Monday, 24 August 2015

Fruit picking

As a little girl my mum grew raspberries on canes in our garden. As summer rolled around each year my brother and I would greedily snaffle them, taking them to our playhouse to make faux raspeberry tarts with (raspberries squished onto bits of bread). It was not until a couple of weeks ago however, that I got to experience a pick your own farm! I've dreamt of visiting one for years; the idea of filling baskets with fruit and then hopping it home to make jams, jellies and cordials filled me with excitement. 

A few weekends ago my mum and I made a trip to Trevaskis Farm. They offer a variety of pick your own crops; we picked raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries (red & green), blackcurrants and redcurrants but they also have plums, broad beans, sweet corn and runner beans (amongst many others). It was so lovely spending the afternoon in the sunshine with the smell of sweet soft fruits wafting in the air. There are also quite a few chickens clucking about so I made friends with a few of them.

Here are few more snaps from our day:

On our actual fruit picking excursion I wore jeans and a lotus flower t-shirt. However because I love to re-imagine things these photographs depict what I'd have liked to have worn if berry juice, mud and chicken poo hadn't have been an issue. They are very slightly inspired by Laura Knight's wonderful paintings of Hop Pickers painted in the 1940s:

Hop-Picking Granny Knowles, an Old Hand, Laura Knight, 1940
Source: 1

Hop Picking No.1, Laura Knight c.1946
Source: 2
 I love their layers of neckerchiefs, shirts and skirts coupled with their heat glazed expressions and poses. My own ensemble features one of my favourite items of clothing; a strawberry print shirt, perfect for fruit picking! I bought it years ago in Daisy Rain Vintage who are based in Redruth. My dentist is just up the road so I always look forward to having my teeth checked over because I can visit afterwards! It's such a beautiful shop, the main downstairs room's ceiling is completely covered in parasols. They also sell plants and the most beautiful selection of antique furniture (I wish my house was bigger!) I definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in Redruth (which is also home to the most beautiful Art Deco shop La Belle - seriously glorious).

An afternoon of picking certainly makes for thirsty work on our arrival home I felt so sleepy. There was no time for sitting about though as we had to convert our fruits into yummy treats! We ended up making redcurrant jelly, blackcurrant cordial and a summer fruits jam which is a delicious mixture of an array of fruits.

The blackcurrant cordial was by far the best product of our cooking marathon. If you fancy making your own this is how:

Lemon Juice

Rinse the blackcurrants. Place in a preserving pan and add water  (allow about 140ml per 450g (¼ pint per 1lb) of fruit). 
Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft this should take around 30 minutes.
Using elastic bands tie a muslin to an upended stool. Place a bowl under the muslin and pour the blackcurrants into the muslin. 
Allow to drip through. You can speed up the process by stirring it with a spoon however your cordial will not be clear (we didn't mind too much about that so we squashed away - it's only if you are keeping it for a long time that you should worry about clarity). 
Once it's all dripped through discard the fruit pulp (or save it for a crumble or pie).
Pour the liquid back into the preserving pan and bring to the boil. 
Add the sugar and lemon juice (allow about 170-340g (6-12oz) sugar to 570ml (1 pint) of liquid) and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and syrupy.
Pour into sterilised bottles (I find the best method is in the dishwasher) and label. Refrigerate once opened.

It's delicious mixed with sparkling or soda water. Poured over ice cream or with porridge!

(all measurements taken from

In other news I've started writing a cookbook, it's very much in it's early stages but I'm getting on well and really hope to share more with you all very soon. In the meantime I'd love to know about when you learnt to cook – Who taught you (if anyone...)? What did you learn? What do you still hanker after learning? Any answers will be extremely gratefully received! 

Have a wonderful week.

Outfit Details

Strawberry print shirt - Ben Sherman via Daisy Rain Vintage
Silk skirt - Jaegar via a charity shop
Rose print silk scarf - a birthday gift
Clogs - Ebay & hand-painted by me
Basket - a Christmas gift



  1. I love this post (and all your posts) cause
    it's like a looking to an old painting full
    of colour and light (and fruit).
    I'm excited about your cooking book <3

    with love,

  2. Adorabile e sofisticata signorina di campagna!!!

  3. Beautiful! I really love picking fruits and other things...I find it relaxing for some reason. Even if it's hot, I just love it. It can be very satisfying. I love your top :)) Xxx

  4. Ahh I love that late summer fruit harvesting time of year. What a lovely outfit you put together for the occasion!

  5. Oh Lally. I love these photos. They bring to mind the beautiful pink cheeked girls on vintage fruit crate labels. I love that you are writing a cookbook. I first learned to cook from my grandma. She had an enormous garden and would make salads with lettuce still warm and soft from the sun.

