I will persevere!

Whilst in the French Alps I played with the making of Sourdough Bread. One might wonder why this is proving such a novelty or difficulty. People make sourdough bread all the time! So what is the problem?

I have my lovely starter but the elusive dough or bread remained a mystery.

The reason being ALTITUDE! Yeast, Bread, Baking, Cakes, they all react very differently to being made at Altitude.

I already knew the set of rules regarding cakes etc but didn’t really realise what the difference would be with bread and actually it is crucial.

However, as my starter was beautiful, I decided to freeze until we are here sometime in the future.

Life here in the mountains was very quiet ( well maybe not so quiet with three grandchildren around, especially the smaller one who at 5 years old is very noisy !)

Parents have been working from home, but have made the most of using Dave’s Gym ( small private gym) and Lac de Montriond, a mountain lake that has a surface area of 32 Ha. With a depth of 62 feet. This beautiful lake was formed several hundred years ago and is a popular tourist spot in the summer, with swimming, sailing, paddle boarding and horse riding on offer. Our lodgers on the other hand chose to swim it 2-3 times ( only 1.3 kms long and cold! Wet suit is really needed).

According to Rick Stein, the French do have Sourdough bread, or at least their version of it. It is called Pain de Campagne, but the general consensus is, that it doesn’t quiet hack it!Usually pretty small and do not on any account use the wonderful bread cutting machines, that will be found in all Boulangerie and even supermarkets. The slices will be far too thin and not at all satisfying.

This loaf I bought in the UK and is so much better. But what about the rules for baking at Altitude?

Most of us do not encounter these problems, but number 1 daughter did, when she lived in Mexico City. For the uninitiated Mexico City sits at 2400 metres which is about a mile and half, ( almost 8,000feet) so pretty high !

Lower Air pressure at high elevation causes air bubbles trapped to rise at a faster rate, resulting in either uprisen cake/ bread or dry or both.

To combat this proportions need to be changed as well as the oven temperature, at heights over 3;500 feet the oven needs to be at least 25 F higher than at sea level. Baking powder needs to be reduced, as does sugar, liquids need to be increased and certainly for anything over 7,000 feet these ingredients need considerable alteration as well as the baking time!

Then of course there is the flour. When I lived in Belgium I have part of The Hints class to American expats. My job was food and food related subjects. I was actually astounded that many of them were very naive about the food and country in which they were living. They too were astounded that a packet of frozen assorted, deep fried nibbles had horse meat in them! And why not ?

Many of them would trot off to Antwerp to the Robber Lady, who as an enterprising Belgian, imported American food stuffs ( flour included) and sold them on at exorbitant prices. But then again, there was the English equivalent, who many of the Brits could not live without. For me shopping in Belgium was a revelation, after Germany, where I found the shops rather dull, but now I find food in London just amazing, it’s availability and quality.

But I digress, yes flour is different, here we talk of strong flour ( bread flour) whereas in France they sell flour by numbers, and Baguettes are made with a Lean Flour, which is why they go stale quickly. Even so I bought the French equivalent of Bread Flour, but failed miserably to make a decent loaf and froze my Sourdough Starter for my return ( whenever that maybe.)

However help is at hand. I have a bread machine in France, for which I use a bread mix! Cheating I know, but when faced with driving down 7 snow covered hairpins, just to buy some bread it comes into its own. BINGO, whilst perusing a Lakeland catalogue, I came across Sourdough mix for Bread Machines, so I bought a bunch, already for our next French sortie! Cheating , I know, but when needs must !

166 Days ( early September 2020)

Iv’e just counted up! It is 166 days, since we were incarcerated! That is 166 x 3 equals 498 meals and for the most part meals for 2. Luckily it can be discounted a tad, as we don’t really “DO” lunch, but nonetheless it can be bread and cheese or a cup of soup ( homemade of course). It can also be discounted somewhat as we have dinner out, but just the once whilst in France ( thank you grandkids) and have had two Take Aways or rather called Take Ins! One a success from a Michelin starred Indian and one a disaster from a supposedly top Mexican Chef.

Otherwise it has been Dine at Home. And for the most part me. The exceptions being , Himself, once a week has created, very nicely done, thank you and whilst in France ( basically 5;weeks) we were 7, (and eldest daughter contributed ) and that equates to a lot of food !

