Macerated Strawberries with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar (v)

Last time Abel and Cole delivered us strawberries, they went mouldy as soon as the box was opened. I didn’t want that to happen to this batch, so I macerated them to help preserve them. Not that I needed to worry about them hanging about, Lex couldn’t get enough of them!

For one punnet of strawberries you need
1 tsp sugar
Few twists of black pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

De-hull the strawberries and slice into thirds. Sprinkle over the sugar, vinegar and pepper and leave to macerate for 30 mins or so. A lovely syrupy sauce will form from the strawberry juice. Serve as you wish, I like mine with good quality ice cream. Bring on Wimbledon!

Chocolate Christmas Trifle

I used to be able to make lovely trifles, but my trifle mojo has been usurped by my boyfriend’s mum who makes a very mean one indeed. So much so Lex requested I didn’t make another for fear that it didn’t live up to one of hers…! However, this creation puts my mojo firmly back in contention I am pleased to say. It started as a way to use up some (embarrassingly) out of date sponge flan cases. But upon further inspection they were rock solid. So a chocolate swiss roll was purchased and the chocolate Christmas trifle extravaganza was born. It has the perfect combination of sour raspberries and strawberries to counter the sweet jelly and not-too-sweet chocolate custard. Decorate as you wish, we wanted sparkly poo so had a heavy hand with the festive glitter 😉

For 12-14 portions you need
1/2 chocolate swiss roll
1 tin strawberries, drained
1/2 pack frozen raspberries
1 packet halal jelly (or any other veggie jelly)
2 tbsp sweet sherry
2 tins ready to eat custard
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp boiling water
450ml double cream
decoration of your choice, we used chocolate vermicelli; glitter and stars for extra bliiiiiiiiiing

Slice the swiss roll into 1cm slices. Place these in the bottom of a trifle dish and cover with the sherry, raspberries and strawberries. Make the jelly up according to the packet instructions and pour over the base. Leave to set.

Meanwhile mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water to make a smooth paste. Add to the custard and mix well. Once the jelly is set, pour over.

Whip the cream to soft peak stage and put into a piping bag. Pipe over the custard and then go wild with the decoration. Eat, eat and be merry!

Raspberry and Strawberry Soyashake (v)

Tesco’s strawberries were rubbish yesterday and they looked so sad today that I had to use them up in something other than eating them au natural. I macerated half of them as L adores those on pancakes and the others went into this. Add sugar/agave nectar/maple syrup if you want but I kind of like the sharpness of just using fruit and soya milk. Clearly this can be made with milks other than soya but I happen to like soya milk…

For one person you need:
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
200ml unsweetened soya milk

Lob everything into a blender and blitz for 2-3 mins till smooth and frothy. Enjoy 🙂

Summer Berry Trifles

If you can call this a trifle that is. Am not sure if trifle needs sponge. But this doesn’t have any in it. Just berries, custard and cream. It’s quick and delicious 🙂 It was adapted from BBC Good Food magazine’s August edition (p36)

For 4 portions you need:
2 tbsp bon maman strawberry jam
juice 1 orange
1 large cup chopped mixed berries (I used strawberries, red currants, raspberries and blueberries)
1 small carton ready made custard
1/2 cup double cream, lightly whipped

Mix the jam with the OJ and then add the berries and mix gently. Whip the cream till billowy. Layer some berries in the bottom of serving glasses and then add 1/4 of the custard. Add some more berries and then finish with a dollop of cream. Serve soon after assembling or it’ll meld in to a gooey, but yummy, mess.

Ricotta Pancakes with Blackcurrants and Macerated Strawberries

Waitrose had a too good to pass up stupid offer on ricotta last week – they were flogging tubs of it, well within their use by date, for 29p per 250g! So naturally I brought loads, not knowing what I would be doing with it… Today I used up 1 tub by making these pancakes. They’re an adaptation of a Nigella recipe. And delectable they are too 🙂

For 16 pancakes you need:
250g ricotta
100g flour
2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
100g blackcurrants (frozen are fine)
125ml milk

Begin by mixing together the egg yolks, milk and ricotta. Once smooth add the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Mix again. Whisk the egg whites till light and frothy and then fold into the rest of the batter. Fold in the blackcurrants. Heat a flat griddle pan and drop dollops of the mix onto the pan. Cook gently for a few mins until bubbles appear on the top and then carefully flip over to cook the other side. Serve with macerated strawberries and maple syrup. A breakfast fit for a king 🙂

Strawberry Jam

Memories of summer this one. And a reminder that the last jar of homegrown, homemade jam needs to be eaten. I don’t think anything can replace the deep joy of eating a jar of runny (it has to be french style and runny imho) homemade strawberry jam made with homegrown strawberries. A true memory of the summer.

For about 4 1/2 jars you need:
1 kg jam sugar
juice 1 lemon
2 kg strawberries

Begin by mascerating the strawberries in the juice and sugar. Place everything in a preserving pan and leave, overnight, for the juices to flow. The next day heat very gently till all the sugar has dissolved. Once this has happened bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 mins. Test for the set (I keep saucers in the freezer and bring one our for each test. Turn off the heat and place a small amount of jam on the cold saucer. Leave for 30 seconds and then run the back of a spoon through it. If a skin forms and there’s a clear trail it’s ready to jar. If not, boil again for another few mins and keep testing for the set). Pour into sterilised jars and leave to cool. Try not to eat all the jars on the same day! Truly lovely with homemade scones and clotted cream. Even when it’s freezing outside and pouring with rain, this is a little bit of summer on a plate 🙂