Friday, 11 April 2008

Gooseberry fool

Apologies for long delays between posts - my beloved laptop is not at all well so has been replaced with a new shiny model and I'm trying to learn new mail, photo and everything else applications which takes a while ...

We were very surprised last week while staying at my mum's house; when we went to visit our favourite tea place, Badgers in Alfriston, we found it absolutely heaving at lunchtime on a wet Wednesday outside Sussex school holidays. I mean, I know I've talked about it a few times on here but really - the power of the blogosphere, completely awe inspiring .

Oh, do you think the review in the Independent might have had something to do with it?

Anyway, they serve fabulous cakes and lunches and will even give you a postcard to send so that you can spread the word far and wide:

Every cup of tea comes with a fabulously jewelled spoon, and is served on mismatched floral china. Last year I felt the need for a Badger's experience at home so I beaded some spoons (as you do) and worked out an approximation of their Gooseberry and Elderflower cake - which is a lazier version of a Nigella recipe:

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sponge

225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
4 eggs
200g SR flour
25g cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tbsp milk

Gooseberry jam
Double cream, whipped
Icing sugar

Preheat over to 180C/Gas 4. Base line a loose bottomed, ideally springform 21cm cake tin. Strictly speaking this should be split between 2 tins but I only have one so I coook it a bit longer as we like slightly crunchy edges. I'd win no prizes in the WI!

Mix SR flour, cornflour and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar - I do this in a food processer. Add eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour mixture, pulsing to mix. Add rest of flour and mix well. Add 2 tbsp elderflower cordial, and enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency.

Put mixture in tin and bake until they are springy when pressed and a skewer comes out clean - for me with one tin that was about 45 minutes, but if you've done it properly and divided between two it's probably only 25 mins.

Slice cake inexpertly in half, and fill with lots of gooseberry jam and whipped cream. Sift icing sugar over the top to hide any imperfections et voila!

Gone in twenty minutes on a snowy afternoon. Yes, I did have help with the eating, before you ask.


  1. I think your recommendation is bound to have far more influence than some newspaper article! Sounds and looks like a gorgeous tea shop.

    I'll have to try your recipe - it looks lovely - glad to hear you had some help with eating it!!


  2. oh yes, I prefer your recommendations to any newspaper ones every time!
    it looks delicious, and the spoons are so pretty, I can see why you wanted some.

  3. Yummy! and what a delicious looking spoon too.

  4. Yum! I'll have to see if I can dig up some gooseberry jam around here. It's not seen that often in the midwest.

  5. Oh, I could just eat a very large piece of that cake. Damn you, Slimming World.

  6. oooh, yummy! Thanks for that- I have just planted some gooseberry bushes at the allotment, although my neighbour there let me have some last year for goosberry and ginger jam. I think I shall have to have a go at that one!x

  7. Hello Liz - I gave up on Slimmers World when they told me I couldn't have pureed bananas, so no more breakfast smoothies. At least with WW you can eat anything even if only the tiniest morsel of it!

  8. Mmm...Badgers.
    Mmm...sparkly spoon.
    Looks like you did a fab job on the cake (and the fact it disappeared in one afternoon proves it!)

  9. Yummy, yummy. Now I'll have to see if I can find some of those ingredients. The "dropping consistency" instruction is not one we see in US cookbooks. I first ran across it after I had tried treacle sponge on a trip to the UK and a UK colleague gave me his mother's recipe to try. I was stymied by the instruction. What does it mean?

  10. I have to agree with Lesley here - you are definitely far more influential than the Independent as far as I am concerned!


  11. Yum - can I come around for a bit of that cake one day?!

  12. The cake sounds really yummy and what a fab tea shop! I feel a day trip coming on!!!

  13. Was obviously your recommendation! Love those beaded spoons... I do that to the stems of wine glasses for special occasions! That cake looks scummy... can I come to tea please???
    Gina xx

  14. Gosh, that's a wonderful looking cake - well done you.

    I bet the Independent got the idea for the article from your blog. You know what these newspapers are like - always on the lookout for a good idea.


  15. It sounds wonderful and absolutely delicious. If I wasn't on a diet I'd be in the kitchen in a heartbeat!

  16. Hello Kitty - Much as I'd love to think the Independent use my blog as the pinnacle of good taste, I think they may have got there first ;-)

  17. I can't believe I typed scummy when I meant SCRUMMY!!!!
    I think I'm a dyslexic typer!
    Sorry! ;D
    Gina xxx

  18. Your cake looks delicious on it's lovely little cake stand.

  19. If only I was closer I could come and sit on your doorstep and not move until you gave me a slice. I might not be able to move AFTER either but it would be worth it.

  20. Ohhh, what delicious looking concoctions at a marvelous place! Just the spoons are worth the trip alone.

    Happy day to you!
    -Emily in Norway x

  21. I wish we had some of those gorgeous English tea-shops overhere!

  22. Okay, I'm off to the kitchen right now...

  23. My mouth is watering - I love anything gooseberry, and like Anna, have just planted 3 bushes in my plot!

  24. That sounds completely magical!!! Sometimes you need to make a cup of tea and cake really special! Love the spoon and must give that cake a try! I think I could beat the 10 minutes and maybe even without help =)

  25. I know I would enjoy a piece of this cake (ok maybe 3) with a cup of tea. :-)

  26. Ooohhhhh Yum! It looks delicious! You're so funny -- I'm very relieved to know that you had help eating it!

  27. I have to make that cake now - do you think it will taste as good without the bejewelled cutlery?! I love Badgers and Alfriston too.

  28. Delicious! Lovely recipe...and that tea shop...I feel so hungry all of a sudden--LOL! Great name for a tea room too...A jeweled spoon--not that's tea served in style! Happy Day ((HUGS))

  29. I really want to stop by your house for tea and visit with you - but you are SO far away. Sigh. At least I can live vicariously through your gooseberry jam. I swear we speak the same language in the US, but I couldn't even begin to try that recipe. Translations anyone?

  30. Hello Anne-Margaret - if you email me I'll do my best to translate - I used to live in the US so I do have some conversion stuff up my sleeve!

  31. I have some beaded salad servers and a cheese and pate knife too ! They are fabulous, but I always photograph them so they come out terribly - bah !

    I love Elderberry cordial - i've only ever found it in the UK - unheard of here in Australia.


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