When I think of grocery shopping, for me it has been easy, having cracked Waitrose booking system and now I have suppliers for Fish ( now three sources) fruit and vegetables several sources, wine a couple, and so on, but thinking back to my childhood, how did the housewives manage? Perhaps no refrigeration, no delivery service and a family to feed plus do all the housework, AND with no Mod Cons! How did my mother in law feed 5 growing boys? For that one has to admire her.

And so here we are, still at home and having taken much of the contents of my freezer to France this summer, I am in the process of restocking. I have tried an alternative fish company, as recommended by my neighbour Bob, Chapman’s. I would say about the same quality of fish and service as Ish Fish but with a better selection. In this latest delivery I was pleased to see that I could get skate wings, if you have never tried Skate, then for me it is a must. When we lived in Brussels I could get Skate wings from a Frozen food supplier and guess where they came from? The USA, Florida to be precise. I think Americans look upon Skate more as Sting Ray rather than a fish to eat.

This time around, from my new supplier I bought Hake, Skate and mackerel fillets ( for himself). Then from, Chalk Stream, trout farm I bought 12 trouts, all of which come vacuum packed ready to freeze and finally from Watts Farm, 2 large packs of fish pie mix, some of which I have already used to make fish curry.

This week, Himself had a birthday, and as were were not going out, I asked ( unusual for me) what he would like for his birthday dinner. The answer, Trout! As I has taken previously some trout to France, I had time to work out the best way to cook them on a Barbeque. The answer, actually was very simple. En papillote or rather fish wrapped in paper. This way the fish cooks beautifully, skin doesn’t stick, to grill or fish basket and little or no cleaning to do afterwards.

Very simply take a sheet of greaseproof paper, grease it with some olive oil, place the fish on it and make it like an envelope. Seal ( I stapled them shut). You could put some lemon or onion slices along with some dill in along with the trout. Place on a hot BQ grill and cook for about 10-15 mins. Do no turn over, all the juices will run out, but after 10 mins open the envelope a little and insert a fork or knife. If it slides in easily, then the fish is done.

Remove from the grill, and carefully tip put the fish onto a plate, then the underside will become the top, and it will be a really nice golden colour.

Serve with a salad or as I did, a mix of sautéed peppers, along with some anchovy butter.

As it was his birthday, Willowy Brunette had baked him a cake. A very moist Coconut cake with chocolate ganache icing.

Back in London, Second half August 2020

Back in London, meant grocery shopping. I’m completely Off the idea. Hello, Online, here I come again.

Firstly, Watts Farm, and I am in love with Watts Farm. Apart from going to a Farm shop, where else do you find, home grown Baby Gem lettuce with soil on ? And nowadays, all the fruit ( and vegetables) sold in the supermarket fits into the supermarkets set criteria, carrots of a certain length, tomatoes a certain size, no wonky apples or potatoes. So what did I find on the Watts Web site, basically windfall apricots! Joy oh Joy.

Why the Joy? I always make Jam whilst in France in the summer, but this year I failed miserably, due in part to having my three eldest grandkids and parents with us for 5 wonderful weeks. We lived in our remote family bubble and it was fun.

Why do I have to make Apricot Jam?

Well, historically soon after we were married ( like the next week) Himself decamped to work in Germany and I flew off to Hong Kong and various other places. Breakfast in his hotel consisted of Brötchen ( lovely bread rolls) along with Apricot Jam. Fast forward 3 years and He is now with a different company and is working in France and staying in the company hotel, in the wilds of Normandy. Days long before internet, days long before self dial on a telephone, I tried telephoning , via the operator. Unfortunately I did not have a telephone number, but I did have the name of the hotel, or so I thought. Operator, please connect me to the Hotel, Les Célibataires, the Bachelors. No such hotel I am told. No, the hotel was actually called, Hôtel de la Petit Campagne, but called otherwise, because the only people allowed to stay there, were the young ( male) engineers. And guess what was for breakfast? Apricot Jam this time with baguette and croissants. The rule regarding who could stay there, changed soon after, when I stayed there as well, along with two small daughters! I remember one Christmas party held at the hotel. I was very pregnant and then it was acceptable to drink, as the waiters constantly filled my glass, with the words ” Pour Le Bébé. The hotel no longer exist !

So, I had almost two kilos of the equivalent of Windfall apricots and therefore it was Jam making time.

Jam is very easy to make, just a couple of things to watch. Jam sets at 220 F, 104C.

