Incredible Edible: Bonanza month for visitors and berries

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This month we have had visitors from all over the world, Japan, Australia, Tasmania, France, the USA and Kinshasa RD Congo via Manchester.

The group from Kinshasa wanted to learn about herbs for skin care and healing, they will be sharing their knowledge and wisdom about Congolese herbs with us in the future, this makes for a great community cultural exchange. The folk from Australia, Tasmania and the USA are already part of food growing projects in their own towns and have agreed to write guest articles about what they are doing for our website, it’s always good to share.

We like to keep our growing beds looking their best for everyone, but we did make an extra effort last week as it was in bloom judging day Thursday and we wanted our beds to compliment Tod in Bloom’s wonderful flower beds and baskets.

At the time of writing there are masses of red, black and white currants at the beds opposite the bus station, the health centre has red and black currants and raspberries and there are various other berries around town so here is a great recipe for you to use some of them

Berry bonanza summer pudding

Ingredients - 1¼kg/2lb 12oz of Incredible Edible mixed berries and currants of your choice, 175g caster sugar, 7 slices day-old white bread, from a square, medium-cut loaf

Method - Bring out the juices: Wash fruit and gently dry on kitchen paper – keep strawberries separate. Put sugar and 3 tbsp water into a large pan. Gently heat until sugar dissolves – stir a few times. Bring to a boil for 1 min, then tip in the fruit Cook for 3 mins over a low heat, stirring 2-3 times. The fruit will be softened, mostly intact and surrounded by dark red juice. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.

Prepare the bread: Line the 1.25-litre basin with cling film as this will help you to turn out the pudding. Overlap two pieces in the middle of the bowl as it’s easier than trying to get one sheet to stick to all of the curves. Let the edges overhang by about 15cm. Cut the crusts off the bread. Cut 4 pieces of bread in half, a little on an angle, to give 2 lopsided rectangles per piece. Cut 2 slices into 4 triangles each and leave the final piece whole.

Build the pud: Dip the whole piece of bread into the juice to coat. Push into the bottom of the basin. Dip rectangular pieces one at a time and line the basin’s sides trimming last piece of bread in just fit. Spoon in the softened fruit.

Dip the bread triangles in juice and place on top – trim off any overhang. Keep leftover juice for later. Bring cling film up and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top and weight down with cans. Chill for 6 hrs or overnight. To serve, open out cling film then put a serving plate upside-down on top and flip over. serve with leftover juice, extra berries and cream, or ice cream.

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