Jewel-like fresh currants have nothing in common with the dried fruits of the same name, which are made from a grape variety. What are they? Small (about 8mm wide) berries that grow on a shrub. There are three main types: red, white and black. The flavour ranges from mouth-puckeringly tart to mildly sweet. What to look for: in Hong Kong, these beautiful berries are sold at high prices in small Cellophane-wrapped boxes, which makes it difficult to examine the fruit. Check (as far as possible) that the berries are shiny, translucent and unshrivelled, and without any fuzzy mould. What else? Blackcurrants are used to make the sweet liquor, cassis. In Hong Kong, you will probably need to place a special order at an upmarket food shop to obtain black or white currants. How to use: add stemmed currants to muffins, bread pudding, summer pudding (which can be made year-round, despite the name) and ice creams. Currants are high in pectin and acidity so they're often made into preserves, sometimes combined with other fruits that are low in pectin. Redcurrants make a beautiful jelly: heat the stemmed fruit with some water in a pan and cook until the fruit is very soft. Crush the fruit with a potato masher then pour into a damp jelly bag suspended over a bowl. Let the liquid drain without squeezing the bag (or the jelly won't be clear). Weigh the liquid and add between half to an equal weight of granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Bring to a simmer, skim off the foam from the surface then let the mixture cook until it reaches the jelly point: test by spooning a little onto a chilled plate; it should be lightly set but not too firm. Stir in a little fresh lemon juice then ladle into sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids. Currant jam is even easier to make: simply combine the stemmed fruit with the granulated sugar, cook until set, stir in lemon juice and ladle into sterilised jars. A spoonful of this is delicious with seared foie gras. For pates de fruits, the intensely flavoured fruit jellies sometimes served on petits-four platters at French restaurants, cook the fruit with water until very soft, puree in a food mill then mix with an equal weight of sugar. Cook until very thick, stirring constantly, because it burns easily. Stir in fresh lemon juice then spread on a parchment paper-lined baking tray to a thickness of about 1cm. Let the pates cool then cut into small squares and dredge each one in granulated sugar. Store in an air-tight container with parchment between each layer.