What happened when Aaron Bertelsen tried Stephen Harris’s ice cream recipe?
The Great Dixter gardener and cook goes from pot to plate, courtesy of a recipe from The Sportsman chef
When life gives Aaron Bertelsen redcurrants, he knows what to make with them. The vegetable gardener and cook at the iconic English country house, Great Dixter, understands how to nurture delicious, healthy ingredients outdoors, and how to turn the fruits of his labour into great dishes once he's back in the kitchen. His new book, Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots, show how almost anyone can cultivate nutritious plants in containers on a small patch of land - just as Bertelsen has in the brick-lined kitchen yard at Great Dixter - and cook its tasty harvest into even tastier food.
High summer is the time to bring in the soft fruit, and Bertelsen has been doing just that, dining on redcurrants, which feature in his book.
“Redcurrants, white currants and blackcurrants are great choices for a partly shady spot, and their gem-like fruit is a striking feature in the summer,” he writes. “Currant bushes are undemanding plants – just give them a good soaking every three or four days. In winter, check on them during warm dry spells so that they don’t dry out. For me, an added bonus is the smell of the blackcurrants, which I find delicious, although not everyone feels the same. They are also invaluable in the kitchen for custards, tarts, jellies and jams, or served just as they are with a scoop of ice cream.”
Indeed, Aaron has taken that ice cream idea a step further, courtesy of fellow Phaidon author, The Sportsman chef Stephen Harris. Harris, who also prides himself on cooking with locally sourced ingredients, includes a great strawberry ice cream recipe in his book, as his seaside restaurant is close to one the biggest strawberry growing areas in the UK. “Although at first glance this may seem to be a simple recipe it is important to use the sweetest, ripest strawberries, which means we only serve it at the height of summer,” he explains in the book.
Aaron has followed another of Harris’s ice-cream recipes, published in the Telegraph newspaper, using equally fresh fruit - redcurrants from Bertelsen’s own bushes. The results are, as Bertelsen says, “A perfect baby pink.” For more from him, including how to grow redcurrants and how to make fig-leaf ice cream, order a copy of Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots, here; for more from Harris, including his original strawberry ice cream recipe, order a copy of The Sportsman, here.