Jewels of the Wild

A little walking trail, uneven and rocky, bearing muddy patches and running streams leads you to the south side hill overlooking the harbour. Wild flowers, wild berries and wild bugs hum in the wind as the trail rises atop a hill and then the magnificent view of the city takes over.

On a warm summer’s day the little clearing on the rocky hill surrounded by the purple heather begs you to sit down and catch the cool breeze that rushes to the harbour. And then you find yourself trapped. As you look around, you realize a blue hue peeking through the purple flowers and then all of a sudden you are mesmerized.

Velvety little blue coloured berries bursting with summer ripeness and sweet juices await a picker. Even if you aren’t a berry picker they still call to you and tempt you and finally seduce you with their deep smouldering colour and sweet flesh. Picking one makes you long for the other one that dances in front of your eyes and the cycle begins.

There I was, picking berries after berries – one for Saira, one for me, one for Saira and one for me – and it went on until the Little Girl started to pick her own. The more I picked, the more I wanted. And then without a second thought I said to my husband, “pull me away”. “Lets come back tomorrow with a container,” he said. I stood up from the stout little bushes and said “YES!” I couldn’t believe myself.

I never thought I was the berry picker type. The type that makes berry picking an event, plans a day around it, gathers berry picking gear and essentials for the day and off they go – berry picking all day. The type I thought belonged to a certain age bracket. Was I really going to do that? As I realized that I said, “we can come for an hour!” And the plan was set.

The next day with my own essentials, which would be my camera, my subject who happens to be the Little One, my confidante and two containers we set out on the trail once again.

The hours flew as I tried to capture a few photographs of the Little Girl and the beautiful landscape and pick clusters of blueberries off the bushes. The berries quickly filled the buckets … and the little belly. On our way back on the trail there were blackberries and a few ripe partridgeberries that made their way home with us.

It doesn’t end here. One inspiration leaves a legacy of more.

“I have a wild berry tart with an almond crust filled with mascarpone and topped with roasted coconuts. Want to go on a picnic date?”

He smiled and said, “Sure. Where?”

“Where the berries came from.”

Holding my hand he said, “That would be nice. For the blog?”

ALMOND FLAD WITH WILD SUMMER BERRIES

YOU NEED:

For crust

  • flour: 1 cup
  • sugar: 1/4 cup
  • almonds: 1/2 cup
  • butter: 6 tbsp
  • Lemon zest: 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt: 1/4 tsp
  • Cold Water: 2 tbsp

For Filling

  • Mascarpone cheese: 1 and a half cup
  • Whipping cream: 2 cups
  • Vanilla extract: 1
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup or more to your taste
  • Berries: 1 cup or more mixed
  • Sweetened shredded coconut: 4 tbsp

HERE’S HOW

Almond Crust:

  • Toast almonds lightly and grind them fine.
  • In a food processor, add flour, ground almond, butter, sugar and salt. Pulse until blended. Add the lemon zest and water in small quantity until you get a soft dough.
  • Press dough in your removable tart/flan pan on the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden in colour.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

Filling

  • Whip mascarpone cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

To arrange:

  • Toast shredded coconut under a broiler for 5 minutes or until the tips turn brown.
  • Fill tart with mascarpone cheese filling, top with berries and finally sprinkle the toasted coconut.
  • Enjoy!

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21 thoughts on “Jewels of the Wild

  1. Beautiful, gorgeous and utterly spontaneous! Love it!!! I went berry piling last heist as with my little niece. She was only four at the time and amazed that things like strawberries grow in little bushes. As we’re both city kids it’s always fun to get lost in the wilderness and enjoy the sun and green! πŸ™‚

      • Thanks Alice! So glad you enjoyed the pictures. I am sure to go berry picking again before summer says goodbye. My little one is only two and this is her first time and mine probably the third time. But I never enjoyed picking berries before this time. I guess it helps to be on top of a hill surrounded by beauty.
        And typos are so essential I think…it makes us laugh. I love typos(not my own though).

  2. I loved your story today!! It made me feel like Blueberries for Sal.. only they were for Saira (and luckily no bears around:D) What a gorgeous tart!!! I love your presentation, the flavors, the lovely photography all does it justice!! But my most favorite photo is the sixth one where your little sweetheart is walking and looking down!! What a lovely family you have! xx

  3. I just found your blog, via Just a Smidgen, and this post is so beautiful, the photography, the subject, your Little One concentrating so hard on the berry in her hand, and to top it off a tart that, well just makes me want to go on a picnic too ! Delightful !

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