Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam

This Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a firm early autumn favourite recipe. It’s tangy and not too sweet and best of all contains no added pectin. There are just four ingredients: wild blackberries, granulated sugar, limes and a couple of bramley apples to help it set. The flavour is superb and just an hour or so of work from start to finish will result in the most deliciously versatile jam you can eat all year round.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

Blackberries must be one of my favourite fruits as it was only when I was skimming through my archives that I realised how abundant my blackberry recipes are compared to other fruits. That is mainly because of our household obsession with foraging. I am not the worst culprit believe it or not, Luke, who has to be pried out of bed most mornings with a chisel, casts aside the duvet with giddy abandon when those first blackberries start bursting through the hedgerows. All our foraging is done at dawn whilst walking Billy Buddy, much to his chagrin. As Luke delves deep into the blackberry bushes, poor Billy hops from paw to paw, barely bearing the wait until Luke is back on more solid ground again.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

We only have a small freezer but dollars for doughnuts you will always find this time of year the blackberries have stolen all the space. This Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam though has to be the recipe which you brandish victoriously when you’ve over indulged with the foraging. It was the first jam I truly loved as the juicy tartness of the blackberries and the zesty zing of the lime cut through all the sugar to create a really complex taste which is perfect for toast, for sandwich cakes, jam tarts and as a replacement filler in these oat bars.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

I have always made this jam seedless and it’s a little bit of a faff but there are pros and cons to it. The pro is that you don’t need to prepare the bramley apples, bar a bit of rough chopping, which get thrown in a preserving pan with the blackberries straight off the bat. Once the fruit has softened then they get passed through a sieve which is the faffy con bit. However, if you do a lot of preserving then I seriously recommend a food mill which make very light work of removing the skin and seeds from the fruit without losing any fruit pulp.

This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.

If you don’t have a food mill and are de-seeding by hand and sieve then you might have a bit more substantial seedy pulp left behind in the sieve. Don’t you dare throw this away you lucky ducks as it’s marvellous for making blackberry vinegar or blackberry gin.

Print Recipe
Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam
This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.
This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
10x 180g jars
  • 1.5 kg blackberries
  • 500 g bramley apples
  • 3 limes zest of 2 and juice of 3
  • 1 kg granulated sugar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
10x 180g jars
  • 1.5 kg blackberries
  • 500 g bramley apples
  • 3 limes zest of 2 and juice of 3
  • 1 kg granulated sugar
This easy Seedless Wild Blackberry and Lime Jam is a deliciously versatile four ingredient jam with no added pectin and a tangy zesty flavour.
  1. Firstly place 5 saucers into the freezer and then sterilize the jars and lids by placing them in an oven heated to 100°C for 20 minutes.
  2. Roughly chop the apples without peeling or coring, then place in a large preserving pan with the blackberries. Heat gently until all the fruit has softened.
  3. Remove from the heat, then pass everything through a sieve or food mill.
  4. Replace the seedless fruit pulp back into the saucepan and keep the seedy fruit pulp for another purpose (like blackberry gin or vinegar).
  5. Add the lime juice and sugar to the saucepan and heat gently so all the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and place on one of the cold saucers from the freezer. Leave for 1 minute then push the jam with your finger. If the jam wrinkles on the surface it’s ready. If not, then turn the jam back on a boil for a further 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and try the saucer test again.
  6. Once the jam is ready remove the scum from the surface of the jam and then stir in the lime zest.
  7. Decant the jam into the sterilised jars, screw the lids on tightly and store until ready to use.
Recipe Notes
  • The jam can be kept for up to 12 months if kept in a cool dark place

Blackberry, Soplica and Chocolate Pie

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie
This recipe pretty much sums up everything we have been eating this past week, mainly blackberries coupled with ice cold shots of Soplica direct from the freezer. Soplica is a Polish vodka that has been around since 1891, although in our freezer it’s only been around for a week and already we are draining the dregs from it. It was a present from someone who obviously knows us too well. You can get it in a number of different flavours but the one we have is hazelnut. The flavour is so pure, smooth and intense with nuttiness that we swooned at the first sip but it is quite different from Frangelico, the Italian hazelnut liqueur which is heavier. The Soplica just feels a little more summery. Although you could happily substitute Frangelico in this recipe without feeling the loss.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

