IS it my imagination or are the gooseberries bigger and more succulent this year than they have ever been?

The British climate is particularly well disposed to producing perfect gooseberries, but this year, for reasons I don't fully understand, they seem juicier and more full-flavoured than ever.

Perhaps the rains have a great deal to do with their plumpness and added flavour.

Unfortunately, this splendid little fruit is not as fashionable as it used to be. People who overlook the humble gooseberry in favour of more colourful fruits are missing a great deal.

Perhaps the quality of this year's gooseberries will encourage us all to use them for our pies and summer fools once again.

If it's made properly, there is nothing quite like a gooseberry fool, providing you use a good-quality full fat cream and remember to pass the pulp through a sieve, so that it's nice and smooth.

This simple recipe dates back to the 15th century and is delicious.

To serve four, you will need lb (225g) freshly picked gooseberries 6floz (170ml) double cream oz (15g) butter 2 or 3 tbspns sugar Method Top and tail the gooseberries Turn the hotplate to a medium heat and melt the butter Add the sugar and gooseberries, and cook gently until they turn soft Liquidise the mix once it has cooled a little Pass the pulp through a sieve for extra smoothness Taste and adjust sweetness with extra sugar, if necessary When the pulp is cool, place it into a refrigerator to chill Whip the cream, place into a serving dish and very gently fold in the pulp - try to do this in circles to achieve an attractive spiral effect Do not whip them up together completely. You are aiming to produce a mix which provides the palate with both the tart finish of the gooseberries and the soft rich flavour of the cream alternatively Serve with sweet biscuits.