The hedgerows are full of tasty Autumn fruits at the moment which often get completely ignored. I suppose if you live in the countryside you take it for granted but city-folk should be all over the blackberries, elderberries and wild blueberries that they can make into a great little free treat at a dinner party.
People often ask me what to do with elderberries – the list is long, from pickling them to making them into a sorbet to preserving them in an alcohol to add to sparkling wine. I often freeze a few bags on the stems, then shake them into a plastic container to use in salads and sauces during the game season (like the salad below).
Picking hedgerow berries is also a great weekend activity to get kids off their iPads and out into the fresh air. I was brought up living off the land and sea down in Dorset, but these days kids need a little encouragement to make food a part of their culture.
We even used to gather elder flowers at school to make elderflower lemonade – I doubt many people’s kids have brought that home from school recently!
Partridge salad with elderberries recipe
This is a great way to get a couple of servings out of a partridge, and you can make a nice broth with the bones. I always like to keep some elderberries in the freezer which I harvest during the season and use for dishes like this. You can use any game bird, as the sharp fruitiness of the berries is a perfect marriage.
- 2 oven ready partridge
- 60-70g butter, softened
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a small handful of elderberries
- a couple handfuls of small flavoursome salad leaves and herbs
For the dressing:
- 1tbls red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp Tewksbury or Dijon mustard
- 4tbls rapeseed oil
Pre heat the oven to 240º/gas mark 8, season the partridge and rub the breasts with butter. Roast for about 12-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink then leave to rest. Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together and seasoning to taste.
To serve, remove the breasts from the carcass and cut them into 6 or 7 slices and remove all of the leg meat and shred it. Arrange the leaves on 4 serving plates with the pigeon and elderberries and spoon over the dressing.