Every year we are inundated with blackberries, there are bushes and bushes bursting with shiny blackberries all over Parkland Walk and throughout Stroud Green and I can’t walk past a glorious hedgerow plump with fruit without pulling out a bag from my pocket and filling it up there and then. My husband is the same and it seems whenever we take the puppy for a walk, together or individually, then inevitably we will return with a bag overflowing with the precious bramble treat. The past two weeks I have been churning through blackberry recipes like a demon, I have made jams, jellies, chutneys, vodkas, gins and a few favourite ones which I am going to share this week. That’s right, this week is Blackberry Week on Stroud Green Larder. Like Shark Week but less toothy and more sugary.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

I have been craving pie for some weeks and I love to fill a pie with beautiful colours which is why the blackberries jumped right in. Lattice topped pies work well in the summer months as the pastry doesn’t overwhelm plus it’s always tempting to see the glossy filling straining at the seams. Although I have come to realise that I am simply rubbish at lattice tops. It doesn’t matter how many I have done in the past or how often I watch Paul Hollywood for tips on the best way to construct it, I manage to bugger it up every time. I must have spent about half an hour carefully plaiting this little number; over and under, over and under and yes it did look a little skewiff but it was better than usual. Or so I thought until I was cutting myself a nice big slab after the bake and I noticed that I had repeated the pattern right in the middle of the pie. How had I not noticed this? I am resolving to practice my lattice work. The Great British Bake Off is starting this week and I know my plaiting would definitely not make the grade.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder


Still, is it really that important when the pie tastes so damn good? Blackberries don’t get nearly as much credit as the other berries on offer in the summer but I think they are much more versatile that the raspberry or the strawberry. The fruit you pick is often a mixture of sweet and tart and that lends such a complex level of flavour in your recipe. I didn’t include a vast amount of sugar here as the cinnamon adds sweetness and the Soplica is also very sweet but it all comes together to allow the blackberries to shine. The chocolate in the recipe comes from the pastry which is flavoured with cocoa. I always follow Richard Bertinet’s methods for pastry but here I felt I needed to add a little more sugar than he suggests to compliment the cocoa. The pie is delicious, hot, warm or cold but I do recommend eating it with a healthy dollop of clotted cream on the side and of course a little more Soplica to aid digestion.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder


Blackberry, Soplica and Chocolate Pie

350g plain flour
20g cocoa
Good pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cold
135g caster sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
425g blackberries
75g sugar
60ml Soplica
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
3 tbsp tapioca pearls
1 tbsp milk + 1 egg yolk for pastry wash

  1. First prepare the pastry by placing the flour, cocoa and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Remove the butter from the fridge and slice thinly. Add to the mixing bowl and rub it into the flour and cocoa with your fingertips until it has formed rough breadcrumbs.
  3. Tip in the caster sugar and mix in, then add the eggs and yolk and bring it all together into a dough, tipping out onto your work surface to finish the job.
  4. Weigh out 2/3 of the dough, pat into a circle then wrap in cling film. Wrap the other 1/3 in separate cling film and place both dough circles into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  5. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a large enough round to fit a 24cm round pie plate. Lay the pastry onto the plate and trim the edges. Place back in the fridge. Remove the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and roll out to about the thickness of a pound coin. Slice the dough into even strips, then arrange them in a lattice onto a plate. Place the plate in the fridge to chill.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Now you can make the filling. Place all of the blackberries into a saucepan with a splash of water, the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat gently until the blackberries have completely softened and turned into a puree.
  8. Remove from the heat then add the Soplica and tapioca pearls. Stir in until the tapioca pearls have begun to absorb the liquid from the blackberries and the Soplica has mixed in.
  9. Remove the pastry case and the lattice from the fridge. Pour the blackberry filling into the pastry case and then tip the lattice on top of the pie. Press down the edges of the pastry together.
  10. Mix together the milk and egg yolk then brush over the top of the lattice evenly.
  11. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes when the pastry will be crisp and the blackberries bubbling up from within.
  12. Serve warm with cold clotted cream.

