At the weekend, I took the dog on a walk that I often do after I've dropped the children off at school, but I went the opposite way round - obviously, because I was starting from home, and noticed that there were some particularly juicy-looking blackberries, almost ripe for the picking. Yesterday was a write off as I was feeling poorly and the dog got short rations walkwise, but the sun was shining this morning and so as well as laden down with bookbags, wellies & cagoule for Blue's welly walk to the river, and a trombone, plus the dog on his lead, I cunningly packed some plastic tubs, in a reasonably sturdy bag that I could carry the tubs in and keep control of the dog (who is not a very blackberrying-friendly creature, being as he'd much rather be off in the hedgerows chasing pheasants, grouse and whatever else is around).
I was rewarded with 2 armfuls of scratches, 2 shins-full of nettle stings and over a kilo of yummy blackberries. Gorgeous and plump - just the thing.
I haven't yet thought of what to do with the bulk of the stash. Jam, probably, and crumble are the likely candidates. However, I was tempted earlier by Anyone For Seconds? recent post, and I had in the back of my mind a Good Food recipe I remembered for Strawberry & polenta cupcakes. I liked the idea of making a blackberry coulis to use in the cakes, and remembered that the polenta in the GF cupcakes gave them a lovely crunchiness. Unfortunately, a quick exploration in the cupboards failed to reveal any polenta, although I can't for the life of me remember when I used it up. However, I had some semolina, so used that instead. The coulis and light brown sugar gave the cakes a more wholesome appearance, and I think the lemon zest, and juice in the icing really lifts the flavour. If you find some blackberries, please do have a go.
For the Coulis:
250g plus 3 handfuls of blackberries
50g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:
140g softened unsalted butter
140g mixed soft brown sugar and caster sugar
grated zest of a lemon
140g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp milk & 1tbsp coulis, stirred together
For the icing
100g (or thereabouts) of icing sugar
1-2 tbsp coulis
lemon juice, to taste
Make the coulis - put all the ingredients in a small pan, with 100ml water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes then whizz/blitz the mixture and then push through a seive to get any seeds out. You need some of the coulis for the cupcakes and icing, the rest would taste lovely stirred into yoghurt etc - or freeze for another day.
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cases and switch the oven on to heat to 180C
Make the cakes: cream together butter, sugar & lemon zest till light and fluffy. Seive together the flour and baking powder. Add in one of the eggs to the butter, beat in, then add in the semolina and beat in. Add in teh second agg, beat in the egg, then stir in half the flour & baking powder mix and add the milk/coulis mix. Stir in and add the last bit of the flour. Don't over mix.
Chuck in a couple of handfuls of blackberries, stir in briefly, then divide the mixture between the cases and bake for around 20 mins.
When the cakes have cooled, make a glace icing - seive the icing sugar and stir in the coulis, a little at a time, along with some lemon juice, to lift the flavour, until you have a glossy, gorgeous coloured icing to ice your cakes with. Ice the cakes, top with a blackberry and devour.
Like my Courgette & Coconut Loaf cake, I am linking up here to SImple & in Season hosted by Feeding Boys & a Firefighter.