Gooseberries are the first seasonal British berries that come into season around the same time as Elderflowers. We planted ours at our present home some 7 years ago. Our dream then was to eventually have a  sustainable kitchen garden to live from spring to autumn. This year our dream came true..

Back to Gooseberries: Although not the most handsome berry (with its thick skin and stubble appearance) when in season, oh boy… sweet and juicy they are gorgeous eaten raw and rewarding ingredient in the kitchen.

There are number of simple, summery recipes around with the gooseberry fool being probably the most popular. Our favourite one is a combination of elderflower jelly and luxurious gooseberry compote… a light, seasonal, easy to make dessert for the whole family to enjoy. Try these with our pannacotta recipe.

We are fortunate to have our own stock of gooseberries and elderflower right at our doorstep, there are no food miles in this recipe.



  • 500ml of Elderflower cordial diluted to taste

(needs to be slightly over sweet)

  • 1 teaspoon powdered agar agar



Prepare 6 glasses holding minimum of 125ml of liquid.

Bring  500ml of cordial to the boil. Add the agar agar into the cordial mix whisking well until dissolved. Immediately pass through a sieve to make sure there are no bits in the liquid.

Pour in the jelly mix to clean glasses, filling them two-third way up. Once all glasses are filled place on a flat tray in the fridge and allow 2-3 hours to set.

In the meantime prepare your gooseberry compote.



  • 30 firm washed gooseberries, tops and tails removed
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 250g water
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 2 peels of un-waxed lemon
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial
  • 2 star anise



Bring all ingredients but gooseberries to a slow simmer and once the sugar has dissolved pull off the heat to infuse for 1 hour. Return to the simmer and add the gooseberries. Poach very slowly for 4-6 minutes not taking your eye off as they will cook and disintegrate. When the Gooseberries skins look slightly frayed take off the heat and cool down.  Leave overnight to infuse.

Carefully place 5 gooseberries on the top of each jelly portion and top up with a tablespoon of poaching liquor.

Serve with a scoop of dairy free ice cream or sorbet….