Sharp and sweet gooseberries are great in savoury dishes, too
Sadly, the two gooseberry bushes we planted in the small flowerbed at the front of our house havent liked their position: one has given up the ghost wholly, while the other is sicklies and barely hanging on. My mothers goosegogs, meanwhile, which were inherited from my grandparents, have survived rubble, two lots of builders and many more indignities, yet they are continuing bear fruit year after year after year. Lifes only not fair sometimes.
I adore gooseberries in a creamy buffoon who doesnt? but they do a good savoury turn, too. Not merely with fish, either: their sharp flavour melds beautifully with herby pork chops, too.
For pudding, more fruit in the shape of an old-fashioned cobbler constructed with khorasan flour, an ancient and wonderfully nutty variety of wheat thats gentler on the digestive system than modern cultivated ones. Ive employed fresh peaches, though I dare say my grandmother would have attained it with tinned in her day, and baked them until just soft and bubbling hot. Theyre just made to be eaten with masses of vanilla ice-cream or doubled cream.
Herby pork chops with warm gooseberry sauce
Use a good free-range or organic chop, if you can it makes a huge difference to the taste and texture, and will, hopefully, be antibiotic-free. Serves four.
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked
A few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
2-4 pork bone-in chops, depending on their size
50 g butter
250 g gooseberries, topped and tailed
3 tbsp sugar
Heat the oven to 200 C/ 390 F/ gas mark 6. Roughly chop the garlic and the herbs together, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest and crushed fennel seeds.
Heat the petroleum in a large frying pan over a medium-high flame and gently season the chops. Once the petroleum is hot, fry the chops for two to three minutes on each side, until golden( if you cant fit all four chops into the pan at the same hour, cook them in two batches ).
Take the pan off the hot and transfer the chops to an oven tray. Add the butter to the still-hot frying pan and, as it melts, scrape up the golden, tasty bits stuck to the base of the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped herb mixture to the pan, so it sizzles briefly in the hot butter, then tip this over the chops, making sure each one gets an equal covering. Roast the chops for eight to 10 minutes( depending on the thickness of your chops ), until the pork is merely cooked through.
While the chops is inside the oven, set the gooseberries, sugar and a splashing of water in a saucepan and put one across a high heat. Cook briskly for four to five minutes, until the gooseberries have just deflated but still keep their shape. Savor, add more sugar if the gooseberries are still sour you dont want a sweet sauce, but you dont want it too unpleasantly sharp, either.
Once the chops are cooked through, take them out of the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, then serve with a good dollop of gooseberries and the herby, buttery cook juices spooned over the top. Delicious with mashed or simmered, buttery potatoes and a sharp rocket salad.
Peach, hazelnut and khorasan cobbler
Read more: www.theguardian.com