Wednesday, 14 July 2010

An Idea for Blackcurrants and How Our Arms Got Covered in Scratches


A restaurant enjoys many different types of people from all walks of life. We are lucky enough to have many regulars that we can 'swap trades' with.

A few weeks ago, one of our most regular of regulars brought a large group of friends for a meal and during the course of the evening, L got chatting to one couple in particular about travelling in their favourite country - Italy!

As they discussed their mutual passion, it transpired that Mr and Mrs M were off on a five week tour of Europe - lucky for some - and that they had a large garden with a vegetable plot bursting with summer fruits that were ripe for the picking.

One invitation and a few days later we found ourselves at their front door with plastic tubs and bags in hand ready to start picking. By the end of a fun half an hour plucking gooseberries from their branches, our arms were truely covered in scratches. Even the baby had a go, although the one that she did manage to help herself to went straight into her mouth. She made quite short work of the tart berrys flesh with a rather puckered look on her face the whole time.

Mrs M has (thankfully) already picked the blackcurrants and we were more than happy to relieve of them too.

Back at home, and after a good half an hour washing and destalking the fruits, I finally got around to making a little something for us at home before the rest of the harvest made its way to the restaurant.

Having spent so long preparing the berries that morning, a quick and hastle free recipe was definitely required.

This viscous, deep purple cordial is the result of a meer 5 minutes over the stove and a further hour or two of infusing.

Lemongrass Ribena

500g blackcurrants
2 finely chopped stalks of lemon grass
300g caster sugar

Place the currants and lemonsgrass in a pan with 400ml water.
Heat gently, bringing to a simmer and crush the fruit as best you can using a potato masher.
Boil for one minute only before covering and leaving to infuse for up to two hours.
Add the sugar and place the pan back over a low heat. Gently stir to dissolve.
Boil very briefly before straining the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Use a ladle to push as much of the juice through as possible.
The cordial is ready to use straight away and will keep chilled for one month or in the freezer (frozen in small batches) for up to three months.
Dilute to taste.


  1. hi alice! i've just been talking to elle this weekend about your yummy sounding courgette & pistachio cupcakes - i've already asked for the recipe to 'try' ha ha. anyway i just wanted to say i love you blog, please post more recipes! have you seen the 'cook yourself thin' recipe for brownies made with sweet potato? might be something to try!

    look forward to reading lots more! jade x x

  2. Ah thank you - that's really kind. I ought to check that recipe out. Got something special in the works, don't you worry! x x