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So, what can you do with redcurrants? 

Paula McIntyre


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Grilled mackerel with black pepper labneh and pickled red currants

Grilled mackerel with black pepper labneh and pickled red currants

Burnt white chocolate cremeux with red currant and meadow sweet glazed strawberries

Burnt white chocolate cremeux with red currant and meadow sweet glazed strawberries

Burnt white chocolate cremeux with red currant and meadow sweet glazed strawberries

Burnt white chocolate cremeux with red currant and meadow sweet glazed strawberries

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Grilled mackerel with black pepper labneh and pickled red currants

A thoughtful neighbour texted me last week to ask if I would like some redcurrants. If there was an Olympic sport called house to house running I suspect I’d have been in with a shout at a medal. I was at her door in two seconds flat to collect the ruby red jewel like fruit. They have a sharp, astringent taste and a lip puckering sourness. Many years ago, I worked in a restaurant, where one Christmas they spent a small fortune ordering these very attractive berries to use as a garnish, alongside the obligatory mint leaf, on the desserts. They looked suitably festive but every plate came back with the dessert eaten and the fruit and mint left perfectly intact. It was a seminal lesson in the importance of seasonal eating and purchasing.

Serendipitously meadow sweet is prolific at the moment and its toothsome vanilla aroma is the perfect foil for the pungent currants. This- plant has pale yellow flowers and they’re in abundance along many roads and lanes at this particular point in the summer. Be warned though as its not dissimilar in looks to toxic cow parsley. Making jelly is one of those old-fashioned arts that’s on the wane but it’s one I embrace with gusto. Taking currants, smashing them with meadow sweet, boiling, straining and cooking with sugar seems like a lot of work but the rewards far outweigh the labour time.


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