England meets Italy and wins – for a change.
300g gooseberries, topped and tailed
100g sugar (vary according to how ripe the fruit is)
More of an assembly job than a recipe, but a delicious pudding or breakfast. Poach the gooseberries with the sugar in a pan until they burst and release all their juices (no water is necessary). Taste and adjust the seasoning (add more sugar if necessary). Allow to cool then serve with fresh ricotta, drizzled with honey. Some toasted hazelnuts wouldn’t go amiss.
A Word on Gooseberries
Gooseberries are one of England’s greatest culinary offerings, and like so many indigenous fruits they really come into their own when cooked. A poached gooseberry has an entirely different, more complex and subtle flavour than a raw one: they yield syrupy pink juices that taste somehow green and tart, a perfect match for the richness of a buttery sponge/crumble topping, or the scented flavour of elderflower. Whether whipped into a fool, nestling under a pie crust or set in a seed-flecked jelly, gooseberries have much to offer the culinary explorer. For some reason, however, they are hugely unpopular. Perhaps this is due to their unsightliness: for the humble and hirsute gooseberry is not blessed in beauty. In fact, as not even the Oxford English Dictionary appears to know where they get their name from I would hazard that some Medieval joker thought they resembled a plucked goose’s bottom and the name stuck. But that’s probably why I’m a chef, and not an etymologist.