It started with an Ottolenghi recipe in the Guardian: blackberry and star anise friands. I love a friand, those little moist, almost chewy, almond cakes, delicious and helpful despatchers of leftover egg whites. We headed to the local park under the threat of rain to pick the last of the stunted, soggy blackberries. “Better be quick, there won’t be any left soon”, advised a cheerful dog walker.

We got a bit carried away, ending up with far more blackberries than were needed for a lightly speckled friand batter, and more besides: a carrier bag of sloes painstakingly gathered at the expense of lacerated arms and a tub of dirty rosehips. I also found a mushroom, but threw it away again when it wouldn’t match any of the mushroom descriptions in my only foraging book.

I baked the friands while the rain thrashed the windows, which is the best way to bake. They turned out cute, though I’m not sure I don’t prefer them plain and un-star anise-adorned. The rest of the blackberries are in a box earmarked for crumble and the sloes have been pierced and deposited in a kilner jar with a large amount of sugar and cheap gin. The hard part now is waiting for three months – three! – until we drink it.

As for the rosehips, a lengthy preparation process yielded a small amount of pale syrup which tasted mainly of sugar. Oh well.

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