The long hot summer of 2020 brought some delights amidst uncertainty. Time, perspective, re-grounding, growth. Also, a bounty of produce offered up by warmer days. An early ripening which means in the gardens and woodland at least, Autumn has come around quickly.

Bushes and hedgerows are now teaming with soft fruits, glistening jewels to pick as you go.

In the kitchen gardens, summer berries are still holding on; raspberries in their prime after a summer spent bathing in the sun, redcurrants revelling in their moment.

In the woodland, blackberries are ripening on the branches, elderberries are weighing down the elder trees and loganberries waiting tartly to be squished into jam. These will all flourish until the frosts arrive in the coming weeks.

A basket of treats foraged on your walk can be a natural apothecary for the colder months. High in antioxidants and vitamin C, berries boost our immune systems which can help to prevent colds. Whilst picking them, don’t overlook the leaf – blackberry and hawthorn leaves make a tasty brew with health benefits ranging from easing aching joints to lowering blood pressure.

Our chefs are out foraging twice a week, returning to the kitchens in pursuit of flavour. Try something new after your next woodland walk…

Elderberries – Preserve in cyder vinegar and serve alongside smoked pigeon.

Blackberries – Serve fresh with plenty of cream, or pickle with juniper and serve with venison

Hawthorn – Use the ruby berries to make jelly and the leaves to make tea  

Damson – Steep these stone fruits in gin for a rich tipple come winter

Late Summer Berries with Blackcurrant Leaf Set Cream

“Forage as many types of berry as you can for this compote – it can be a mix from the hedgerows or your garden, the more variety the better. For the cream, blackcurrant leaves add a savoury flavour that offsets sun-sweetened berries.” – Alan Stewart, Estate Head Chef

Berry Compote

Make a simple compote by stirring 10% sugar into a large mix of foraged berries and placing on the stove. Bring to a simmer, then turn off and allow to cool until ready to serve.

Set Cream

(Serves 4)

  • 250g cream
  • 250g milk
  • 50g blackcurrant leaves, dried
  • 115g honey
  • 2 leaves gelatine

Bring the milk, cream and honey to the boil and pour over the dried blackcurrant leaf. 

Blend together and leave to infuse for 30mins before passing through a fine sieve.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. 

Take a small amount of the cream mix and bring it to the boil. 

Add the gelatine leaves to this, then boil again before whisking into the rest of the mixture. 

Pour into glasses and set in the fridge for a minimum of 4hrs and preferably overnight. 

Serve with a generous topping of berry compote.