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Eat the Seasons - September 2012

In season this month

Fruit, Nuts & Fungi
Apples, blackberries, blueberries, damsons, elderberries, figs, grapes, greengages, loganberries, peaches, pears.  Lots of lovely mushrooms; Porcini, chanterelles, field mushrooms, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, puffballs, giant shaggy ink caps and summer truffles

Vegetables & Herbs
Artichoke, aubergine, beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, French beans, garlic, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkins & squash, rocket, runner beans, salsify, scorzonera, sweetcorn, tomatoes, watercress

Meat & Game
Farmed goose, grouse, mallard, rabbit, wood pigeon

Fish & Shellfish
Black Bream, crab, freshwater crayfish, eels, lobster, mussels, oysters, prawns, mackerel, wild salmon, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, brown and rainbow trout

September marks the end of the summer berry season, and although in theory blackberries should still be around I tend to find in London that they are past their best by now.  However, there are plenty of other fruits to enjoy including apples, wonderful, juicy plums, grapes, figs and pears.  It is also time for pumpkin, squash, kale and leeks to make their debut, and it's the start of the mussel season.  If you like making preserves now is the time to make good use of windfall fruit and late summer veggies.

 

Damson Cobbler

This is a classic English version of a fruit cobbler, a little time consuming (as you need to stew the damsons and remove the stones), but the end result makes it more than worthwhile.

 

Ingredients

  • 2lb (900g) damsons
  • 4oz (100g) caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
  • 6 demerara sugar cubes, crushed coarsely, or 1 heaped teaspoon loose sugar

 

For the topping

  • 8oz (225) plain flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 4oz (110g) ice-cold butter or margarine, cut into chunks
  • 6fl oz (170ml) buttermilk or fresh milk

 

You will also need a baking dish approximately 9” in diameter and 2½” deep (23cm and 6cm deep). 

Method

  1. Stew the fruit in a pan with a little water and sugar until soft, leave to cool and remove the stones – you may want to wear gloves to avoid staining your fingers!
  2. Arrange the damsons, sugar and elderflower cordial in the baking dish.
  3. Place the sifted flour, salt, baking power and butter into a food processor.
  4. Pulse the processor (i.e. turn it on and off quickly) several times until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour in the buttermilk (or milk) and switch on again briefly until you have a thick, very sticky dough.
  6. Spoon tablespoons of the mixture over the fruit – you can do this as haphazardly as you like.
  7. Finally sprinkle the crushed sugar over the top of the dough, and put the dish on a high self in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until it is a crusty golden brown.
  8. Serve it warm from the oven with Ice Cream.