Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Brambly Blog

Hey everyone. It's the time of year when the hedgerows are bursting with brambles (aka blackberries) and us bramblers (namely my BFF Euan and myself) are to be found with purple fingers and tell tale purple mouths! It's good fun going hunting for brambles and seeing how many you can get past your mouth and into your tub. In this latest brambly blog I tell you some wonderful bramble facts as well as sharing a lovely recipe which uses them up (along with a few apples from my garden), yum!

Just doing some quality control with my BFF Euan

Did you know...
  • Blackberries (or brambles) are not actually true berries. They are "aggregate fruits". 
  • The thorny stems of the bramble were used as "barbed wire" by ancient Britons!
  • There are over 400 micro-species of brambles across the UK
Some tell tale staining around the mouth!
  • What do you get if you cross a Bramble and a Raspberry? No, it's not a joke. You get a Loganberry!
  • Brambles are a valuable source of food for wildlife and especially birds so make sure you leave a few on  the hedgerow for our feathered friends.
  • Brambles are really invasive so if you want to grow them in your garden make sure you keep them well pruned. 
The bramblers on the hunt

We recommend long sleeved tops when brambling too so you don't get scratched by the jaggy stems.

Obvs, the brambles taste yummy just as a fruit (especially straight off the plant!) Although be careful where you are picking your brambles - you don't want to pick them off a hedgerow at the side of a busy road as they will likely be polluted from traffic fumes, yuck! Brambles are a great fruit for making jams and desserts too. Here is a yummy recipe I helped my Mummy make...

Euan exercises the "one for me, one for the tub" rule!

Bramble and Apple Pie

You will need:

For the shortcrust pastry:
  • 150g cold salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 275g plain flour
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
For the filling:
  • 300g - 500g freshly picked brambles
  • 200g - 300g apples
  • 120g brown sugar
  • Beaten egg or milk, to glaze
To make:

To make the pastry: 
1. Use your fingers to rub the cold butter, flour and icing sugar together. 
2. Add the beaten egg and 1/2 tablespoon water and use your fingers to form the dough into a ball. 
3. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a 23cm/9 inch pie dish.
5. Slice the dough in half and roll out the bottom of the pie on a lightly floured surface. Try not to overwork the pastry - it doesn't matter if it doesn't look perfect.

Me "painting" the pie!

For the filling:
1. Soften the brambles and the apples in a pan over a low heat.
2. Add the sugar.
3. Pour onto the pastry case.
4. Roll out the second half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface and place on top of the fruit. Cut away any excess pastry and crimp the edges with your thumb to seal. 
5. Brush all over the top with lightly beaten egg or some milk. Prick a few holes over the surface and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.



We also made some yummy jam with some of our brambles which I will tell you how to make really soon...

Hugs & kisses,