Tag Archives: balsamic

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

Individual Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecakes with Balsamic-Infused Strawberries


The 21st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this little pudding tastes incredible, is dead easy and can be created in advance: of course it’s in the book!

I saw a version of these completely delectable little cheesecakes on Saturday Kitchen and thought that I must give them a go. Wow! The TV didn’t do them justice – the rich, smooth creaminess of the cheesecake is perfectly contrasted by the warm, sweet, lusciousness of the strawberries, their flavour emphasised by the sweet, rich balsamic vinegar (most unexpected).  They look fabulous, are so easy to make and taste out of this world!

Serves 4

What you need…

4 x chefs’ rings, 5.5cm diametre x 6cm deep (easily available online)

10 Amaretti biscuits

250g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

125g crème fraiche

240ml double cream

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

for the strawberries

200g strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (really good quality, thick stuff)

What to do…

In a large bowl, tip in your cream cheese, caster sugar, crème fraiche, double cream and vanilla seeds. Whisk until smooth and thickened up so that the whisks leave a distinct trail.

Place the chefs’ rings on a flat plate, lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each ring, pushing the mixture down to make sure there are no gaps. Smooth off the top with a palette knife and pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. If you are having friends around for dinner, you can do this bit in the morning and leave the rest until you are about ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve, pop your Amaretti biscuits into a plastic zip-lock bag and using a rolling pin, crush them inside the bag to create a dusting.

Remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Place the Amaretti crumbs on a plate and then dip each of the cheesecakes in their chefs’ rings into the crumbs; then sprinkle Amaretti crumbs over the top so that each cheesecake is evenly covered.

Then, hold your breath (!) and lightly shake each cheesecake from the chefs’ ring onto its serving plate. Despite your total disbelief, it will gently drop down the ring and then plop out beautifully onto your serving plate….looking gorgeous!

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring continually for about 1 minute. Pour over the balsamic and cook for a further minute.

Spoon some of the strawberries onto the plate alongside the cheesecake. Absolutely delicious – the strawberries contrast the cheesecake perfectly, both elements enhancing the flavour of the other. Serve your vanilla and Amaretti cheesecake with balsamic-infused strawberries together with a wee glass of Disaronno Italian liqueur or a lovely little dessert wine to complete the indulgence! Yum!


Chefs’ rings are almost like slices of metal piping you might expect on a building site! Another description would that of a cookie cutter, double the normal depth.

Inspired by…

Stuart Gillies, with James Martin on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Really easy, the only nervy bit is when you’re watching the cheesecake slowly drop through the chefs’ rings but be patient and it will be fine!