Glazed Polenta & Almond Cake with Stewed Lemons

IMG_8024The blackberries are dripping off the bushes. The air is heavy with their scent as I walk by, reminding me that I have to get serious about picking them while they’re still plump and sweet. This summer has been so busy; add to that the heat and mosquitoes, and I haven’t really felt the urge to do much picking.

While I still have time for the blackberries, the Transparent Apples are just about done, the horses and cattle getting most of them so far. I need to go out and get enough for half a dozen pies, as they are my favourite pie apples. Mix them with the blackberries, and I’m over the moon! In the cold, dark days of winter, pulling a pie filled with summer fruit from the freezer, and cooking it, not only fills the house with summer smells, but gives us one more chance to eat that sweet summer goodness.

Picking for pies and freezing is a commitment of time that I need to build into an already busy day. But to pick a few cups takes no time at all, to enjoy with ice cream or a baked dessert like this wonderful, very grown up, polenta & almond cake. This citrusy version is a perfect complement to the summer berry crop. Continue reading

Fruit Crisp

Here I am making more fruit dessert!  It is the time of year.  I am still amazed at the flavour that blackberries are still giving us.  No rain, lots of sun – a perfect science!Having just picked our Bartlett Pears today, and still plucking blackberries, I thought I should share the best crisp I’ve ever eaten.  Seriously.  I’ve combined these fruit with Bramley Seedling Apples – an amazing cooking apple.  Transparents work really well in this recipe.  Store apples – well, Galas always do in a pinch, and the lovely Pink Lady’s and Sunrise work well, too.

This recipe started from one of Ina Garten’s.  I’ve rarely made any other crisp once I found it, and now I’ve been baking it for years.  I’ve tweaked it here or there, and it can be made with just a ¼ c lemon juice.  Living on an island, I can’t always follow recipes, I just have to make do!

We’ve made enough for a hundred guests, and portioned it down to just enough for some fruit I had at hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit combinations.  The topping seems to work no matter what!

I usually double the topping, and put the other half in the freezer for those “just in case” times.  It makes a wonderful topping for pies, a great scattering for ice cream, and is amazing to stuff baked apples with. Continue reading

Gateau de Mûre

The end of summer is marked by the bounty of blackberries found on the islands.  We have two types, Himalayan, and the native evergreen variety.  Picking berries in Mt. Lehman when we were growing up, our Uncle Angus set us all out with tins hanging from around our necks with a bit of string.  This left both hands free for holding back the brambles while plucking the ripe berries (and some, not so ripe – after all, we were young).  He would always tell us to leave the evergreen ones for the deer as we would pluck the huge Himalayans.  My husband, Bill, and daughter, Sheila, both prefer the flavour of the evergreen ones, while I still go for the big Himalayans.  But as we all pitch in to pick, my cooking seems to always have a mix of the two.  We have enough on our farm that there’s sure to be lots left for our ever present deer. Continue reading