If there is one member of the household who is thrilled that our kitchen is constantly filled these days with blackberries, damsons, crab apples and cherries it’s Wesley. I have spoken before about his obsession with pears but his fruit addiction is now getting out of control. I can’t turn my back on a bowl of freshly picked fruit without piquing his interest and five minutes later finding him batting them all over the kitchen floor.
Yesterday, after a bounteous yield of crab apples was happily soaking up the sun streaming in from the window, I was called into the kitchen by the sound of an energetic animal bouncing something around on the tiles which never spells goods news. I walked in to find Billy Buddy enthusiastically chasing round a poor crab apple. How did he get hold of that, there’s no way the puppy can get anywhere near our kitchen counter? I looked round the corner to see Wesley looking on forlornly as his hard worn apple had been rudely swiped by the puppy. He learnt the hard way that it’s not nice when someone else steals your fruit.
Unfortunately for Wesley his fruit supply is about to be cut short. From this week all furry little creatures are being banned from any food preparation areas, which is a sad little side effect of now opening my kitchen up as a business. I will feel very nostalgic for the days when my steadfast kitchen companion is fast asleep stretched across the full length of my counter as I’m in full on baking mode, flour and sugar flying across him blissfully unaware. I will especially miss the times when I am chopping onions in his vicinity and his eyes start blinking, full of confusion as to why they are now pouring with water. I am ashamed to say this is something that will never fail to make me laugh, as well as the time that he pounced up on the side as I was juicing some lemons. A cat with lemon juice in his eye produces a very sour look.
Thank goodness then that I just about managed to ward Wesley off these glacé cherries during the entire length of this candying process. These cherries, like Monday’s salt beef have been a bit of a labour of love. I started them weeks ago and only now are they finally ready to be presented to the world, having ascended from a lovely healthy fruit to pretty much just sugar.
I have been really keen to make glacé cherries for some time now as I always thought the cherriness of the commercially made versions was somehow lost in the candying. These homemade glacé cherries are a world away from anything you might have had before, they don’t have the brilliant postbox red colour but instead command an alluring burgundy. Their texture is also much more dense and fudgey; I can imagine them being the secret ingredient of the world’s best brownie.
However, next time I will probably amp up the amount I make. I would love to include them in recipes like Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake which featured on The Great British Bake Off last week but I couldn’t bear to lose my precious gems all at once amongst such a big cake. At the moment I am sequestering them away from snack venturing fingers to be saved for only the most reverential of cocktails, the most exquisite of cupcakes and to adorn only the most luxurious trifle. Although I think I am being too precious about them, the last thing I want is to save them and save them until they are spoilt and no longer as prizeworthy as they currently are. One thing I know for certain, they are nowhere near any sneaky little cream coloured paws.