I’ve bought four boxes of mulberries at a bargain from Crawford Market and I’m feeling quite smug about myself. Bundled in leaves, the little clusters of mulberry are a deep shade of maroon- so alluring to look at with its juices splattered on the sides of the cheap plastic. Some squishy soft bits, while others more firm, the mulberry juices seep through the bag and leave small pools on my fingers, staining them for a few hours. These are ripe berries, almost too ripe I feel, but their jammy sweet-tart flavour is delightful and finding Indian berries always leaves me with a hankering to step up and use them in fun new ways. I have it all planned out in my head- some shall be muddled in a cocktail, while others will crown a lighter pound cake with their deep purple hue. Whatever’s left gets cooked down, not into a jam as you may suspect, but as a glaze for the kind of sticky wings you want to sink your teeth into on Sundays with chilled beer. I’m excited.
To begin, I made three cocktails with vodka, gin and whiskey respectively, all shaken drinks. With vodka, the flavour of the mulberry was too mild and the one with whiskey overpowered the mulberry. This cocktail did not boast that pronounced mulberry flavour. With gin though, it was totally different. The aromatics of the gin when combined with the tart, sweet flavour of muddled mulberry and fresh mint really tasted quite bright. I took it a step further and used a flavoured gin with apples next to complement the mulberry flavour and that was a super idea. With a final dash of Campari Rosso, double-strained, and some more crushed mulberries to finish, here was my Mulberry Martini.
Muddled mulberries and mint with their bold fresh flavours are crossed with crisp gin and dark vermouth in this super simple martini recipe.
Mulberries 10-12, stems discarded
Mint leaves 4-5, picked
Gin 45ml, of a good quality. If using a flavoured one, use something like Caorunn apple-flavoured gin
Martini Rosso 15ml
Lime 1/2, juiced
Ice to shake
In a cocktail shaker cup, combine the mulberries and mint and pound it lightly to release the juices and activate the mint. Add in the gin and the Martini Rosso. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime and throw that in the cup as well. Fill the glass with ice and tightly fix the cup of the shaker and shake very well. Strain the drink into a martini glass and just before serving, drop 1/2 tsp of chopped mulberry on top and serve.
Next up, I wanted to make a barbecue glaze using the mulberries, and so I cooked down about a cup of mulberries with some mildly spicy crab stock from the freezer. Cooking from the freezer really is the most convenient thing in the world. At home, you could use chicken stock, or just water too if you don’t have any stock on-hand, but it really helps. The rest of the ingredients were pretty standard- some ketchup, mustard powder, all-spice and a hint of cinnamon. Once it had cooked down completely to a sticky thick gloop, i smashed in about a half a cup of fresh mulberries again to loosen this and just make the glaze just a tad bit runny. These were brushed onto wings and allowed to cook in a high oven for about 25-30 minutes, glazing twice again so that the wings have enough moisture on them to not dry out.
Chicken Wings With a Mulberry BBQ Sauce
This sticky mulberry glaze sauce are a hot mess. Keep a lot of tissues on-hand and make lots of these because they're probably going to make you very popular with your friends.
Chicken wings 500g
Olive oil a few tablespoons
Salt and pepper
The Mulberry Barbecue sauce
Mulberries 1 1/2 cup, divided, stems removed
Chicken/Fish stock 1/2 cup, or you could skip this altogether and just use water
Ketchup 1/4 cup
Brown sugar 2 tbsp
Liquid from a can of pickled jalapeños 1 tbsp
Mustard powder 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Allspice powder 1/8 tsp
Cinnamon powder 1/8 tsp
Salt a good pinch
Lemon juice to finish
Wash the chicken wings and pat it dry. Liberally season the wings with salt and pepper rubbing it in with your fingers.
Start on the barbecue sauce by bringing together 1 cup of the mulberries and the stock together in a saucepan and let it cook for 6-7 minutes over medium-high heat.
Once the berries have disintegrated well into the sauce, turn the heat down to medium and add the ketchup, sugar, the pickle liquid, mustard powder, chilli powder, allspice powder, cinnamon and salt. Let it continue to simmer over heat till it has reduced and reached a glaze consistency that you like. Take it off the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup of mulberries to the hot liquid and mash it in. Squeeze in the lemon juice and taste for salt. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Line a baking tray with foil and brush the wings with the glaze liberally. Let it cook in the hot oven for ten minutes before you take it out, turn the pieces and brush it with more glaze. Let it cook for ten more minutes and subject it to a final glaze during which you can also check the chicken for doneness by poking it with a skewer and check to see if the juices run clear. The wings should be quite sticky now. Bundle up the aluminium foil from the sides and fasten it into a parcel and allow the chicken to rest for five to ten minutes on the side before serving. The cooking time for my wings was between 20-25 minutes.
Finally, the piece de resistance was my favourite yoghurt cake with mulberries on top.The great thing about this cake is that it needs no icing because the sweet mulberry topping is soft and you get an almost Victoria sandwich mouthfeel from the jam and the springy bounce of soft cake beneath. Utterly simple to make, and disappears in a flash!
Mulberry Yoghurt Cake
Yield 1 10-inch cake
You want to use a really creamy yoghurt for this cake recipe because it makes the final result that much better. Go for a greek yoghurt like Epigamia that's available readily. A new brand of greek yoghurt called Caro is also really great, so watch out for that in stores soon.
Cake flour 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp (For cake flour, for every cup of regular maida, remove 2 tbsp and add 2 tbsp of cornflour)
Mulberries 1 1/2 cup of mulberries, stems discarded
Caster sugar 2 tbsp + 3/4th cup sugar
Baking powder 3/4 tsp
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Eggs 2, at room temperature
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Greek yoghurt 1/2 cup. If your yoghurt is too thick, thin this out with some water and then add it to the cake
Begin by greasing and lining a cake tin with baking parchment and butter.Dust in some flour into the cake tin and tap out the excess. Arrange the mulberries on the base of the cake tin in an organised fashion, filling all the gaps and sprinkle over two tablespoons of the caster sugar evenly over the berries.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Run a whisk through all the dry ingredients, that is the the baking powder, baking soda, flour and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar together till it is nice and fluffy. Add in one egg and beat well till incorporated, then add the next egg and beat again. Now alternating between the yoghurt and the flour mixture, add it in parts and beat briefly to incorporate the flour. Make sure that no streaks of flour remain before you’re ready to pour the cake mixture into the tin. Pour the cake mixture over the mulberries and smoothen the top.
Bake the cake for an hour, checking at 45 minutes with a skewer to see if it comes out clean. let the cake cool for ten minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it and turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely. The top should be the layer of cooked jammy mulberries.