It really is too hot to think about food at the moment. I know we’ve not had much of a summer yet, but I don’t take too well to the heat; now it’s arrived all I want to do is lie in a hammock under a shady tree and drink iced tea – peach and rhubarb iced tea to be exact.
June is full-on strawberries and cream season. As you may have noticed from my previous posts, it’s also the prime time for roses. So when we were invited to an alfresco lunch at Incredible Vegetables near Ashburton, these three ingredients immediately sprang to mind. I needed something that was portable and easy to eat outside – strawberry cream cakes with a hint of rose it had to be.
On our last trip to the New Forest to visit CT’s mother, I was given a family heirloom to take home with me: a vintage glass jelly mould. Well, I have to confess I’m not much of a jelly maker and the mould has been sitting in the cupboard in a rather unloved way. But when I got my hands on a mass of cheap strawberries last month, it occurred to me to try making a strawberry blancmange.
Following on from the success of my Red Berry Smoothie in a Bowl, I thought I’d try a smoothie in a sundae glass and eat it with a spoon. If you are going to eat something with a spoon, it encourages you to sit down – and a sit down breakfast is a rare treat for me.
When Kerry announced the theme for this month’s We Should Cocoa was going to be cupcakes, I was initially a little stumped. After all I have made many chocolate cupcakes in my time and was wondering what I could do that would be a little different.
When CT requested a trifle for his birthday, I was just a little relieved. Time and I don’t seem to get on so well these days and the day before his birthday was a particularly busy one. I’d been concerned that I might not be able to fit a cake in, but a mere trifle?
So enamoured was I with the chocolate, lemon curd and strawberry combination after I made these chocolate waffles, that I knew immediately that was what I would use for my birthday cake last week. What I didn’t then know was that I would add pomegranate to the mix.
When I was sent some pomegranate juice drink from The Simply Great Drinks Co, I thought it would make a fabulous addition to my cake. And so it proved to be. Neither CT nor I are particularly keen on sweet drinks and this did taste very sweet. However, we found that a dilution of one third juice to two thirds water suited us very well; it tasted good and was particularly refreshing during hot days. It made for a rather tasty cocktail too – recipe to follow. In fact I only just managed to nab some for my cake before it ran out. The pomegranate flavour was to the fore and the colour was deep and jewel-like. With pomegranates trending as the latest superfood, consuming some has to be a good thing. However, it must be said that PomeGreat, as this drink is called, contains only 30% pomegranate juice. The rest is made up of water and other fruit juices from conentrate.
As some of you may remember, I carried out a cocoa powder tasting trial some time ago. It was Food Thoughts organic and fair-trade cocoa that came out best. Food Thoughts is available in Sainsbury’s, but is not stocked by the Co-op or anywhere else in Liskeard, so I don’t get to use it very often. Luckily, Food Thoughts kindly sent me a couple of pots recently, so it was this cocoa I used in my birthday cake.
On the day, friends hosted an afternoon tea party for me that ended up lasting long into the evening. It was a jolly affair and it even stopped raining long enough to have a walk around their beautiful garden and to spend half an hour sitting out on their newly created terrace. I did much of the baking for the occasion including the gooseberry mini cakes that have already featured. Surprisingly, the most popular bake of the day turned out to be some little muffins made from the gleanings of a weeding session down at the plot. They were modelled on this recipe for carrot and beetroot muffins, only I used tender leafy greens instead of the carrots and beetroot and omitted the cocoa powder. Greens, walnuts and goat’s cheese is a winning combination I found. I also made brownies, peanut butter cookies and madeleines. My friend made sandwiches, quiches and scones, so we had a veritable feast.
The cake went down a storm. No surprise, with its tangy fruity creamy combination it encapsulated summer. The chocolate cake itself was succulent with a light but substantial sponge that was infused with a hint of pomegranate.
A couple of days after my birthday when this cake had long since disappeared, my mother turned up with another birthday cake. Lucky me. I don’t get cakes made for me very often, so I was quite delighted. It was a well textured light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan beneath the icing and although very different, it was equally delicious.
I am sending this off to Emily over at A Mummy Too for her Recipe of the Week.
It also goes to Cook Blog Share with Lucy over at SuperGolden Bakes.
Tasty Tuesdays gets a look in too with Vicki at Honest Mum.
This also goes off to Jenny over at Mummy Bakes Cakes for July’s Celebration Cakes and Bakes.
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g dark brown sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup
- 4 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 225g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 50g cocoa powder (I used Food Thoughts)
- 60g ground almonds
- 150ml pomegranate juice
- 200ml double cream
- 4 heaped tbsp lemon curd
- 300g strawberries – hulled and quartered
- 20g dark chocolate – shaved
Yield: 12 servings
When I was browsing through Chocolat by Eric Lanlard in order to write the review I posted recently, I was caught by his recipe for chocolate waffles. I knew I would have to make them in the not too distant future. When I came back from a preserving course at River Cottage, laden with lemon curd (amongst other things), I knew the time had come. Chocolate waffles with a big dollop of lemon curd had my name written all over it.
Having recently posted and entered rhubarb, rose and white chocolate ice cream for We Should Cocoa, I was very tempted to swap it and use this one instead. I reckon this might be the best of the no churn ice-creams I’ve made so far. I’d read somewhere on the internet that roasting strawberries really brought out the flavour, which kind of makes sense as soon as you think about it. So when I was invited to a friend’s celebratory outdoor evening event – gosh it’s so good to be able to plan outdoor events – I thought I’d try making ice-cream with roasted strawberries.
Of course, when it came down to it, I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I’d seen the piece on roasting strawberries, so I just had a go. As strawberries aren’t that tart and this is usually quite a sweet ice-cream, I added a little cider vinegar to the roasting strawberries and reduced the amount of condensed milk used. I also thought I’d try a slightly different and simpler method of making the ice-cream and I’m glad to report, it worked very well.
The roasting did the trick, creating an ice-cream with a fabulous and quite intense strawberry flavour. The texture of this ice-cream is really smooth and quite light, but not in the least bit runny when it melts. Although it didn’t quite feed the five thousand, it had to go round quite a crowd. It was gratefully and vocally appreciated and stood out amongst the other delicacies with which it was served.
I am sending this off to Kate of What Kate Baked for this month’s Tea Time Treats where the theme is Ice-creams, Jellies and Chilled Desserts. This event is alternately hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.
Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream
- 300g Strawberries
- 100g White chocolate (Green & Blacks)
- 100g Condensed milk
- 600 ml Double cream
- 1 tbsp Cider vinegar
Yield: 1 litre