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Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Summer pudding has long been a favourite of mine and it was a staple in the dessert rotation when I was growing up. My parents were keen gardeners and Mum still grows lots of her own fruit and vegetables despite not having much time to devote to the garden. On a Sunday afternoon I would often be dispatched up the garden to pick raspberries, strawberries, tayberries and blackcurrants for one of Mum’s spectacular puddings. I always find it a sad farewell to summer when the berries come to an end. This year, inspired by a Valentine Warner recipe, I decided to extend the Summer pudding into Autumn and make the most of the wild blackberries and the remaining little bit of last year’s sloe gin. I toyed around with calling these Autumn puddings but I like it when the name of the recipes tells you a little about what’s inside, especially when there’s gin involved. (more…)

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Making fresh fruit drinks is one of the joys of summer; on a warm day nothing tastes quite as good as a cold glass of lemonade or, in this case, pink grapefruit-ade spiked with ginger syrup. Not only is it pretty and bang-on-trend coral pink but it has a delicate, refreshing flavour which is a lovely pick-me-up after a day spent outside in the sun. It’s also a fab alcohol-free drink to offer your designated-driver guests; it makes a refreshing (haha) change from Coke and J2O.

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Tres leches cake is, so I hear, quite ubiquitous in Latin America and very popular in the US. It is also, apparently, quite the fashion in Albania. I’d love it to become more popular here in blighty since it’s pretty darn good cake. It is, essentially, a light-as-air sponge cake soaked in ‘three milks’: sticky, sweet condensed milk, evaporated milk and rich, fresh cream; and, if you like, a kick of rum. The sponge, being made of eggs whipped up to frothy peaks, is full of tiny bubbles which act as little pockets to hold the milks which means the cake is incredibly moist but not soggy. As you can probably imagine, for something soaked in condensed milk, this cake is quite sweet so it is just perfect topped with softly whipped cream and fresh summer berries which are tart enough to balance out the favours.

Tres leches cake makes a wonderful summer cake for a tea party or dinner; it’s so pretty decorated with a riot of red, pink and purple berries, simple and elegant at the same time. Once it’s been doused in milk, the cake goes in the fridge to chill so it’s cool and remarkably refreshing when served: not what your guest are expecting but a pleasant surprise. And that’s what I really love about tres leches – it’s not your everyday cake, it’s a bit of a surprise. Tell someone you’re serving them sponge cake soaked in milk and they’ll probably think you’re nuts (unless they’ve already been inducted into the tres leches club) but one bite in they’ll wonder how they’d gone so long without this cake in their lives.

Tres leches cake with berries

Adapted very slightly from Simon Rimmer on Saturday Kitchen

Serves 8

For the cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 150g sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the milk sauce:

  • 397ml condensed milk
  • 350ml evaporated milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp rum

For the topping:

  • 150ml double cream
  • fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants, cherries)

First make the cake. Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 23cm square pan (but not one with a loose base! I used a pyrex dish).

In a spotlessly clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks, add 50g sugar and beat until stiff.

In another large bowl beat the yolks and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift over the flour and baking powder and fold in. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

Fold one-third of the egg whites into the yolk batter to loosen then gently fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30–40 minutes. The cake is ready when it’s golden and a skewer comes out clean.

While the cake is baking stir together the milk sauce ingredients.

As soon as the cake comes out the oven prick it all over with a fork and gradually pour over the majority of the sauce, about ¾. Allow to cool in the baking dish then chill.

Two hours before serving pour over the remaining sauce.

Just before serving turn the cake out and whip the 150ml cream to firm peaks. Spread the cream over the top of the cake and decorate with fresh berries.

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One of my favourite seasonal treats is a slice of stollen. The German Christmas cake is made from bread dough enriched with sugar and eggs, dried fruit, spices and candied peel. At its core runs a thick seam of marzipan which any almond aficionado will revel in. A true stollen is also be finished off with a blizzard of icing sugar. This year, rather than make a full-sized loaf for slicing, I though it would be fun to make something a bit more portable, easier to share and a whole lot cuter to boot. Hello mini stollen buns! (more…)

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Walking down the chocolate aisle at my local store (always a dangerous task!) I noticed how many bars there are that contain fruit. We’re way beyond the classic Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut with bars featuring lemon meringue, banana, strawberry, cranberries and dates. I’m not sure I’m really too convinced by some of the pairings, I tend to find chocolate and fruit don’t always go but some are rather fab. Montezumas make the most amazing orange and geranium dark chocolate bar and the brilliantly named Sea Dog bar with sea salt and lime. And I love Divine‘s  70% chocolate dotted with tart raspberries. (more…)

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I’ve read a lot recently about freezer jam. Until a few months ago I’d never heard of it and, to be honest, when I first came across a recipe I wondered what the point was. I mean why fill up your precious freezer space with something you can keep in a jar on the shelf? But then I read a little more and soon realized that this kind of jam is very much worth it’s space in the freezer and could quite possibly put an end to my jam-buying ways.

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The UK has been enjoying an unseasonably warm spell which has coincided with the big Easter–royal wedding double bank holiday. Husband and I took advantage of the 11-for-3 deal on days off and have been busily working on the house. Between gardening, renovating the bathroom and stripping paint off the outside walls, we’ve been knocking back ice-cold fruity drinks like they’re going out of fashion (which I hope they never do).

 

When Deb at Smitten Kitchen first posted a recipe for agua fresca last summer I was really keen to have a go at making some. I conveniently forgot about it until this weekend when I was sat waiting for husband to emerge from Tool Station googling summer drink recipes. Having convinced him to nip into Sainsburys on the way home (no small task given how much he hates the place!) I got started on the first of several batches.

I don’t recall ever having seen agua fresca on sale here but then we are sadly lacking in Mexican/Latin American restaurants. What makes this drink so lovely is that you get all the flavour of the fruit but none of the sticky sweetness of a juice which makes it all the more refreshing. Just about any fruit would work: stawberries, mango, melon, even cucumber. And if any of you are planning a party to toast the happy couple tomorrow, I’m sure a big jug of agua fresca would go down a treat.

 

Pineapple and lime agua fresca

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 1L

  • 1 large, ripe pineapple (approx 1.5 kg)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 200ml still water
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 500ml carbonated water

Peel and chop the pineapple into small chunks. Liquidise in a blender or food processor with still water.

Pour the liquidised pineapple into a sieve lined with cheese cloth and place over a large jug. Leave to drain for about an hour then gently squeeze out any remaining juice. Discard the pulp.

Stir in the lime juice and salt and chill. Once it’s nice and cold, top up with carbonated water to taste and serve with ice and a slice.

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