Tart with a heart: Skye Gyngell cooks with gooseberries

Tart and barely sweet at all, gooseberries are part of the genus known as Ribes, whose other family members include black-, red- and whitecurrants. They look wonderful – pale green with what seem like fine veins running through their flesh – and are best cooked, for they are nearly always eye-squintingly sour when served raw. They are beautiful in fools, mousses, jams – and obligatory in a proper summer pudding. A smoky, dark chocolate cake is a less expected use of them, but delicious with the berries' sharpness.

I like to make drinks with gooseberries, too, and if you are so inclined, you can cook them with a little sugar and vinegar and serve them alongside game... though I confess that this isn't to my taste.

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

Rich chocolate cake with gooseberries and candied clementines

The sweet, candied, sticky texture of the clementines completes this dish of rich and sharp contrasts. Serve with plenty of whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Makes 10 slices

325g/11oz unsalted butter
650g/11/4lb good-quality dark chocolate
8 whole eggs
500g/1lb gooseberries
200g/7oz caster sugar
A small pinch of salt
A few drops of lemon juice
Candied clementine peel

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7 and line a 12in x 2in cake tin with parchment paper. Slice the butter into cubes and break the chocolate into small pieces. Melt together in a bowl over a pan of hot water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the hot water underneath. Once the butter and chocolate have melted, stir together well, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Stir in the eggs one by one, beating after each addition – it may look a little curdled at the beginning but this is nothing to worry about, just keep stirring and it will come together. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Prepare the gooseberries as per the fool recipe, right, and place in a saucepan with the sugar. Cook for about 10 minutes over a low heat, until the sugar has melted and the gooseberries break up. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, then squeeze over the lemon juice, add a small pinch of salt, stir to combine and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Slice a little candied peel and stir through the gooseberries. Serve with slices of the cake.

Gooseberry fool

A good fool is light as air, not too sweet and beautifully clean in taste. It is possible to use any of the soft summer fruits – simply poach in a sugar syrup until the fruit begins to burst and bleed, then gently whip some cream until it is just thick enough to hold the fruit. This combination of strawberries and gooseberries is very nice – the strawberries are not cooked, just barely crushed to allow their lovely flavour to shine through.

Serves 6

500g/1lb gooseberries
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 punnet of strawberries
300ml/10fl oz double cream

Wash and pat dry the gooseberries, then remove any sharp stems and wipe clean using a tea-towel to remove any spiky bits that are sometimes to be found on their outer flesh.

Place in a saucepan along with the icing sugar over a low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit begins to soften and gently bursts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill.

Hull the strawberries and place in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the strawberries just until they begin to exude their juice. Place in the fridge to chill. Just before serving, whip the cream very lightly until soft peaks begin to form. Stir through half the gooseberries and strawberries, and spoon into a serving bowl. Spoon the rest of the fruit over the top and return to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or so before serving.

Gooseberry nectar

It is surprising how the vibrant green of raw gooseberries transforms to a lovely pale yellowy-orange once they are cooked and strained. This drink is thick like nectar and needs to be served very well chilled; if you prefer something lighter, simply add a little sparkling or still water before serving. This is best made on the day of serving.

Makes about 6 glasses

1kg/2lb gooseberries
1 cup/200g of caster sugar
2 cups/500ml of water

Wash the gooseberries and place in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, then simply remove from the heat and pass through a strainer, pressing down firmly with the back of a ladle to push as much of the fruit through as possible. Allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge to chill. Serve in chilled glasses with a sprig of lemon verbena if you happen to have some in your garden, or simply as it is.

Suggested Topics
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before