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Thursday September 1st, 2011.


Many of my recipes take inspiration from other countries. I try and recreate them using local stuff where I can to maximize flavour without losing authenticity. This recipe needed no globe trotting though. Inspiration was right on my door step, ready for the taking and making.

Although the melodrama of gushing rain sets the tone today, only a few weeks ago in joyous sunshine my eyes chanced upon three laden cherry trees by the roadside.
Nothing tastes better than a freebie, especially when said freebie fetches a premium in the supermarkets.

Elsie and I were cocooned in the hot car on a fast road, when I saw the lipstick coloured globes, copious and apparently free for all. Resisting the urge to screech to a halt cartoon style, I clocked the location and raced home to get a cherry picking kit: tall wooden stool, basket, walking stick, Chris. 

It’s really surprising when you start looking just how much food can be found in our hedgerows and kerbs, blackberries, hazelnuts, cobnuts and rosehips to name a few. All can be turned into delectable perfumed delights to provide highnotes on low days in the kitchen.

We gathered two and a half kilos that day, and they were the ones that didn’t make it into our mouths during harvesting. We looked like we’d returned from a gruesome massacre. But cherries must be the sweets of the Gods and worth the gore. These were as deeply flavoured as their colour and sweet with a sour note to keep things sparky.  Without wishing to improve on perfection I cooked some with sugar and a drop of almond extract and they hit dizzy new heights. The taste reminded me of those jars of bright red morello cocktail cherries that I lusted over when I was a child. Replacing the almond extract with ameretto liqueur is the adult version and tastes even better.

Here’s the recipe for the cherry compote that I ate with scones and clotted cream, so naughty as to push the boundaries of niceness into divinity.

I also made a cherry clafoutis, the recipe was given to me in France by my friend Laure. It originally came from her mother Marie who had a small restaurant in the French Alps that was so exclusive you could eat there by invitation only.
Let the clafoutis turn golden brown before removing from the oven and don’t be worried if it sinks in the middle, be charmed. 

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