Pick'n'mix: Skye Gyngell cooks with fresh English berries

Could there be anything nicer than ripe English berries? Whether served as they come – perhaps with the smallest sprinkle of sugar and a good dollop of thick Jersey cream – puréed with a simple sugar syrup to make a refreshing cordial or added to prosecco or cava and served as an aperitif, they are perfect to eat right now.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Raspberry prosecco

This is a lovely aperitif for a warm summer's evening.

Serves 6-8

150g/5oz caster sugar
300ml/10fl oz water
1 punnet of raspberries
A bottle of prosecco

Put the sugar and water into a heavy pan and place over a low flame. Stir once or twice and, when the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to high. Cook for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Put the raspberries and cooled sugar syrup into a blender and purée until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove seeds. Place in the fridge to chill. To serve, pour an inch of the syrup into a champagne flute and pour the prosecco on top. Stir gently to combine.

Summer pudding

Just recently I ate the most delicious of all summer puddings in Shanagarry, County Cork, at Ballymaloe House. It was heavily laced with blackcurrants, with tart, sweet, ripe berries colliding to make this most quintessential of English puddings. I like to use a classic sponge to line the mould – but if you prefer to use bread, do choose a good-quality loaf.

The proportions of the fruits used doesn't really matter: what is important is the selection. You need a mix of tart and sweet – so red or blackcurrants are a must, as are raspberries and blackberries.

Serves 6-8

For the sponge base

220g/71/2oz butter
220g/71/2oz caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
220g/71/2oz self-raising flour

For the berry filling

4 punnets raspberries
3 punnets blackberries
2 punnets redcurrants
1 punnet blackcurrants
2 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

To make the sponge, cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually add in the eggs, making sure the mixture doesn't split – you can add in bit of flour if it looks as though it might. Sift in the flour and gently fold in. Spread into two large flat trays and bake for around 12 minutes, or until cooked.

In the meantime, pick over the berries, then place into a bowl. Add the sugar and toss lightly to combine. Now put the berries into a heavy-based, non-reactive saucepan and place over a medium heat. Warm the berries until they soften and become juicy and the sugar has dissolved.

Now put together the pudding: line a bowl with clingfilm, cut a circle from the sponge for the bottom of the bowl, then cut out segments of sponge to line the sides.

Spoon the berries into the lined pudding basin while they are still warm and place a final, whole piece of sponge on top to create, in effect, a lid, patching here and there with smaller pieces to ensure that there are no spaces. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Place a plate on top to help weigh down the fruit and place in the fridge for two hours to allow the pudding to set.

To serve, invert the pudding on to a plate. It should unmould easily. Serve as it is – this blood-red dome looks most beguiling brought to the table – and pass around a jug of pouring cream.

It is imperative that traditional aged balsamic is used – it should be viscous and sweet to complement the ripeness of the strawberries.

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar

Serves 4

600g/11/4lb ripe strawberries
1 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Gently wash the strawberries under cool, running water. Pat dry using a clean dishcloth. Take half the strawberries, hull and chop roughly. Place in a bowl with the icing sugar and mash roughly using a fork. Leaving the stalks on, slice the remaining, whole strawberries in half, then mix all the berries together. Pour over the balsamic and stir well to combine. Arrange in a bowl and serve a little vanilla ice-cream alongside if you like.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little