wait for months.  That’s it.  Tidy up.  Before Christmas we’ll strain off the gin, re-bottle it … and look forward to sampling it on Christmas Day.

How many people does it take to fill a mulberry gin bottle?

Or … if you’re on our Christmas present list, you might get a bottle too.

Mulberry gin in the making.

Snapshot Saturday: Mulberries for the taking

Food & Cooking, Gardens, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The mulberry tree outside the study window.

See this tree?  I look at it every day, from the study window.  As trees go, it’s not so special to look at.  But for two months in summer it gives satisfaction to three households, by providing them with mulberries, day after day after day.

Mulberries ripe and under ripe.

Although they grow on trees, mulberries are a bit like loganberries, or a cross between raspberries and blackberries.  They’re tart, yet sweet, and very moreish indeed.  I can’t pass the tree without scavenging on the lawn for a handful to eat.

Yet another bowlful of mulberries

I collect a dishful every morning to put on my cereal. We add them to summer pudding, to yoghurt, to ice cream. We bake with them. We make syrups, cordials and mulberry gin with them. And the tree goes on and on, producing more and more fruits, every day from July to September.

The birds ignore them.  We don’t.  Such a satisfying job, collecting our daily ration of free fruit.

Here’s a recipe I tried out this week.  It’s adapted from one of Nigel Slater’s reliably tasty offerings.  No mulberries?  Poor you.  Use raspberries, tayberries, loganberries or blackberries instead. They’ll be good too.

Mulberry and apricot cake

  • 175 g. butter
  • 175 g. golden caster sugar
  • c. 200 g. apricots
  • 170 g. mulberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g. self-raising flour
  • 100 g. ground nuts – I used a mixture of walnuts and almonds.  Hazelnuts are good too.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk.

20 cm. loose-bottomed cake tin, lined.  Oven temp 180 degrees (Gas 4)

  1. Stone and roughly chop the apricots.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs lightly and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour if necessary to prevent curdling.
  4. Slowly incorporate the flour and ground nuts, then the milk, then the apricots and mulberries.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the cake tin.  I added a few extra mulberries on the top  – this was decoration enough on the finished cake.
  6. Bake for an hour and ten minutes.  Test with a skewer.
  7. Leave to cool, then turn out onto a plate.  Eat.

    Someone’s been eating my mulberry cake ….

And that’s my offering for this week’s WordPress photo challenge: satisfaction