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Recipes: Blackberry season

Photo source: The Guardian

Photo source: The Guardian

The blackberries are out and it’s your chance to get free food. You can use them to make jam, cakes, ice cream, compote, crème brulée, coulis and even tea.

You can also use blackberries in savoury sauces. Venison goes well with autumnal purple-red produce and this Pan-fried venison with blackberry sauce is very fast and easy to make. This recipe can be cooked and prepared in less than 30 minutes.

The trick is to cook venison as you would beef. Good quality steaks and tenderloin can be pan-fried but try to avoid overcooking. The venison season is soon approaching and although it’s not the cheapest meat it is really healthy and has higher iron levels than any other red meat and contains less fat than a skinned breast of chicken. This dish goes very well with celeriac mash.

If the idea of eating Bambi is all too much and you don’t have the cash to splash, why not use your picked produce to rustle up something sweet. I saw a lovely looking ‘Blackberry and star anise friand’ recipe in the Guardian this week. Very very good looking.

Blackberry and star anise friands

Makes 10


  • 340g egg whites (10 egg whites)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 180g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp star anise, finely ground
  • ⅓ tsp salt
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 220g unsalted butter, melted and left to cool, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g blackberries

For the icing (optional)

  • 70g blackberries, plus 10 extra, to garnish
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 300g icing sugar, plus extra to dust


  1. Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Use melted butter to brush the bottoms and sides of 10 mini loaf tins (4.5cm high x 9.5cm long x 6.5cm wide), or similar small baking tins, and chill. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk to froth them up a bit; don’t whip them completely. Sift the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, star anise and salt, add to the egg whites and stir until incorporated. Add the lemon zest and melted butter, and mix just until the batter is smooth and uniform.
  2. Pour into the baking tins, filling them two-thirds of the way up. Halve the blackberries and drop into the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, take out of the tins and leave until completely cool.
  3. To ice the cakes, put the berries and water in a small bowl and use a fork to smash the fruit in the water. Pass through a fine sieve, pressing the pulp against the sides. Pour three-quarters of the purple juice over the icing sugar and whisk vigorously to a uniformly light-purple, runny paste. It should be just thick enough to allow you to brush it over the tops of the cakes, and will set as a thin, almost see-through coating on top with some icing dripping down the sides. (If not, add more juice.) Place a blackberry on each friand and dust with icing sugar.

Pan-fried venison with blackberry sauce


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 thick venison steaks, or 4 medallions
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp redcurrent jelly
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 85g fresh or frozen blackberries


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the venison for 5 mins, then turn over and cook for 3-5 minutes more, depending on how rare you like it and the thickness of the meat (cook for 5-6 mins on each side for well done). Lift the meat from the pan and set aside to rest.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, then pour in the stock, redcurrant jelly and garlic. Stir over quite a high heat to blend everything together, then add the blackberries and carry on cooking until they soften.
  3. Celeriac mash: Thickly peel and chop a small celeriac, then boil with 3 small potatoes. Drain when tender and mash with butter and plenty of seasoning.


  1. our blackberries are still very green, but I found the perfect spot and am monitoring the ripening carefully! I am planning to make jam and my old favourite blackberry and apple slices.
    Lovely recipe up there, pity the child is allergic to almonds. Anyway, for people who would try it, keep the egg yolks to make creme brulee, or breton cake. Recipe is dead easy: mix together 250g sugar and 250g plain flour. Add 250g cold butter in small pieces and rub until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add 6 egg yolks. Mix well, knead a bit, bring to a ball and flatten with your hand in a round buttered cake tin. Glaze with egg yolk, draw some criss cross pattern on the surface with a fork. Bake at 150 degrees for about 45 / 50 min.

  2. I suppose this sauce would work well with duck breasts too…They are usually paired with something sweet…
    Where would be a good place to buy venison? Fallon & Byrne?