I have just returned from a charity trip to Kenya where I was one of a group running a week long summer camp for hundreds of children, in one of the many desperately poor communities around Kisumu, near Lake Victoria. I have been there before but even so I found it shocking seeing how they live – their homes are tiny mud huts, often dilapidated and with no electricity, hunger and dehydration are not uncommon, their clothes are generally threadbare, and many of the children have no shoes yet they often have to walk miles to get to school. Interestingly, and possibly because they have so little, they gain pleasure from the most simple things – take the little girl in this picture who was so happy just playing with a mud ball!

Simple pleasures are often the best – on my return home, and remembering just how lucky we are in this country, one of my simple pleasures is seeing blackberries growing in the hedgerows - this year they are here extra early which is a real joy. Every day when I walk the dogs I pick a few more, and we have already had them in all sorts of guises. I've done White Chocolate and Blackberry Blondies which were delicious (use the recipe for Raspberry White Chocolate and Blueberry Blondies on the website and just exchange the raspberries and blueberries for blackberries www.finooliveoil.co.uk/blogs/recipes/raspberry-white-chocolate-and-blueberry-blondies), and I made Blackberry and Coconut Ice-cream which I think is pretty good too. 

Blackberry and Coconut Ice Cream

250g blackberries, 1 tin full fat coconut milk, 1 tbsp maple syrup, sprinkle of salt, zest of a lemon

Puree the blackberries and then press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Drain the liquid from the coconut milk and place the thick cream in a bowl. Whip to a whipped cream consistency then add the strained berries, maple syrup, salt and lemon zest. Taste and add more sweetener/salt/zest if needed.  Freeze, but do take out of the freezer 10 mins before serving.

If you need something for an easy lunch, or a simple supper then this Red Onion, Taleggio and Sage Tart looks quite impressive and is quick and delicious - it smells fantastic too.

Red Onion, Taleggio and Sage Tart

4 red onions finely sliced, Fino olive oil, Fino dark balsamic, puff pastry, 1 pack taleggio cheese sliced, 5/6 large sage leaves chopped - serves 4 

Fry the red onion in olive oil over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in a good glug of Fino dark balsamic, and season. Line the baking tray with the puff pastry then spoon the cooked onion on top spreading out evenly, and leaving a 1cm edge uncovered. Lay the taleggio slices on top of the onion then sprinkle with chopped sage. Cook in the oven at about 180C for 15/20 mins, then serve with green salad. (If you don't have taleggio you could use mozzarella instead)

Don't forget to get in touch if you need to replenish your stocks of Fino Olive Oil or Fino Balsamic - you can do so very simply online – www.finooliveoil.co.uk - and all orders placed before 20th August will get a free jar of Fino Chilli Jam - I promise if you haven’t tried it yet, it is well worth it!

Looking forward to hearing from you.


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