  6. Your photos immediately brought to mind Rosie the Riveter but fruity and sultry and agricultural, sweaty and labouring with passion. But I like the idea of making jam and cordial better than munitions. I can also see the parallel with the paintings you show us. I adore the ambiance you have created here and your projects always make me think that it's not too difficult to get things done if you just do it, if that makes sense.

  7. Magic always dear Lilly.
    Picking fruit and you, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Pure poetry

  8. Such a heartwarming post, Lally! It reminds me of my Mom's garden - raspberries, blackcurrant and redcurrant, as well as gooseberries and many other berries, flowers and vegetables grow there in abundance. I am glad that one of your dreams came true.

    To answer your question, I am 42 and still constantly learning how to cook. I don't think I'll ever stop learning, unless I loose interest of course. My Mom is an avid gardener, but not a very advanced cook, so I can say that I learned from whoever I met - I always asked for their recipes and have a thick notebook filled with friends' and relatives' recipes. I write a cooking blog for a few years now and sometimes think that I want to write a book about cooking, learning, experimenting, filled with people's stories as well, some day. Good luck with your writing! xxx

  9. I love fruit picking and literally live next door to a pick your own fruit farm so it's a past time I usually take for granted. I'm over there almost constantly at the moment as it's raspberry season! I love the outfit you've put together and I feel really inspired to paint some clogs from seeing yours.

    Good luck with the cookbook, that sounds rather amazing, I hope I'll be able to pick up a copy when it's completed. As for your questions, my mum is really passionate about cooking, she's as passionate about food as I am art and to her it's her creative outlet so I've been incredibly fortunate to learn from her. She's the type of woman to travel somewhere and immerse herself in the local culinary delights and be able to exactly recreate everything from memory. Unfortunately I don't really share her passion, but apparently I have a natural flair for cooking without having to apply much effort which is no doubt down to having been so immersed in cookery through my mum as she was always keen to teach me since I was tiny. It got a bit bored with it as a kid, but I'm grateful for it now!

  10. I love a bit of foraging. the redcurrants, rhubarb, raspberries, apples and blackberries grow by happy accident, no idea how the got there but they're free and I'll have them, ta very much. I've been making fennel pesto from the fronds I've cut down this morning. I didn't look half as pretty as you did, though. xxxx

  11. Snap! We've had all the same fruit as you. Isn't it wonderful? I've been eating scones with our homemade jam and it's just heavenly. I love your revisualised look for the occasion. I only ever look like a tramp when there is fruit picking to be done. Xxx

  12. Where to start? Your pitch perfect outfit? The amazing paintings? Recollections of childhood fruit-picking?
    As always your post is a visual feast, but with added actual fruit-feast-ness. My younger brother and I were (and still are) fiends for raspberries and red currants. And there is almost nothing to beat the taste sensation of devouring straight from the canes. There is so much SUMMER in these photos too! Have you had more sun down where you are?? Anyway, my senses are feeling all refreshed and zingy after reading/salivating over this post.

  13. Summer fruits are the best aren't they and especially ones you pick yourself. We grow loads of lovely stuff in our garden at home and my chickens love pottering about amongst it all eating what is down low. Love your photos, always colourful and magical.

  14. Fruit picking farms are a joy I am yet to indulge in, I just know I would have so much fun! I was forever clawing at the few bushes in out back garden that had a few raspberries/blackberries, jamming them straight into my mouth. Your outfit is beautiful, I love the colours, it looks so cheerful!

  15. Hmm, thnx for the yummy recipe! I will need to try tis soon! :) Please do make sure to tel us as soon as your book is out!

    I watched my mother cooking as soon as I was able to walk. I love & hate cooking at the same time, weird I know.... but I adore baking. My mother taught me by showing... we never talked, I would only occasionally ask something & that was it.
    I still can not thicken a sauce... it's either too runny/watery or it's so stiff/puuding-like, that you can push a fork in it & the fork will stand erect without falling to the side. :D

    I love making turkish pilav with arpa ┼čehriye, seitan from scratch & turkish salad with white cheese... and so much more.

  16. Ahh, yum! I'm so jealous of your fruit picking adventure! Those redcurrants look so gorgeous and crisp! I'm grateful to have lots of mandarins, lemonades, passionfruit, pomegranates and oranges from our garden this summer, but sadly where we live is too warm to grow any berry but mulberries (although they are delicious too). Great outfit - I approve of any ensemble with at least one silk item in it. Your photos are so beautiful and summery.