Raspberry vinaigrette

The sunflowers have gone mental. It’s a jungle out there – take a look at the contrast between the littlest and largest heads.

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Little and large

I saw whole sunflower heads being sold as bird food this week at an eye-watering price. But there’s no need for such extravagance: I’ve been saving up my heads and once they’ve dried, will string them up to hang in the garden. Next to them on the drying rack are the first ornamental squash – green rather than my preferred orange, though do I enjoy their exuberant striping.

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Seedheads and squash, the harbingers of autumn

It’s been a good summer for cut-flowers – here’s me with an armful of sunflowers and cosmos.

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An armful of blooms

But I have a feeling that the real bumper crop this year will be raspberries. Our autumn canes are heaving with swelling, ripening fruit. Currently I’m picking three punnets a week but give it a fortnight and, frankly, I will be overwhelmed.

A small punnet of berries is just enough to try out this raspberry vinaigrette, a recipe that I earmarked in the Jamie Magazine a few weeks ago and have only just got around to trying.

Raspberry salad dressing?! Really? Yes! At once sweet, sharp, fresh and warming, this one is a winner.

First, you heat red wine vinegar, water and sugar with the merest pinch of coriander and cumin. The original recipe calls for whole spices, and I am sure this would be better, but I only had ready-ground coriander and so that is what I used.

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Heat vinegar with cumin, coriander, sugar and water

The hot vinegar is poured onto raspberries and left to sit for an hour. The liquor turns colour from a vague peach to glorious, lurid pink.

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Leave the raspberries to macerate for an hour

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After an hour…lurid pink!

Then you whisk in some olive oil, and that’s it! Easy as anything.

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Whisk in olive oil and you have raspberry vinaigrette

Raspberries have a complicated flavour base, at once sweet, sharp and tangy, and as a result they work surprisingly well in savoury dishes. Use this dressing to offset the heat of mustardy salad leaves (mizuna, rocket, mustard) or, once the weather gets a little colder, it would be divine with rare grilled venison or duck, or even smoked meats. Plus it’s pretty, so what’s not to like?

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Pair it with mustard leaves or with game or smoked meats

Raspberry vinaigrette

Adapted from recipe by Robbin Holmgren in Jamie Magazine, July 2016

65g raspberries (fresh or defrosted)


15ml red wine vinegar

40ml water

7g caster sugar

10 whole coriander seeds, or a scant quarter teaspoon ground coriander

5 cumin seeds

25ml olive oil

Toss the raspberries in a small pinch of salt and leave to sit for twenty minutes or so. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, water, coriander and cumin until it comes to the boil. Pour the liquid over the raspberries and leave to macerate for an hour or more. Whisk in the olive oil and decant into a jar. Will keep for about 1 month in the fridge.

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