Don’t think that you can turn the heat up high and in no time at all it will be at the right temperature, because it won’t and in the meantime you will have a burnt on mess in the bottom of your pan. A cooking thermometer is a good investment.

Basically for most fruits it is equal quantities of fruit and sugar. Again it is possible to buy preserving sugar as this has added pectin to help the jam set more easily. Some fruits contain enough pectin naturally whilst others , like strawberries need a little help, usually in the form of added lemon juice.

Wash clean and destone the fruit. Put in a sturdy pan along with the sugar, juice ( and zest if wanted ) of one or two lemons or limes. Bring to the boil slowly and let it bubble away , stirring from time to time, until the correct temperature is reached. Using a thermometer, takes away any guess work. Remove from the heat and add about 2 Oz of butter, this will get rid of any foam that might have formed.

Meanwhile you will have sterilised your jars. Using a microwave overnight is a good way to do this. Half fill one jar with water , put in a microwave on high and let the water in the jar come to the boil. Remove, being careful and tip out the water and drain the jar on paper towel, leave upside down until ready to use. For the lids, put into a bowl and cover them with boiling water until ready to use.

Making sure the jars are clean and dry, ladle the jam into the jars and seal immediately with the dry lids, wipe off any spillage and leave to cool. When cool clean the outside of the jars, label and store!So if you fancy giving it a go, combined with a walk in the countryside, go blackberrying, and make some Bramble Jam, good luck !

La Vie est Simple ( August 2020)

La vie est simple, especially when in the French Alps. We escaped to France only after Boris ( our prime minister) said we could. Unfortunately this was to be rescinded fairly quickly, but never mind. Here we were isolated living in our extended family bubble. Daughter, Son in Law and three grandchildren aged 5- 12 ( almost 13 as he reminded us constantly).

Popi was on Breakfast duty , nothing too much trouble, but usually pancakes maybe scrambled eggs or fried eggs on toast. Me, for the most part on dinner duty , feeding 7 on a daily basis long forgotten.

Son in Law worked from home, commandeered one bedroom for his office and worked 12 hour days. Willowy blond also worked from home but made the most of her credentials to do some press trips whilst here. Mountain biking, ( many bruises) trip to Les Arcs with the kids, foraging, hiking, bivouacking with the big kids deep in the forest and Paragliding. What an adventure filled summer for them. Not forgetting the lacs, for swimming, boating, paddle boarding and the socially distanced WiBit, a giant bouncy castle thing in the middle of a lake. Dave’s gym ( private) came in very useful for the parents as did long distance swimming in the beautiful Lac de Montriond or running to the top of Mont Chery

Our occupation other than grandkids was some golf, usually on the top of our mountain in which the challenge is to see how many balls one doesn’t lose !

But seriously La Vie est Simple here. A hamlet of 10 houses up 7 hairpins. Somewhere, where in times past was the norm, doors are not locked and windows left open.

Normally whilst here in the summer I would make jam of some sort. However jam stocks are fairly high and inspiration was when #1 daughter gave me the goods found on her foraging trip. Rowan Berries. Rowan trees are everywhere and at this time of year adorned in orange berries. Beautiful in the winter as well, as the berries have turned red and look stunning when the trees are snow covered.

Unbeknownst to me, these berries make a wonderful jelly which is best served with game such as venison. Consequently I had to make some with the donated berries. As with all jam making it is not difficult and a jam thermometer makes life much easier.

I used equal quantities of berries, apples and sugar , about the same amount of water and the juice of two lemons.

Pick over the berries, cut the apples but do not peel, as the peel contains pectin essential for setting. Put the fruit, juice and water into a pan and simmer gently until the fruit is really soft. Pour into a Jelly bag and let it drain. No Jelly bag, no problem and pair of clean old tights will do the job just as well. Leave the fruit draining and dripping until it drips no more. Pour the juice into a saucepans add the sugar and heat to approximately 100 C. Watch out that it doesn’t boil over, easily done!!!

Skim the jelly, and pot in sterilised jars as quickly as possible.

Then eat with either some game, or with cheese! Sounds good to me, next summer I’ll go foraging myself!

Bread and beyond

I have found bread here to be a bit of a problem, Baguettes, are fine, as long as use them within a couple of hours, any longer than that, then stale. Bread prices are fixed by the state, that is, run of the mill bread but anything more than that then, the baker can charge what he likes. I always thought that sourdough, as we know it in the UK was something of an anathema, but apparently not, Pain de Campagne is the French equivalent. So I have set to, to discover how to bake this, ( and I’m not really a baker) results will follow!