Blackberry and Gooseberry Curd

So it’s happening, I’m hitting the ground running and won’t come up for air until Boxing Day.  From now until the 25th I am spending my days cooking and preparing for the festivities.  We have the family over to ours this year and I don’t like to skimp.  No one in my house ever goes hungry – especially me.

So today I started thinking about my trifle.  We have trifle every year.  My paternal and maternal grandmothers made their own trifle every Christmas so as children we would get two different versions, one on Christmas day when we saw one set of grandparents and one on Boxing Day when we saw the other.  One year we had them both over to ours for Christmas Day, I don’t remember but I imagine they probably had to duke it out over who brought the trifle.  I loved both trifles but they were totally different.  Trifle is a very forgiving dessert and as long as there is some sort of sponge, fruit, custard and cream then you are quids in.

Until this year I don’t think I had ever found my definitive trifle.  I have made various different recipes over the years, gingerbread and eggnog trifle, chocolate trifle, three orange trifle, banana and raspberry trifle.  Then there was the year that the custard didn’t set and we had trifle soup, it’s not a recipe I would recommend.

I thought I would never make a trifle as good as the ones I remembered from my childhood.  Until, one unforgettable summer I made Nigel Slater’s St Clements trifle from his Kitchen Diaries.  The key to it was limoncello drizzled over the sponge, lemon curd in place of the fruit and a squeeze of lemon in the custard.  It was absolutely wonderful and now every August I make sure to set aside one Sunday, have some friends or family over to enjoy this pillowy bowl of summer.

So, this idea of curd instead of fruit has been the basis for my winter trifle for the last couple of years, and usually I just change it up for orange curd to bring in the Christmas.  This year I was going to make orange curd again as it is lovely but in the pre-Christmas freezer clear out I found a bag of frozen gooseberries and a bag of frozen blackberries.  For a few minutes I stood with the bags in hand wondering what to do with them, as they were taking up valuable space and needed to be used up now.

I think you have guessed what I decided to do with them in the end.

I finished making the curd and leapt straight over to my laptop to note the recipe down.  Guys, this is it!! This is the trifle I have been waiting for.  My trifle.  The Trifle of Dreams.  And it is all thanks to these ruby red jars of joy which from now on will be known to all and sundry as Christmas Curd.  It’s rich, zingy and tastes just like fruity custard.  Plus the colour sings jingle bells from the rooftops, like a jubilant Michael Bublé sloshed on sherry.

I just hope the two jars I made last the weekend.

When I assemble my trifle on Christmas Eve I will be sure to post some pictures and the final recipe.  In the meantime, here’s the recipe for the curd.  It will keep for two weeks in the fridge so an ideal job to get done ahead of time.

Blackbery and Gooseberry Curd
Adapted from Diana Henry’s recipe for Gooseberry Curd in Salt Sugar Smoke
Make about 600ml

300g blackberries
280g gooseberries
125g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
350g sugar
4 eggs, beaten lightly

  1. Place the blackberries and gooseberries in a heavy saucepan and bring up to a simmer for 10 mins until the fruit has started to break down.
  2. Pour the fruit into a blender and whizz together to form a fruit puree.
  3. Put the puree through a sieve to get rid of all the seeds.
  4. Pour the puree into a medium sized preserving pan along with the butter, sugar and beaten eggs.
  5. On the lowest heat stir the mixture continuously until it comes together to form a thick curd. It should get to about 87°C so can take some time to reach this stage, even as long as 40 mins. You will know it’s ready when you can draw a line in the curd with your wooden spoon.
  6. Pour into sterilised jars, screw the lids on then leave to cool completely before refrigerating.

