Saturday, 3 August 2019

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread



 Anyone who grew up in the 1970s will remember Angel Delight getting so much marketing attention you would have thought it was critical to human survival. It was taken to a level that made it as important as getting your 5-a-day.We all loved our Angel Delight.It was a firm family favourite, and a vegetarian friendly mousse too.Angel Delight contains no gelatine and is therefore suitable for those suffering with vegetarianism.However, the product does contain milk products (aside from adding your own milk to mix it with) and therefore is not suitable for vegans.But I’m sure vegans will tell you this before you offer it to them.They just love telling people about their beliefs.
This dessert started its life simply as powder in a packet but when whisked with milk,it transformed into a gelatinous mousse which pleased many a child growing up at the time.
It’s not a million miles from custard, but it came, and still does come in several flavours, which made it a bit more exotic (If I am right in thinking butterscotch was the best seller). It is one of a family of instant, whipped up desserts appealing to working parents who found themselves time short in the food preparation area,and answerable to whining ankle biters who needed pandering to.It’s a wonder Angel Delight isn’t at least a Category B substance really.

   "We all mucked in on the nosh. I did my butterbean whip. It's over there in a bucket".

So why did we get so carried away with this "junk food",when there was a healthier and more natural alternative available.Well sorry to spoil all this mustering of nostalgia but we have to talk about where this convenience food might have originated from.It was a beautiful English summer dessert called a fool.Dating as far back as the sixteenth century, this classic British dessert has seen its popularity ebb and flow. A Fruit Fool is a delicious mixture of lightly sweetened fruit that has been pureed and then haphazardly folded into whipped cream,custard or more recently Greek yoghurt. Tart fruits such as raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, and rhubarb are the most popular choices to make Fruit Fools, as they pair so beautifully with sweetened cream. A Fruit Food is aptly named, since the word "Fool" is believed to have originated from the French word "fouler" which means "to mash" or "to press". And this is exactly what is done with the fruit to make this dessert. A Fruit Fool begins with making a puree from fresh fruit.You can make the puree the day before it is needed so it has time to thicken, and the flavours to meld together. Although I always think it best when made shortly before serving, you can make the fruit fools several hours in advance. It is best showcased when served in a long stemmed parfait or wine glass, garnished with fresh fruit. A homemade artesanal biscuit is also a nice accompaniment. There are a few things to keep in mind when making fruit fools. There is no way to know, without tasting, the exact amount of sugar needed. So tasting is very important here. Make sure you taste the puree and adjust the sugar as needed. The same is true when you mix the puree with the whipped cream. Taste and adjust the sugar and amount of puree as you might want to, adding a little extra puree if a stronger fruit flavour is preferred.So what kind of fool are you? A custard fool,cream fool, a greek yoghurt fool or some other kind of fool entirely? Glorious fools! All of them. I can't make up my mind which one I like the best . . . Feeling like a kid in a sweet shop I have opted for blackberry greek yoghurt fool and I will tell you why.I was reading a food blog about blackberries and the brand name Driscolls came up.
The name sounded familiar and I realised it was the brand of berries - raspberries,blueberries and blackberries that I buy in LIdl.On investigating  I discovered that Driscolls is responsible for most of the berry growers in Portugal.
Driscoll's grow berries in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Right now, Portugal is the largest of the three regions,where the company produces all these strains. I further discovered they are working closely with berry growers in the Algarve and Alentejo and this fits in perfectly with Lidl´s policy of locally sourced produce.
 Brambles, blackberries whatever you call them they are one of the hedgerows most precious jewels.
It’s amazing how nowadays we just expect things. We live in a world where you can practically buy what you want when you want. We eat foods out of season, at the wrong time of the year when good old mother nature would have them sound asleep, tucked in their beds of hybernation for the season to come.Some may call this progress and moving with the times. Man calling the shots and dominating nature more and more with his use of technology and his chemical tool kit. Driscoll´s have developed a unique type of blackberry, they are really next level fruit, and a huge step up from those one would forage in the local hedgerows.
Having some production indoors allows growers to spread the harvest out to more of the year, meaning that we get fresh blackberries for most of the year.
The goal is for year-round blackberries, which is great news for those of us with an addiction for the berries. For now, we can find them in supermarkets and many other outlets from May through October.
The science involved doesn’t mean the human touch is ignored. Each berry is handpicked at peek ripeness to ensure we get the best fruit possible.These blackberries are sweet, plump, and huge – two bites to get one down!
If they cost slightly more, it is money well spent. The taste is extraordinary, meaning that they can be used in ways others cannot, especially if you like to sit down with a pile of berries as a snack or make this magnificent Blackberry Fool.
I am in two minds on this one. I celebrate the joy that comes with the changing seasons and the excitement of the first foods that compliment that time of year. There are so many memories and feelings tied up with seasonal food. But there are those times when compromise or canned fruit wont suffice and you really need that out of season apricot for an autumn trifle or raspberries for a Cranachan on New Years Eve. 
Blackberry fool 
with blackberry balsamic jelly

For the fool 

300g blackberries, plus a few for garnishing1tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
500ml / 2 cups Mascarpone or double cream/whipping cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

Put the blackberries into a saucepan with the sugar and one tablespoon of water. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, until they are juicy. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool completely.
Attach the knife blade, add the blackberry mixture and pulse to a coarse texture then remove from the bowl and reserve.Attach the whisk attachment and add the greek yoghurt and icing sugar. Turn the machine to high speed and process until the yoghurt thickens. Pour the blackberry mixture into the machine. Use the pulse button in quick bursts to mix in the fruit. Pour the mixture into your serving glasses on top of the jelly and return to the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.garnish with blackberry and mint before serving. 

For the jelly

500g/1lb 2oz blackberries, plus extra for garnish
½ lemon, juice only
100g/3½oz caster sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
80ml/2½fl oz water
3 sheets gelatine, soaked in water

Place all the ingredients apart from the gelatine into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for six minutes. Remove the fruit mixture from the heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl.
Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and stir it into the fruit mixture. Leave the jelly to cool slightly, stirring regularly.
Place two blackberries in the bottom of each of six serving glasses and divide the jelly mixture between them, leaving some space at the top of each tumbler. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

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