A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
This morning I was picking black mulberries in my garden. This sounds very English, but it was in Brussels, though the tree was originally English. It was a present from friends seventeen years ago, and we carried it with us in a pot for several house moves. It’s lived in the sandy soil that underlies most of Brussels for thirteen years, looking shapely, leafy and quite happy as a useful strategic perch for the birds. This year it suddenly decided that it is after all a fruit-bearing tree. In previous years – all of them – we’ve had about ten berries, tops. This year we already have a large freezer bag full, with more pickings to come if the birds allow it. The mulberry-leaf rash on my arms is already fading, and my fingers are stained indelibly. I am contemplating recipes.
Jam? Probably not enough fruit. Mulberry tarts? Maybe. Butter pastry would be needed. Mulberry fool? Can’t get double cream in Belgium, only crème onctueuse, which while as delicious as it sounds, doesn’t whip like double cream does. I think it will be mulberry shortcake, following my mother’s blackcurrant shortcake recipe. While I am making up my mind, please consider the cookbooks we have laid out in front of you.
Monday 10 July: Kate studies Christina Ward’s Preservation: The Art and Science of Canning, Fermentation and Dehydration
Thursday 13 July: Moira takes a sentimental journey through her family’s old cookbooks.
Friday 14 July: Hilary relishes a cookery book in which Jonathan Meades’s trademark erudition, spleen and wit leap off every page, The Plagiarist in the Kitchen.
Kate’s photo of her bowl, mulberries and living-room floor. There’s also an ant in there somewhere.