Meanwhile our youngest visitor made cup cakes with pink, white and silver sprinkles.

Using an All In One method, he made a victoria sandwich mixture , put into cup cake cases and baked, iced and decorated with the said sprinkles.

I am a great believer in The All In One Method. I think as I have previously said,this I taught to very underprivileged kids in Vauxhall, almost 50 years ago. It is simple, easy to follow and works well. When I see a current recipe saying exactly as they did 50 years ago ” cream the fat with the sugar, add the beaten eggs and sift in the flour, I cringe. Actually if you look in Mrs. Beetons or any cook book from the 1800’s to the present day, the recipe basically remains the same as does the method.

Mrs Beaton 1861

In “The Great British Bake Off ” book (2011) the recipe as as always, starting with cream the butter and sugar. The only book I have found that contains the modern method is “How to Cook” by Nigella Lawson. I have not been a fan of hers but she does try to keep thin simple. Formally, when the UK used Pounds and ounces, this recipe was easy to remember as we used equal amounts of fat, sugar, flour and eggs, ie 4 Oz each of flour, butter and sugar and 2 eggs, but now we have to remember the the number of grams. I find that many of my books are still in Imperial, others in Metric and still others are American, using cups as the basic measurement.

For a basic Victoria Sandwich or for cup cakes the ingredients are:-

  1. 125 grms each soft butter, caster sugar, self raising flour.
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 2tabspoons milk
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder

Normally you wouldn’t use baking powder as well as self raising flour, but without the beating by hand mixing the mixture just needs a little help to rise.

Very simply put the butter and sugar into a food processor and give it a quick wizz to blend. Add the flour, eggs and baking powder, another quick blitz and with the motor still running pour in the milk.

Sam enjoying the extra cake mix !

Spoon into cases ( they really need to be stood in a muffin tin, otherwise they will collapse) and bake at 160 fan, 180 normal oven for about 20 mins. Cool and decorate.

Sam wanted pink cupcakes, we didn’t have any food colouring but we did have some Grenadine cordial ( grenadine is basically pomegranate) so we added a little of that to the icing sugar, which gave us pale pink and with flavour!Cake decorating skills

1890
1924
1900

These have to be some of my favourites, a hand written book ( it says receipts rather than recipes) has all sorts of information including How to darken grey hair !

1888

I have a collection of old cookery books and here are some of them

End of July 2020

Like French Fashion, French cuisine has held itself up as the Creme de la creme, but in recent times, its star has fallen. Throughout France far too many of the restaurants serve basically the same food, some better than others but innovation seems to have gone out of the window. Too many of them are now “buying in” food that is made elsewhere whether it be the charcuterie or the patisserie or even the mains. And so it is with delight to know that somewhere some chefs are still being a chef and that the words “Fait Maison” really mean something.

This is true in our bit of France. Claire in our Hamlet at her little La Ratelli, doesn’t have a clue, which is a shame as we welcomed her when she opened, but her prices are high and her food really not very good. Whereas, in town a young Anglo French couple have really made a go of La Grange. Fred is in the Kitchen and Alex is front of house and 11 years on they are still in business. My only complaint is that the food is very much Savoyard, but then that is what tourists want, I guess!

My favourite, there is the oft mentioned Tarte de l’Abondance. On a recent visit here, I found out that a couple of other cheeses were involved in the making of this delicious tarts, one of which I have never found. So now I use predominantly Abondance, with Beaufort and Comté added to the mix. On my first use of Watts Farm ( Kent) they had as one of their weekly specials, Comté at a ridiculously low price of £9.00 a kilo! ( normally would cost upwards of £35 a kilo). It said ” short shelf life”. I immediately bought 2 kilos of it, cut it into the requisite size for my tart, wrapped and froze. The down side of this of course, is that now two drawers of my freezer are now full of cheese!

Meanwhile grandkids have been busy, a crumble, Rhubarb of course and Banana cake/ bread ! I have been showing them joys of All In One Baking. This came into being in the early 1970’s and I taught in East London schools, back then, I am still surprised that in modern recipes it is rarely used.

