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Behold, the mighty gooseberry crop! I reckon there’s about five pounds there (well, Uncle B weighed them, but I didn’t write it down. Five pounds, close enough). The little dark ones in the back are a sweet purplish dessert variety.

Uncle B says we’ll have to make a gooseberry fool. So I asked “what exactly is a fool?” And he says, “Oh, it’s something like a syllabub.”


Fool. Syllabub. Cranachan. Eton mess. Pavlova.

Ugh. Just give me a smoothie.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 24, 2014, 10:54 pm

I like the smoothie idea. Smoothies are good.
Especially when made with rum or even vodka.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 24, 2014, 11:15 pm

They used to grow wild around our house when I was young. Never tasted good to me, especially as the blackberries were everywhere and they are so tasty. Gooseberries just lost out. Might be good in pie, though.

Comment from Nina
Time: June 24, 2014, 11:59 pm

I’ve wanted to use some of my mead to make a syllabub, but haven’t yet. Need to do that once I move!

Comment from Nina
Time: June 25, 2014, 12:03 am

Here’s a good link: http://www.historicfood.com/Syllabub%20Recipes.htm

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 25, 2014, 12:09 am

Try a gooseberry pie or a gooseberry crumble. The really adventurous use them to make a sauce which you eat with oily fish, such as mackerel. That’s not the way a badger eats, I must say.

Next come the loganberries and raspberries, red and white currants. Guess it’s jam season.

Comment from MikeW
Time: June 25, 2014, 12:17 am

You should ask Uncle B how his desired dessert treat squares with the old saying “You are what you eat.”

Didn’t realize ’till I clicked your link that Fool was custard based (originally), might actually be ok that way. I think I had it confused with Whip, as in Prune Whip, which I think I had as a kid once with no recollection that I wanted to repeat the experience.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: June 25, 2014, 12:38 am

You’re obviously not reading enough Patrick O’Brian around there, or you’d have known about syllabubs. Syllabubs, drowned babies, spotted dogs, soused hog’s faces…all those old English recipes. No wonder England’s reputation for cookery is so abysmal. Suet and raisins. Yeah, that’s a plan. Shit.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: June 25, 2014, 12:57 am

This is a post that needs to be shared on Facebook. All those dessert recipes, and the exotic English names, the miracle of language, the specialty ingredients and exotic flavors.

I’d do it, but I don’t have any friends.

Comment from Sam Paris
Time: June 25, 2014, 1:30 am

Way back when Maggie Thatcher was PM, I made my first trip to England. Among many other wonders (The Machine Gun Corps Memorial blew me away) was a dessert the cook called a Gooseberry Fool. She apologized that the gooseberries were frozen, not fresh, but the egg custard was so good she could have made it with stewed shoe leather and I still would have enjoyed it.

English cuisine is weird–how does the same culture come up with both Strawberries with Devon Cream and Grey Meat with Overcooked Veg?

Comment from dissent555
Time: June 25, 2014, 1:50 am

Cool!! I’ll be right over!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: June 25, 2014, 2:14 am

American Badgers like their fish beer battered, and deep fried!

Comment from Deborah
Time: June 25, 2014, 3:40 am

My family would make jelly out of all those gooseberries!

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: June 25, 2014, 3:44 am

As long as we don’t have a repeat of the elderberry cordial incident.

Gawd, I love summer!

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: June 25, 2014, 4:09 am

You can use the honey from your beehive too!

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 25, 2014, 4:11 am

Beer & coffee for breakfast, beer for lunch, steak & beer for dinner.

Comment from catnip
Time: June 25, 2014, 4:49 am

All those desserts sound delicious, although a couple require more time and precision than my usual offerings.

Gooseberry crumble would be my choice, if a crumble is anything like what we call a fruit crisp. They’re so easy to make and perfect for tart berries (especially huckleberries).

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 25, 2014, 10:57 am

Same here, cousin Scott 🙂

Comment from tonyc
Time: June 25, 2014, 11:55 am

These are some of my favorite posts. With your help I am slowly becoming bilingual. English and, um, english?

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: June 25, 2014, 3:02 pm

And what of that classic English dish called Toad in the Hole? I’ve never looked it up to see what it really is. The name is so perfect I don’t want to spoil it.

Comment from Deborah
Time: June 25, 2014, 3:42 pm

Eli Wallach died Tuesday afternoon.

Comment from mushdogs
Time: June 25, 2014, 4:48 pm

Pie. Definitely a pie. With sourdough crust.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2014, 5:08 pm

Oooo…Wolfus! Toad in the Hole is my fav! Uncle B makes a splendid toad.

It’s just pork sausages plopped in the middle of a pan of egg batter. Basically the same batter as a Yorkshire pudding.

Comment from Becca
Time: June 25, 2014, 5:35 pm

Tastes of my childhood: gooseberry pie and persimmon pie, both picked out of our backyard.

I had always assumed gooseberries were a Southern thang.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: June 25, 2014, 6:38 pm

“[Toad in the Hole is] just pork sausages plopped in the middle of a pan of egg batter. Basically the same batter as a Yorkshire pudding.”

Well, then, TitH (which looks interesting when I abbreviate it like that) sounds pretty good. But why, oh, why (I ask with my arms open in supplication to Paul Prudhomme), why did they name it that?

Comment from David Gillies
Time: June 25, 2014, 7:59 pm

Gooseberry jam is the best. Better than redcurrant, better than apricot, better than plum (although all of those are excellent, too). We used to grow goosberries when I was a kid and plucking one off the (very spiky) bush, sticking it in your mouth and feeling it pop was just delicious. Looking back, I don’t know how my father managed to grow so much food and keep a full-time job. As well as goosegogs we had black- and redcurrants, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, apples, pears, plums, peas, carrots, lettuce, cabbages, brussels sprouts, kale, onions, runner beans, cucumbers and gherkins. We were broke but very well-fed.

Comment from Nina
Time: June 25, 2014, 11:49 pm

I am presently in escrow for my very first little suburban house of my very own. The yard (garden, for you Britishers) is not very big, but I plan to put in raised beds and grow as many delicious foods as I can, front and back. I may grow gooseberries just so I can make a fool! And hopefully chickens.

I am very much looking forward to it.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: June 26, 2014, 2:39 am

Toad in the Hole sounds wonderful! I bet it particularly nice on cold, wet Winter mornings!

Comment from catnip
Time: June 26, 2014, 4:57 am

Congrats, Nina! Wishing you many years of happiness in your new home.

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: June 26, 2014, 3:58 pm

Congratulations indeed, Nina!

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