For many of us it´s strawberry season right now. The pleasure of eating a sweet juicy strawberry on its own, or covered in whipped cream is something very special. And of course we can mix them into cakes, turn them into jam…well, the possibilities are almost endless.
Sometimes though you fancy a bowlful of strawberry deliciousness but you need it NOW. Here´s a little dish of strawberries that´s not too naughty and quick to pull together and hit the spot last night when we fancied a little midnight feast (hence the dark shot)!
Half a cup of thick creamy natural yogurt (I used Greek)
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar (optional)
About half a dozen strawberries, sliced
A drizzle of honey
A splash of framboise (raspberry) liqueur – optional
Stir the sugar (if using) into the yogurt, pile the strawberries on top, splash on the liqueur, drizzle the honey over then find yourself a nice quiet spot to sit and enjoy a little indulgence and a moment of peace all to yourself.
The 23rd April, the day before we left for our whirlwind trip to the UK, was St George´s Day. Yes, he who slayed the dragon and is the Patron Saint of England despite not having a very clear connection to my place of birth. Although this is not typically celebrated as special day in England, I decided to make something to remind me of it in honour of the day.
A traditional Bakewell Tart consists of a pastry base with a jam and sponge filling with almonds and may well have originated in the town of Bakewell in England. I´d be happy to be enlightened. The version of this delicious dessert is a cake and was inspired by a BBC Good Food recipe. As ever, I had to adapt!
140g finely ground almonds
140g softened butter
140g caster sugar (the recipe calls for golden caster sugar)
140g self raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
About 5 tablespoons of strawberry jam (this was my main change as the recipe calls for 250g fresh raspberries)
2 tbsp flaked almonds
Icing sugar to decorate
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Blitz the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor until well combined.
Spread half the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the raspberries over (I spooned over the jam) , then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread – you might find this easier to do with your fingers. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Cool in the tin then remove and dust with icing sugar to serve.
For any eagle eyed readers out there, you may remember that Flat Ruthie of Cardboard Me Travels sneaked into my suitcase on a recent trip back from the UK.
While she was here she took the opportunity to do some sightseeing, so we didn´t see her for a while. However, it´s strawberry time here and as soon as she heard I had bought a few kilos of local strawberries, she finally joined me again.
Obviously, as we were going to be cooking, she insisted on a little apron, so I obliged.
We weighed out a kilo of washed, chopped strawberries then simmered them until slightly soft. Then we added a kilo of sugar, a sachet of pectin and the juice of half a lemon and boiled until setting point.
Ruthie stood back for a while as burning jam can be pretty dangerous but she was pleased to see how well it all turned out.
The next morning the sun shone brightly and I called her to join me for breakfast in the garden.
I think all her sightseeing must have worn her out as she stayed in bed and missed breakfast completely.
When she did eventually get up she decided she needed a good strong coffee to get her going.
As I was making ice cream from Chgo John´s amazing recipe, she had the bright idea of replacing the pistachios I had wanted to use (but couldn´t find) with a shot of coffee. I didn´t have half and half either so she explained to me that I could substitute a mix of both half whipping cream with half full fat milk for this part of the recipe.
Just as we were about to pour the ice cream mix into the machine she decided that about 100ml of Baileys would also be a good idea, so we put that in too.
After a little churning and a couple of hours in the freezer it was time to taste the ice cream. She took her pinny off to eat and her verdict was….mmmm, we´ll definitely make this again!
Thanks for the visit Ruthie, it was fun. Do keep the pinny, it suited you and it definitely won´t fit me!
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....