Although we haven’t had a brilliant summer here in the UK, and it looks like what we did have is pretty much over for the year, we did manage to bid a sad farewell to the summer by taking a lovely walk in the Kent countryside.
I love the public footpaths here in the UK: there is a network crossing public and private property that anyone can walk along and enjoy what the countryside has to offer. We often take a day-trip down to Kent to wander across the rolling green dales, through the fields, woodlands and orchards, taking in the fresh air.
On this particular sunny Saturday our route took us through numerous apple orchards where crisp, pink apples shone on the trees and the hedges were thick with fat, juicy blackberries.
After we finished our roast chicken and salad picnic while sitting on the grass at the edge of someone’s apple orchard, we greedily filled a tupperware container with fat, juicy blackberries. But not before we consumed handfuls of the plump little morsels straight from the bush.
Although some of our English friends have told us that it’s not a great season for blackberries this year, I was just so deliriously happy to be able to pick edible fruit in the “wild” – something that’s not really an option in dry, sunny Queensland. I’m assured by my mates that it’s perfectly legal to pick fruit from the hedgerows. The thing that struck me about the blackberries was how every one tasted slightly different – some were sinfully sweet while others had a more savoury flavour. I suppose that’s because they were wild.
So after we’d downed a couple of pints at the Matfield pub we tootled home with our container of blackberries and whipped up a very quick and easy blackberry crumble. We used rolled oats in our crumble, but you don’t have to. The main thing is not to use too much sugar, because soft fruits are generally quite sweet. In fact, I think our crumble could have used a squeeze of lemon over the berries just to add a sour zing.
It was truly wonderful to spend the day wandering through the countryside, picking fruit and taking it home for dessert. If it sounds idyllic, that’s because it was. Would that it were like that here every weekend!