The student diet of, er, toast (largely) means I don't feel like I've particularly made the most of BFF, but fortunately the brilliant Antonia of Food, Glorious Food has been flying the (union) flag with her British Food Fortnight Challenge!
I couldn't resist an opportunity to make a 'thoroughly British dish', so to make up for rather scatty posting for a while I decided to go all out with the ingredients for this one - Blackberry Trifle!
If you're unfamiliar with them; trifles generally have four layers; sponge at the bottom, then fruit, then custard, then whipped cream. Usually, at least where I'm from, raspberries are used, but with the theme being British/local/seasonal, I thought I'd branch out a bit.
In my defence, this year was less horrific than the last - there were actually blackberries out this time around, which is always a good start - and it was all going rather well until, at the furthest possible point from home, my bag starting leaking purple juice all down my jeans and I was forced to rustle something up with (un-used! I stress that they were un-used!) dog poo bags. Will the humiliation ever end?
And traumatic experiences aside, I can at least say that I used organic, local, hand-picked blackberries, right?
For the cake part, I thought I probably couldn't get much more traditional and British than by using another of my Gran's old recipes; this madeira cake comes from the handwritten recipe book she gave my mum when she went to uni, back in, I don't know, Tudor times or something. This recipe book is practically an ancient relic, as you can imagine, which is why I don't have it with me at university, and thus why I can't tell you the recipe I used. I know, I'm hopeless.
My failings aside; this is a fabulous trifle - it's one of those puddings I always forget how much I like (until I realise I'm eating serving-spoonfuls straight out of the bowl, headfirst in the fridge). You can also make it ridiculously easily by using bought cake and tinned custard, and to be honest the charm of trifle is partly in doing this (I think it's a British thing. Er, or laziness).
About 400g madeira cake (bought or homemade)
300ml double cream
150g cream cheese
couple of drops vanilla
400g tin custard
4-5 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar
1. For the base, break up the madeira cake into pieces and push into the bottom of a large serving bowl (I used an old one of my grandma's; bonus British points?). Simmer the blackberries in a pan with the sugar and water for a good few minutes until you have plenty of juice; there should be enough to soak into the sponge to give it that fantastic purple colour.
2. Spoon the blackberries and juice over the sponge and allow this to cool before covering it with the tinned custard.
3. For the topping, you can either just use plain whipped cream or fold in some cream cheese or mascarpone; I saw this in a trifle recipe ages ago but can't remember whose it was. Anyway, your cream should be lightly whipped (don't overwhip it) and dolloped over the custard layer. You might want more than I've suggested; it looks great if you're generous with the cream but proportions are personal preference, and I like less cream and more sponge.