Wild Blackberry Pie

Around this time of year is when you will find blackberries growing wild all over here in Britain. It’s not just in the more countryside type areas either. We’ve found plenty down alleyways and along roadsides nearby. The ones I used for this recipe however were picked from along the local canal side, as I felt they were less exposed to pollutants than those along the roadside.

For this recipe you can use either purchased blackberries or ones you have picked yourself its completely up to you. You can also swap blackberries for other types of berries if you prefer. WARNING: Never ever pick a berry to eat unless you know for certain that it is an edible type of berry.

This pie is very easy to make, even more so if you use a ready made roll of shortcrust pastry. However if you prefer to make your own pastry then don’t hesitate to do so. The amount of sugar used in the pie is also quite flexible. Feel free to adjust the amount depending on the tartness of the berries you use and your individual tastes.

If you are using wild blackberries then you want to make sure that you wash them really well to get out any dirt and creepy crawlies. I usually fill a bowl with room temperature water and add a bit of vinegar. I then add the berries, give them a good swish around and leave to soak for 5 mins or so. I then drain and repeat with just plain water. It is better to not wash your berries until you are ready to use them.

Ingredients

  • 500g Blackberries
  • 100g Granulated Sugar + an extra tsp for sprinkling on top
  • 70g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Roll of Shortcrust Pastry (you can always make your own)
  • 1 tsp Milk

Method

1) Start by washing your berries well and leaving them to drain in a colander.

2) Pre heat your oven to Gas Mark 7 or 220 degrees Centigrade.

3) Grease a 9 inch pie dish (one that’s not too deep) with a little olive oil. I used the lid from a large glass casserole dish for mine.

4) Take your pastry from the fridge and unroll it. Fill the pie dish with a layer of the pastry and cut off the excess. If you like a bigger ‘crust’ around the edge of your pie than I do then feel free to leave enough pastry to allow this.

5) In a large mixing bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and self raising flour.

6) Make sure any excess water is drained from the bottom of the colander and then add the berries to the bowl and mix together. How well you mix everything together is completely up to you. I like to mix mine really well so that the mixture is almost starting to turn more like a paste rather than individual berries coated in flour and sugar.

7) Spoon the mixture into your pie base and spread out with the back of a spoon.

8) If you don’t have a big enough piece of rolled out pastry for the lid, then make the remaining dough into a ball and roll it out until large enough. Put the pastry on top of the pie and cut off the excess. Any left over pastry can be frozen.

9) Crimp the sides of the pie together with the prongs of a fork. You also want some ventilation holes so poke some in the top with the fork as well. I decided I wanted to make some bird feet shapes after I has already poked some holes hence the pattern on top of my pie.

10) Brush the top with the milk and then sprinkle over a little sugar.

11) Put your pie in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to about Gas Mark 5 or 190 degrees Centigrade. Leave the pie for around another 20 – 30 mins. Your pie should be golden brown on top and cooked on the base when ready.

12) When the pie is done remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 mins. We like to eat ours while still a little warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Advertisements

Rainbow Studs Nails

So as I had a very busy weekend, I decided to do a design that was very simple and quick, but I also wanted it to be very fun and bright.

I started by painting each nail in 2 coats of a different colour as I wanted each nail to be different.

Most colours were from the Coconut Infusions range by Barry M.

On the thumbs I used a orange/coral shade, on the index a light blue, on the middle fingers a bold pink, the ring fingers a sea green and on the little fingers a lilac shade.

I then finished off the design by using bright nails studs in 5 similar colours. I made sure that the colour of the stud was different to the nail it was going on though. I placed a single stud the the centre of the base of the nail.

Rose French Twist Nails

These are a twist on a French manicure, that I think came out really pretty. The photos do not do it justice though as I feel the colours look so much better in reality.

To start I just painted all my nails with 2 coats of a clear nail strengthener/base coat.

I then took a colour by Barry M called ‘Dusky Mauve’. The best way to describe this colour is a dark brownish purple. It does have purple shimmer in it but it is hard to see when on the nail. I used a wide flat brush to help paint this onto the tips of the ring fingers as neatly as I could. I then repeated a second coat.

On the remaining nails I used the same flat brush with a chrome rose gold shade in order to paint the tips onto those nails.

I then finished off the design by placing a row of rhinestones at the base of each ring finger nail and then covering everything with a top coat.

Matte Weathered Copper Nails

For this design I was going for a sort of weathered copper effect, but I also wanted the finish to be matte.

I started by painting all my nails in 2 coats of a metallic teal/turquoise shade.

Once this was dry I used a bronze coloured polish and a flat brush. I brushed off any excess onto some tin foil and then used the brush to dry brush an effect over the top of each nail.

I repeated this again to try and build up the effect a bit more so that there was more prominent areas of the bronze showing through.

I then finished off the design with 2 coats of a matte top coat.