We have had so far, Slow roasted pork, with the Rub/ marinade done by Alfie, Singapore Laksa, a noodle and coconut / soup dish, often made with seafood, but we used turkey breast, made by Popi ( Himself), Turkey Fajitas, not truly Mexican but the Salsa and Guacamole made by Willowy blond were, well almost, we were missing the Coriander ( cilantro).

Willowy blond has also been making a yummy salad for lunch. Easy peasy, watermelon, mint and Feta cheese. What could be easier. Of course, mint also is not always available.

Today, is another Ice Lolly day, the 3 oldest grandchildren have been boating, swimming and water fighting with the three kids also visiting their grandparents next door. Language with water guns, is not a problem!

August 2020

WE HAVE ESCAPED!

Yes we really have. We have run away from London to the French Alps and our mountain home. Just in the nick of time too as other escapees in the form of number one daughter and family arrived the following day. They might have beaten us to it, except that two of the kids passports were stuck in the back log, caused by COVID and the need for them to be BLUE !

Eleven hours door to door, an early morning trip along embankment, Blackwell Tunnel , to another tunnel. Le Tunnel sous La Manche! Forty Five minutes later one finds oneself on almost deserted autoroutes. Such an easy drive, facilitated by having a tag to get through the gare de péage ( toll). Sharing the driving was easy and time flew by listening to Mary Trumps book. Not a great read, but good to listen to, what a dysfunctional family, but she does have an axe to grind!

Thank heavens we only have a midges didge of garden as what there is, seriously needs attending to. Use of a saw, springs to mind, maybe we can put grandkids to work! Now there’s a thought !

When in France I tend to play in the kitchen so, today it is ice lollies for said grandkids and homemade Halloumi. This is the first time that I have tried to make it, I saw that a friend had made it a few weeks ago and I asked her for instructions. First attempt, not been successful, more like cottage cheese rather than Halloumi, but will give it another go.

Last night, I decided that I needed to use two avocados, that were sitting in the fruit bowl. What could I use them for, I pondered, and inspiration came to me, Avocado and Coconut Ice Cream. So easy to make, better if one has an ice cream machine but it doesn’t matter if not.

For servings 6+

  1. 1cup thick cream
  2. 1cup coconut cream
  3. 1cup coconut milk
  4. 2 avocados
  5. 1/2fine white sugar (caster)
  6. Juice half lemon
  7. Toasted coconut flakes or almonds to garnish.

By Cup, I mean the American measurement, but for this recipe it doesn’t matter as long as the cup you use is the same for all of the ingredients.

Very simply, put all into a food processor and process until a beautiful mush, tip into a container and freeze. It is best to give it a stir now and again during freezing to break up the ice crystals.

Very easy, no eggs, no special equipment ( apart from a freezer). A marriage made in heaven ? Well almost!

And then today, I though of another easy ice cream to make, and this time even better without an ice cream machine.

Raspberry Ripple.

To make this you will need, equal quantities of double cream and cooked condensed milk. For those of you who don’t know, the famous or infamous Banofee Pie is based on Cooked condensed milk.

This is done very simply by filling a deep medium saucepan with water. Bring to the boil. Carefully place the can in the saucepan, ensuring there’s enough water to completely cover the can at all times, topping up water frequently throughout the cooking process. Simmer, uncovered for 3 hours.

Leave to get cold before using and can be stored for AGES in the pantry.

Simply, whipp the cream until stiff, add the cooked condensed milk and mix well. Place into a container in the freezer. After a couple of hours give it a stir. Meanwhile purée some frozen defrosted raspberries, drain to remove the pips, sweeten with some powdered sweetener and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When the ice cream is beginning to get stiff, stir in some of the raspberry purée, mix in roughly, return to freezer. Repeat again and then again just before serving.

This ice cream is good to look at , has the sweetness of raspberries and hidden little crunchy bits of caramel from the cooked condensed milk!

Midway through July, 2020

I wonder what history will say about the Pandemic after (if) a vaccine has been found and life returns to albeit maybe a different form of normality . Hats off to all the companies and individuals who have been more than creative by setting up online, delivery companies, from fish and meat to fruit and vegetables, to cakes and pastries, and well to almost anything. Of course Amazon has benefitted greatly from all of the online purchases, but I am thinking more of the small people who have needed to make a living, and have been innovative indeed, to young Sophie who has turned her chefs training to making sourdough bread and wonderful macaroons, to all of the restaurants who have continued cooking and now do home delivery. In the words of an old saying, The Butcher, The Baker and the Candlestick Maker.

