Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Gooseberries are a bit like ladies in comfortable shoes, not particularly trendy and with too much body hair. But just as everything enjoys a revival, including shoulder pads and stone-washed jeans, this berry has been causing a mild stir this summer. Seasonal chef Valentine Warner turned them into a classic fool in his book What to Eat Now. More Please and gooseberry pie is the stuff of many a modern British menu.

It's hard to find these hirsute fruits (I bought them from new food ordering website that brings together growers and producers from just the south east), and the season is so short that you can't help getting a little excited by their tempting tartness.

With just one small punnet, I was several gooseberries short of a pie, and with a hot August sun beating through my kitchen window, my thoughts turned to sorbet. I love a good ice, particularly a sharp, palate-cleansing one. Raspberry sorbet is a personal favourite and so easy to make - just pureed fruit, lemon juice, sugar and water. I've applied this same simple formula to gooseberries, adding some elderflower cordial to give a softer, sweeter floral note, and the result is fresh and delicious - a modern take on a stalwart English fruit. Enjoy.

Gooseberry and elderflower sorbet
Serves 6 (in shot glasses)

200g gooseberries
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
Splash water
90g caster sugar
70 ml water
Juice of ½ lemon

Put the gooseberries and elderflower cordial into a saucepan. Add a splash of water and poach the fruit on a gentle heat until soft and pulpy.

Push the gooseberries and juice through a fine sieve. Set aside to cool.

Into another pan, put the sugar and water then slowly bring up to the boil. Allow to bubble for 2 mins until syrupy. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Mix the fruit and the cooled sugar syrup together with the lemon juice. Pour into a plastic tub then put into the freezer (or pour into an ice-cream maker). Stir with a metal spoon every hour for 3-4 hours to break up the ice crystals.
Serve in shot glasses with a spring of mint.


  1. That sounds delectable! And thanks for the tip on where to get gooseberries, my husband loves them and we can never find them.

  2. from bitter and hairy to sweet and delectable. Sounds like the makeover of a twisted spinster! Great stuff. Loving the blog.