The currants are ripening. Each time we go any where near the black currants a blackbird flies out of the bush with a flutter and a squawk of protest. The very idea that anyone has the audacity to pick their currants. alarms them.  We also need to check that birds have not managed to get trapped into the cage around the redcurrants and are not able to get out.  One year before the cage was in place, the thrushes had the fruit eaten before they were ripe.

Blackcurrants & blackbirds June 2011 019

Ripening blackcurrants

Red currants have to be caged or there woul be none left for summer pudding.

Red currants have to be caged or there woul be none left for summer pudding.

The red and blackcurrants are ripening rapidly. Summer pudding is a luscious for a summer lunch. It can be made in advance in quick time.

At Mornington, puddings were set out on the sideboard. There always seemed to an enormous choice. In reality it was a combination of a freshly made pudding and what ever was leftover from last night’s dinner. A friend of my mother-in-law used to spend part of her holiday picking soft fruit; blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries as they ripened. Days were long and wasps could be a challenge when picking. Then one day Oonagh Vaughan’s Summer Pudding appeared at lunchtime. Served with cream from Phyllis the cow it stole the show.

Summer Pudding



This can be made from a mixture of fruit. Whatever you have on hand growing in the garden

2-3 lb Soft fruits Blackcurrants, Redcurrants, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Strawberries

2-3 Cups Granulated Sugar

Slices of stalebread or sponge cake.


  1. Cut into cake or bread into fingers 2-3” wide and line 1.7litre (3 pint) pudding bowl by placing the bread/ cake fingers across bottom and vertically up sides of bowl, overlapping them slightly
  2. Dissolve the sugar in water and bring to the boil for 2mins. Add the black and red currants and gooseberries (if being used) continue cooking until fruit bursts. (3-4mins). Add raspberries and strawberries. Stir to combine fruits.
  3. Taste. This is the time to add a little extra sugar if needed,
  4. Ladle the fruit and juice into the lined bowl. Any extra scraps of cake or bread can be put into bowl when half filled.
  5. Add more fruit mix.
  6. Top with bread / cake pieces.
  7. Place a plate on top and put a heavy weight on top. Allow to become cold before putting in the refrigerator for 24hours.

To serve: Un-mould onto serving plate and serve with softly whipped cream