So, for me someone who really likes grocery shopping, this has been a totally new experience and I am hooked! Why traipse off to Billingsgate Fish Market at 6 am on a Saturday ( one really has to drive there) or any day at 5 am to Smithfield, the meat market, when it can be delivered to your door? No more gutting and filleting 30 sea bass, no more slicing 2 kilos of Ribeye into individual steaks ! And no more lugging of shopping bags up to the 6 th floor ( to be honest, Himself does the lugging, not me) . Distilled water, bug spray, computer paper, toilet paper, all just appears at my front door ! A Miracle!

On rummaging in the freezer the other night wondering what to have for dinner, and actually not really a rummage, as I do know what is there, and where it is. I decided on Sea Bass and squid. Two beautiful Sae Bass fillets and a small bag of squid, would do the trick.

The Sea Bass was already prepared, the squid needed cleaning quickly done.

Then all I had to do was to heat some olive oil in a pan , a quick light dusting of flour,pop p the fish skin side down and on a medium heat sauté them until the upper side turned opaque, fish is cooked and skin crispy.

Squid, dusted with a little flour, popped into another pan with hot oil in and quickly cooked, a quick stir and again done.

Himself had this with some of the cauliflower gratiné that came out of the freezer, a squirt of lemon juice or a smear of the anchovy butter from the freezer and dinner was soon done.On a slightly different note a lovely visit to Kew Gardens on Friday, and with the restrictions on numbers was just lovely. Here is a photo of my Finchley crew in the Hive !

119 days, and we are still going strong Mid July 2020

Although things like hairdressers and nail salons, restaurants and bars, and soon gyms and out door pools, are opening, (but don’t do the butterfly, too many viruses will leap around as well) and men can get their beard trimmed but women can’t get their eyebrows sorted! All done with a snap of fingers and Boris seems to think it all a bit funny, having a giggle at beauty parlours! But Hey Ho, I’m not going any where, any time soon.

I had my delivery from Watts Farm in the week and with it some wonderful fresh Kentish fruit, including Rhubarb ( I know not a fruit) and gooseberries.

We had visitors for the weekend, son and lovely wife and the little girls, a long time no see. Baby Molly was just one month old when last seen and she is now a smiley happy 5 1/2 month old. Joy oh Joy.

We had very simply hamburgers cooked on our new baby gas grill. I ways make my own hamburgers, as I find this in the shops, tasteless and rubbery. I take my minced beef and add a good dollop of butter and mush it in well, likewise with horseradish sauce and Dijon mustard. I then divide the mixture up equally, and I allow +/- 200 grms per person. Then sub divide it into 100 grams pile. Shape the first 100 grams into a patty, put Emmental or gruyere or blue cheese in the middle, add the second 100 grms and finish shaping the patty, Hence a Cheeseburger, without the cheese sliding off the top, all over the grill !

The added fat is important here, as the meat needs it to get a great flavour.

I decided to make a fruit fool for dessert, and no I wished I had bought twice the amount of gooseberries, but what was I to do ? Simple answer, use, a combination, of the Rhubarb and the gooseberries. A quick and very easy dessert, which of course is wonderful with fresh summer fruits, but nowadays can be made year round using frozen.

For 6 people you will need:-

  1. 500 grms fruit, I used gooseberries and rhubarb
  2. 75 grms caster sugar
  3. About 75 mls fruit cordial, I used elderflower , but others are available and No not something like Ribena !
  4. 100 grms double cream
  5. 100 mls full fat yoghurt,
  6. Decoration, mint raspberries, dried raspberry bits etc

Top and tail the gooseberries ( remove the bits at either end of the gooseberries with a sharp knife)

Put the fruit, the sugar and the cordial knot a pan and cook gently until soft, takes. O time at all.

Blend the fruit in either a food processor or with a hand held blender. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the cream until thick, stir in the yoghurt and then the fruit purée . Divide between 6 glasses and decorate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

As a child, it was often my job to top and tail gooseberries. This was done with a kind of scraper which always came with shoe repair kits. Yes, then it was normal for families to do their own minor shoe repairs, rubber heels and soles were the norm. And the kits came with a semi circle rasp, which was perfect for topping and tailing. Today, we no longer repair our own shoes, although I see on Amazon they are still available, but today I use a micro plane to top and tail! How times have changed!