As the annual Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery approaches, those of us lucky to be attending are thinking about the theme for the year – Wrapped and Stuffed Foods. There has been some recent discussion on the symposium group Facebook page about leaves as wrappers for food, and there is a far greater variety of these in use than I had known. I am most familiar with vine leaves as used in I dolmas (dolmades), but many others have been named – including red and white mulberry, cherry, and quince.
Co-incidentally with this discussion, I came across a couple of ideas for using blackcurrant leaves as an ingredient - not a wrapper - so I thought I would share them with you. Those of you lucky enough to have blackcurrants nearby may find them interesting. The recipes appeared in The Times of March 6, 1939, in the regular feature Recipes For Small Households: Some Dishes By Request/
“Enquiries have also come for sweets flavoured with young green blackcurrant leaves. Spring being at hand we shall soon be able to get these exquisitely scented leaves so popular on the Continent.
Cream of Blackcurrant Leaves.
(For Four People)
Boil a pound of white sugar with half a pint of water to a syrup. Then add a pint of blackcurrant leaves and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and strain. When cold add the juice of three lemons and half a pint of whipped cream. Serve in glasses.
Blackcurrant Leaf Ice.
Make the ice the same as the above, but leave out the cream. Freeze, but not too hard. Serve with a hot puree of blackcurrants.
At the end of summer pick a good supply of the leaves, lay them on trays and leave for a month in a warm room. Then store. In this way they will preserve their flavour all through the winter."
Quotation for the Day.
Here is a rural fellow that will not be denied your Highness' presence: he brings you figs.