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