Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Something for nothing …

... not often that you get to put this into practice, but after a recent visit by family members I’ve got a great little way to do this and get you out of the pub for a couple of hours.

It’s easy really, get in your car, head out of town and when you come across the first stretch of brambles go blackberry picking!

A 5 year old and I picked 2kg of blackberries in just over half an hour – and at 56.3p/100gms (Asda price at time of writing) this amounts to over £10 of free stock.

The down side? A few scratches and a couple of quid petrol money, the latter I would put down to stress therapy rather than food costs.

The upside? A break from the pub, some fresh air and enough blackberries to freeze (for later in the year) and some to make a blackberry and apple crumble for the pub that day.

(By the way blackberries will cost you as much as three times the current summer price when they are out of season – so this brief stint of foraging could potentially be worth £30!)

Here’s the recipe I use for making a perfect crumble that yields 8 portions:

For the fruit: 300gm blackberries, 900gm cooking apples (four decent sized Bramleys will do) the juice of two lemons & 175gm caster sugar.

For the crumble: 560gm self-raising flour, 280gm brown sugar and 280gm of cooking margarine.

To serve: 50ml of double cream or 100ml custard or 100ml of ice cream.

Total cost: Shop bought 54p a portion (68p when out of season) or 33p when you go blackberry picking

Selling at 70% GP gives you a sale price of £2.30 (shop bought) £1.40 (foraged); 80% GP gives you £3.45 and £2.10 respectively.


Chop apple in to small dice, combine with lemon juice and bring to boil in 200ml of water; simmer for 10 minutes, strain and reserve the apples.

Wash blackberries and ensure all stalks etc removed; place blackberries and reserved cooked apple in a bowl and gently combine with the caster sugar, being careful not to break the blackberries; place in an oven proof dish (or split between two if you don’t have a large enough one).

Now make the crumble by combining the flour, brown sugar and margarine in a bowl (I use my hands for this) until you create a crumble mix to your liking.

Cover the fruit mix with the crumble mix and place the dish in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4) – cook for 40 minutes.

Much better than any crumble supplied by any third party, home-made with provenance and a great return.

As the meerkats are want to say – simples!