Archives for the month of: September, 2013

When I went into the supermarket in Northampton to buy the sugar for the hedgerow jelly I noticed they had samphire in the fresh produce section. I’ve been reading about samphire for some years now and had always wanted to try it so although I was supposed to be running down the food supplies aboard narrowboat Patience I decided I HAD to buy some samphire. Of course I had no clue how one was supposed to cook samphire – if one even cooked it at all. But what I did know was that I was definitely going to make it work with the ingredients we had on the boat.

Another quick Google search told me that samphire mixes really very nicely with spaghetti(which we had in the galley) and Hugh came up with ideal  cooking method –  ‘Add the samphire to the pasta pan for the last two minutes of cooking time.’ I improvised with the rest of the recipe by frying bacon, garlic, a shallot  and red peppers to which added a little leftover cream and let it bubble and reduce. I then tossed the sauce lightly with the spaghetti samphire mix and served it with some parmesan and lots of black pepper.

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And what I do know now is that I love that salty, crunchy, green gem of a plant. I have to get back to the UK for the next samphire season!

Who could resist the the ripe (and some not so ripe) fruit growing so temptingly along the banks of the River Nene? Elderberries, sloes, blackberries and small apples. We were on narrowboat Patience for the last few days of our six week trip from Braunston Marina to Cambridgeshire and back when all the hedgerow fruits seemed to ripen.

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At first I thought it was too late in the trip to be gathering fruit and cooking it what with having to tidy up and sort out the boat, pack and devote hours each day to work but it seemed churlish to ignore the delights of the river bank so I started picking fruit each time I operated one of the string of locks along that stretch of the river.

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A quick google search turned up the perfect hedgerow jelly recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on The Guardian website. Thank you to Hugh – the recipe really was perfect! I’m just sorry I didn’t pick any haws or rowan berries. I think they were ripe but I didn’t know they were edible. Next time….

Hedgerow fruits in the pot

I had neither sugar, a scale nor a jelly bag on the boat but some guesswork took care of the weighing problem and a pair of ugly brown pantihose turned into a serviceable jelly bag. And we moored in Northampton that night so I could dash to the nearby supermarket for the sugar.

The jelly was so delicious eaten with cheese and oat cakes and I just can’t wait to be back on the boat in late August again.