I love cherries, especially the sour variety, which is sadly not favoured by the British supermarkets. You will be lucky to find the sour cherries at the farmers' market. One bite into the sour juiciness, and I'm feeling like a child, with a book in my hammock. I remember climbing the cherry trees to pick a bowlful of cherries for lunch. The juice dripping down my chin and hands.
My grandma also used to make a cherry wine, but we weren't allowed to taste it as kids.
Cherries. Russia. Chekhov. The Cherry Orchard. That's how my mind works. A lot of tastes and smells bring back memories that were deeply buried but resurface with ease and nostalgia.
Isn't it peculiar and wonderful that a very British product might take you on a trip down the memory lane all the way to the south of Russia in a moment.
I was curious to read that Selsley Foods began its life as a herb and goat farm in the 1980s in the small Cotswolds village of Selsley. They were inspired to introduce a range of speciality foods, using the herbs grown on the farm. Later the spices came along.
Selsley are probably best known for their Gourmet Mulling syrup, but they also produce a whole range of dessert syrups including such tantalizing flavours as Gourmet Ginger with lemongrass, Blackcurrant & Cinnamon, Raspberry & Redcurrant and Gourmet Vanilla Syrup with Vanilla pod.
I love the retro look of the bottles. And the taste is very summery. It is like a concentrated essence of summer in a bottle. Uplifting and beautiful. Perfect drizzled over the ice cream or in wicked sundaes. On pancakes.
I made an apple and plum crumble with the sour cherry syrup. It was a great combination of flavours. The tart sour apples benefited from the sweetness of the syrup.
Apple and plum crumble with the cherry syrup
3 medium apples
3tbsp Sour cherry & Vanilla syrup
Butter the deep baking dish slightly. Chop the apples in biggish pieces and halve the plums (remove the stones). Lay the apples and plums inside the dish, sprinkle with half of the sugar. Depending on the sweetness/sourness of your apples, you might want less sugar or more. The apples from our garden are crispy and not over sweet. Pour the cherry syrup over the fruit and slowly bake them at 180C for about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl make the crumble mix by rubbing the softened butter with the flour and oats until you have crumbs. Cover your fruit with the crumbs and put the baking dish back in the oven for another 15-20 miutes, until the crumbs are golden brown and the juice starts seeping through at the edges.
Serve with the custard, vanilla ice cream or cream, whichever rocks your boat.
The cherry syrup made this traditional crumble more exquisite and refined.
|Apple and plum crumble with sour cherry syrup|
And as my guys are crazy about cupcakes, I baked a batch of blueberry yogurt cupcakes with the sour cherry syrup and sour cherries.
Blueberry yogurt cupcakes with sour cherry syrup and sour cherries
150ml blueberry yogurt (for example, Yeo Valley)
180g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2tbsp cherry syrup
1tsp vanilla essence
70g ground almonds
150g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
140g sour cherries (Forest Feast)
pine nuts (for topping)
Beat the eggs with the caster sugar in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt and all the other ingredients and mix well. Pour the cake mixture into the cupcake cases placed in the muffin tray. Scatter the pine nuts on top (as many as you like).
Put the tray in the oven preheated to 180C. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
They were so good, I am definitely going to bake them again.
If you are looking for unusual gifts for Christmas, I would definitely suggest looking at the selection of Selsley Foods syrups. They will make a perfect present for any foodie.
Disclosure: I received a bottle of Sour Cherry syrup for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions and recipes are mine.