This weeks blog recipe is here by popular demand. I made these flapjacks for our one day foraging courses last weekend, (photos below), using the tart barberries to cut through the intense sweetness of a classic flapjack. The bitter dark chocolate makes them all the more luxurious without getting too sweet. Everyone loved them and asked for the recipe.
The Barberry, Berberis vulgaris, is not a native plant in the UK but is found in many gardens along with a wide variety of other Berberis species. Although the different species have berries that range from delicious to very average, so far in my research I have not found any that are poisonous. I would always make sure through good research that garden species are not poisonous before eating. A good resource for this is Plants for a future, www.pfaf.org an excellent online database of plants that we thoroughly recommend.
There is a very good and edible species, Berberis darwinii, which is flowering at the moment and you cannot fail to notice its vibrant orange blooms.
The most commonly eaten Berberis berry in Europe is Berberis vulgaris and they are used throughout the middle east in both sweet and savoury dishes and can be bought dried from good delicatessens. For many years the tart berries would have been used as we would commonly now use lemon peel but are used less now we have imported tropical fruit.
If you are interested in other recipe ideas for the berries have a look at persian dishes, their traditional name is zereshk.
Here is our simple recipe to get you started.
Barberry and Chocolate Flapjack
115g Dark Brown sugar
6x 15ml Tablespoons Golden syrup
225g Porridge oats
15g Dried Barberries
100g Dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the butter,sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar into the mix.
Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and pour over the sugar mix. Stir well and press into a well greased baking tin approx. 20cm x 30cm.
bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cool, cut into 16 pieces.
Store in a biscuit tin or plastic box.