Monthly Archives: July 2019

Strawberry and Balsamic Compote

This is without question my favourite jam. The wonderfully unique and luscious flavour that is English strawberries at the height of summer seems to be beautifully intensified by the addition of balsamic vinegar and this is so damned easy, there’s no reason not to have a fresh jar in your fridge throughout the summer and early autumn.

Makes 1 medium jar

What you need…

1 x clean jam jar

500g strawberries, hulled

125g caster sugar

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

What to do…

First, sterilise your jam jar by popping it and its lid into your oven, preheated to 170˚c / gas 3, for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, leaving the jar and its lid inside until the compote is ready.

To the compote: tip the strawberries, sugar and 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar into a medium sized, heavy saucepan. Set over a moderate-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then, simmer gently for 40-50 minutes until the strawberries have stewed down and thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining balsamic vinegar. Pour into your jam jar, whop on the lid and leave to cool before keeping in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

How easy…

Wonderfully! Once it’s simmering, I set a timer and wander off to do something else, enjoying the fragrance of molten strawberries permeating the house.

Inspired by…

Waitrose & Partners

Roasted Cherries with Maple Syrup and Rosemary

Rather gorgeous, these cherries are quite delicious on their own or fabulous as an accompaniment, both warm and cold, to cheeses and ice creams: well worth doing…very yummy!

What you need…

400g cherries, pitted and halved

3 tablespoons maple syrup

4 rosemary sprig, bruised

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / gas 4.

Combine the cherries with the maple syrup and rosemary on a baking tray. Scatter with a pinch of salt and roast for 30-40 minutes, until the cherries just start to wrinkle and give up some of their juice. Immediately stir through the lemon juice.

Remove the rosemary sprigs and serve as a warm topping with mascarpone or ricotta, on ice cream or as a side with goat’s cheese. They’re equally good cold with blue cheese or brie, to jazz up a salad or as part of breakfast!

Inspired by…

My Waitrose

How easy…

Fabulously so!

Rather Luscious Rhubarb and Ginger Pavlova

Absolutely bloody gorgeous (ABG) – saw James Martin do this a few weeks ago on TV and thought I’d give it a bash. I used my favourite meringue recipe though, from Lisa Faulkner, but incorporated James’ suggested divine flavours of rhubarb and ginger. This will be repeated!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

for the meringue

1 x baking tray, lined with parchment

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

250g caster sugar, plus 3 – 4 teaspoons for the cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon malt vinegar

3 teaspoons diced ginger in syrup

for the topping

1 x baking tray

600g rhubarb, cut into 5cm pieces

1 tablespoon ginger syrup

300ml double cream

Caster sugar, to taste

2 teaspoons diced ginger in syrup

What to do…

First, to the rhubarb. Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f/ gas 6.  Scatter the rhubarb evenly across the baking tray and then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of syrup from a jar of diced ginger in syrup. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until just soft. Set aside to cool.

Reduce your oven to 140°c / 275°f / gas 1.

Using an handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites and salt together until very stiff. Then, gradually whisk in the 250g caster sugar until it forms stiff peaks – this takes 3 – 4 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract , vinegar and ginger.

Plop the meringue mixture onto your baking tray, gently spreading it to roughly create a 23cm circle. Pop it into the oven and leave for 1 hour until firm. Then – and this is key – switch the oven off but leave your meringue in for a further 30 minutes with the door closed.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Discard the lining paper and put your meringue onto a pretty serving plate.

Whisk the cream, roasting juices from the rhubarb and diced ginger together with and 3 – 4 teaspoons of caster sugar (the amount of sugar depends on your personal taste) until stiff and then pile on top of the meringue. Arrange the rhubarb on top, stand back, admire your handy work and then serve – a gooey chewy meringue middle is complemented by sweet, crisp exterior. Sweet, cloud-like cream and slightly tart rhubarb, all the with gorgeous backdrop of ginger – ABG!

Inspired by…

James Martin Lisa Faulkner

How easy…

Very, very easy and simply delicious!

 

Strawberry & Prosecco Celebration Cake with Chocolate Drizzle

What’s not to like? Sweet ripe strawberries separate four tiers of delicious light vanilla sponge, which in turn are moistened with a Prosecco syrup and encased in a Prosecco-infused buttercream – gorgeous just like that but even better with a little chocolate drizzle over the top! A fabulous summer cake, inspired by a recipe from Good Housekeeping, June 2017.