I have been thinking a lot of all the wonderful seasonal berries, onions, herbs, and other bounty around here that, with a little knowledge, can reap wonderful rewards.
Pickled Walnuts with strong cheddar and crackers
In late spring in Surrey, England, I would pick raspberries, golden gooseberries, and black and red currants, to name but a few. One of my favourites is green walnuts, which I use to make pickled walnuts. Pickled walnuts are served in old traditional pubs, some households and, of course, upmarket delis. They are a little woody in taste, with floral notes, and are beautiful paired with a good, strong, local cheddar. The green walnuts are picked before the shell forms inside. They are slaked in brine and then exposed to the sun for a few days to make sure they are uniformly blackened, and then bottled with spices and malt vinegar. If anyone wants a recipe I will happily send it if requested.
At the end of the summer, my husband and I would collect loads of walnuts for our Christmas pies, puds, and cakes. One such day we trotted down the lane to a big field that hosted many walnut trees. There were many nuts lying on the ground, and I was in heaven. I spotted a large collection underneath some teasel bushes. Teasels are a lot like Scottish thistle when dried. As I bent down, some loose hair got caught in the shrub, and I was stuck. Hubby very nicely yanked me out and when I stood up, oh boy, I resembled a human porcupine! He was very amused … me, not as much. It took a few hours of cutting and combing to get my hair to resemble anything decent.
Back to reality and our beautiful area here in Nelson. We have so much bounty right now. Picking at local farms and buying at roadside stands are wonderful. I picked up some peaches and blueberries recently and decided to make a traditional lattice pie.
Blueberry, Peach, and Nectarine Pie
350g all-purpose flour (2 and ¾ cups)
Pinch of fine salt
225g cold unsalted butter (1 cup)
1 egg + I egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Place flour and salt in a bowl. Grate the butter into the flour. (This way you don’t handle your ingredients too much.) Stir through with a fork. Mix eggs, lemon juice, and brown sugar, and gently stir into the mix until dough holds together. Quickly form into two discs – one using 2/3 of the dough, and the other the remaining 1/3. Wrap each in plastic and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
500g blueberries (about 2 and 2/3 cups)
5 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 peaches or nectarines, stoned and cut into wedges
140g sugar (5/8 cup)
Mix all together and place into fridge while preparing the bottom crust and lattice strips.
Heat oven to 325F and place a large baking tray on the middle shelf. Roll out the larger disc of pastry so there is enough to hang over the sides of a 9-inch pie dish, and gently place it in the dish. Roll out the smaller disc and cut strips to thumb width, and set aside. Pour the fruit filling into the bottom pastry crust, scraping the bowl well. Pat down gently and start placing your strips over the fruit. When complete, crimp the edges together, paint with a little egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until nice and brown. Let cool. The pie will keep for 3 days. Serves 6 big slices or 8 to 10 thinner ones.
Hope you all enjoy the next few weeks until we meet again. Cheers, Bev