You've gotta love wild blackberries. Of course, the Thames-Coromandel District Council regards them as a noxious weed, due to the thorny plant's invasive nature, but it seems a bit ridiculous to make them illegal.
"That plant produces vast amounts of edible berries that people can gather and eat for free. Ban them!"
Ah, but enough with the cynicism. Let's just bear in mind that if bureaucracy has its way, the simple pleasure of ripping your hands and legs to shreds as you tread gingerly through wiry patches of sprawling blackberries may be drawing to a close, so get out there and make the most of it.
Well, maybe next season.
I'm very lucky, in that there is a huge blackberry patch on my Dad's farm, which he is making an effort to look after and keep harvestable (read: careful pruning to leave paths through the creepers that won't leave you in need of a transfusion by the time you've filled your ice-cream container). When we were up there last month, we made the most of the end of the season, by stocking up on lovely, sweet berries to use in a crumble.
Ice-cream containers full of blackberries remind me of being a kid. Nomnomnom.
Anyway, my Nana made the crumble using her old recipe that never fails. Start with your blackberries, about a litre (for want of a better measure),
and one apple, stewed down to sauce.
Mix the apple, berries and 1/2 - 1 Cup of sugar, to taste.
Make sure your little campfire is hot, and burning down to lovely embers.
Add the crumble, which is a mixture of butter, self-raising flour and more sugar. (I wish I could be more accurate, but whatever I made my notes on about this at the time is nowhere to be found now)
Carefully place the pie dish in a Camp Oven, and make sure it's tight.
Spread out a nice bed of coals, put the Camp Oven in the centre of the embers, and pile them up around the base of the oven.
Shovel hot coals over the top of the Oven, covering the lid completely. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes.
Dust off the ashes and remove from the fire. Carefully remove the lid and extract the pie dish.
With the help of a torch, dish up the crumble and try to get photos. Indulge while it's hot, then stoke up the fire and enjoy the bush in the cool of the evening.
(It's OK Dan, you'll be on holiday again one day.)