Cracked Pork Belly with Mustard Greens and Blackberry Vinaigrette

Cracked Pork Belly

Have I mentioned I like pork? I like it bunches. Possibly on a par with cake but they would have to duke it out bare-knuckled before I could truly declare a winner.

Last weekend, our local pub, The Old Dairy, was having a pork and cider festival. Of course we thought we should do our bit for local business and went along to support it whole-heartedly. They offered, alongside their usual fare, a little piggy menu featuring impossible to choose from items like pulled pork baps. So, we decided not to decide and just went the whole hog (I refuse to apologise for that), and ordered the piggy feast. We were treated to crackling popcorn, braised pig cheeks, barbecued ribs, pork belly, crispy pig ears and a bacon salad as a token gesture at health. This all went down very well, so much so that I couldn’t help but re-create one of the elements during the week.

There is no reason why this can’t be a mid-week treat as you get a lot of joy from not much work. The pork belly itself takes moments to prepare and can easily be done in about ten minutes in the morning to be thrown in the oven as soon as you get home. Have a glass of cider to indulge in your own festival whilst you are waiting the hour for the pork belly to get itself ready. I had picked up some lovely mustard greens from the farmers market and drizzled over some fresh fruity vinaigrette to add a sweet zing to the ensemble.

The blackberry vinegar I used was one of the by-products of my mammoth blackberry September but you can use any fruit vinegar just whisked together with a bit of olive oil to create your dressing. For the pork belly I like to use garlic powder instead of the real thing not only because it is the lazy option but also doesn’t produce that acrid burnt smell which fresh garlic cloves do in high heat.

Pork Belly1

Cracked Pork Belly with Mustard Greens and Blackberry Vinaigrette

2 kg pork belly
1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp garlic powder
Plenty of salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C
  2. Pat the pork belly dry with kitchen towel then score the skin in a criss cross, being careful not to pierce the meat.
  3. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and rub over the skin, pushing the herby crumbs into the cracks you created in the skin. Season well.
  4. Place the pork belly in a roasting tray, skin side down and roast on the high heat for 15 mins.
  5. Turn the heat down to 160°C and roast for a further 30 mins.
  6. Turn the pork belly skin side up and roast for a final 15 mins.
  7. Remove the pork belly from the oven and rest for ten mins before slicing.
  8. Serve on top of the mustard greens and drizzle over with the blackberry vinaigrette.

Willow’s Wicked Elixir


Willow's Wicked ElixirDid you have squillions of blackberries rolling around your kitchen this year after many an enthusiastic and prickly squandering of all the blackberry bushes within a 5-mile radius? You did? Samies!

This year our Halloween temptress herself requested a cocktail in her name which was very good of her seeing as she only drinks catmilk, and I pooh-poohed that suggestion straight off the bat. From there, I didn’t have far to look for inspiration as sitting resplendent at the forefront of our drinks cabinet was evidence of this year’s obsessive blackberry picking. Most of the blackberry elixir has been sequestered away as presents for very special family members, but I kept a bottle back for medicinal use as the long autumn evenings require a little extra vitamin c. You know, to ward off colds.

Not so Wicked Willow

This particular elixir was crafted to make full use of the pulp and pips which were left over after I made blackberry jelly and I couldn’t bear them going to waste. However, this is so good that the blackberries could have been picked solely for this purpose. So if you have any cleverly stashed blackberries in your freezer from last month which haven’t quite made it into a pie yet then you must work quickly and quietly whilst everyone is out. If you store your elixir at the back of the cupboard where no one can see it or drink it but you then its magical properties will work all the better. Willow insists and it is her elixir.

Willows Wicked ElixirWillow’s Wicked Elixir

200g blackberries
Juice and Zest of 1 lime
600ml vodka
250ml Armagnac
250ml sugar syrup

Add all the ingredients together, store in a large bottle or jar for 2 weeks, giving it a shake every other day, then strain and bottle. Easy peasy pudding and pie.