Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Raspberries and Pears
The great thing about raspberries, is that they herald in two seasons, the first is summer, followed by a shorter second crop in the autumn which has just now reached its peak here in Victoria. But you know how it goes. A great big craving for raspberries develops, you go to the greengrocer to find them at $5 a punnet (150g) or worse. What are you going to do? Take yourself off to the source, where you can pick as much as you want at $11kg - that's right - per kilo!
Mind you, I'm not complaining about greengrocers or anyone else for that matter. Having picked a few kilos, I understand how perilously difficult it is just to pick a single, luscious ripe berry without crushing the beautiful jewel, which then needs to be carefully packed and transported before the fruit begins its rapid deterioration. But if you take on all that bother yourself, the reward is a surfeit of glistening raspberries at an excellent price, fit for a gluttonous feast.
All of our family loves this juicy slightly tart berry with its distinctive taste and there is nothing better than to whip up some chantilly cream and spoon enormous blobs of cream over an overflowing bowl of raspberries, it's one of life's little pleasures. But when you pick 3kg of fruit, there is only so much cream one can stand. There is also the thing with super ripe berries crushing under their own weight, making the bottom-of-the-container berries less than pristine looking.
It is these berries we commit to buttermilk smoothies, which couldn't be easier to make. Simply pour into a vitamizer as much icy-cold buttermilk and raspberries as you need, don't be shy with the raspberries, and a tablespoon of sugar for about every cup you are making and blitz until smooth. Of course if you aren't able to go picking yourself, there seems to be plenty of cheap, frozen berries with which you can do the same thing.
It seems for us no weekend is complete without a visit to Ikea. I've become quite the expert at assembling flat packs into something usable and reasonably good looking. Naturally, every time we go, I always check out the grocery section. Can't say there is any desire to have their Swedish meatballs, but there is usually something interesting and unique. They have the cheapest elderflower syrup around town and this last weekend, we spotted cans of sparkling non-alcoholic pear cider.
Those of you that have some English or French heritage would know of pear cider or perry as it's known. Up until this weekend, I'd never tried the stuff and curiousity spurred me on to buy a can of Swedish, Kopparberg pear cider, which we tried in the store. It was a seriously good drink with a clear, though nicely aromatic, pear flavour, not overly sweet either, very refreshing on a hot day. It was so good we bought a few more cans to take home. The hot tip the store assistant gave us, was that it is easy to turn it into an alcoholic drink by adding a shot of vodka. That of course, is up to you.