Search Results for: Strawberry

Summertime Strawberry Pie

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Nothing signals the start of summer like British strawberry season.  Perfectly ripe and juicy berries line the store shelves, and seasonal strawberry desserts replace the heavier cakes and crumbles that have featured on dessert menus throughout the winter months.

Strawberries are my absolute favourite summer berry, with raspberries following a close second. When I was pregnant I would eat entire meals consisting only of strawberries. I couldn’t get enough of them, and now my kid can’t either. Leave him alone with a punnet of strawberries and they’ll be gone in a matter of minutes.

Fresh strawberries

We’ve been growing strawberries in our garden this year, and they’re fantastically delicious.  Unfortunately they only ripen 3 at a time which is hardly enough to put on a bowl of corn flakes, let alone make up the bulk of a shareable dessert. Luckily I was able to supplement my own crop by making a trip out to Garsons Farm – a local produce farm where we could pick our own strawberries. Even though the shops are filled with strawberries at the moment, picking your own is so much better. Not only can you choose the ripest, reddest, juiciest strawberries, but it’ll occupy a 3 year old for over an hour! What more could I ask for?

Strawberry Pie

We left the farm with a huge basket filled to the brim of strawberries that were just screaming to be made into a pie.  Strawberry pie used to be my favourite when I was a kid. Chilled fresh strawberries in a sweet jelly topped with sweetened whipped cream. It’s so refreshing on a summery day.

I hadn’t had a strawberry pie in years, so I couldn’t wait to get home and make one with my pickings. This pie is super duper easy to make. In fact, the hardest part about it is waiting for the pie to set in the fridge overnight.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie Recipe

This recipe is my mom’s from Canada, so uses powdered Strawberry Jello brand jelly for the base.  We don’t have powdered Jello in the UK, but we do have Hartley’s Jelly cubes which I find don’t gel as firmly as the Jello brand.  So if you’re in the UK, I’d  recommend increasing the jelly cubes to 1.5 packages.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (225g) Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Quart Strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Pkg Strawberry Jello,or 1 1/2 Pkg Hartley's Strawberry Jelly
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Baked 9” pie crust, homemade or store-bought

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Mash 1 cup of the berries; add enough water to make 2 cups and stir into the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
  3. Cook and stir until boiling. Boil 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add butter, Jello powder (or cubes) and lemon juice. Stir until the Jello powder dissolves. Chill until partially set.
  5. Spoon 1/3 of the jello mixture into pie shell. Top with the remaining berries, and spoon the remaining jello mixture over the berries.
  6. Chill until set. Serve with fresh sweetened whipped cream.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/06/strawberry-pie-recipe/

Strawberry Pie

If you find yourself with an abundance of strawberries this summer, here are a few more recipes ideas to help you use them up.

Strawberry Pie recipes

Strawberry & Coconut Milkshake
Pimm’s Salad
Chocolate Pomegranate Cake with Lemon Curd and Strawberries
Strawberry mascarpone tarts
Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich
Strawberry Granola Frozen Yoghurt Bites
Strawberry Tiramisu

I’m submitting my strawberry pie to a couple of foodie blogger linkups this month as well.

Simple and in season

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Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Waffles with Strawberries & Whipped Cream

We’ve been going strawberry mad in our house lately.  Between harvesting our own from the garden and regular visits to the local pick your own farm, we’ve got a lot of strawberries to use up.

These waffles with strawberries and whipped cream are probably my favourite breakfast of all time. Mum used make them for special occasions like birthdays and when our friends came to the house for sleepovers.

Last month I made some healthy sugar free & gluten free lemon poppyseed waffles with fresh strawberry sauce, but there’s just something about waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream that makes everything right in the world. The warmth of the fluffy waffles topped with cool silky clouds of whipped cream, topped off with sweet syrupy strawberries = a whole lotta AMAZING in your mouth.

Mum used my grandmas special waffle maker. I have no idea what brand it was, but it’ll be a vintage piece now that’s for sure. The main thing I remember about it was that the waffles were nice and square, and they weren’t super thick like a lot of the waffle makers make nowadays.

Strawberry Basket

The waffle maker I’ve had for years has been temperamental recently, so I was pleased to be invited along to an event with George Foreman Grills where I could test out their new Evolve Grill. I know what you’re thinking – what does a George Foreman Grill have to do with waffles? That’s what I thought too when I first received the invite, but then I realised that the George Foreman Evolve Grill was different than other grills. Why?

It can make waffles!  AND brownies!

The Evolve Grill has interchangeable plates that allow the grill to do triple duty. The grill plates are ceramic coated which has proved to be a breeze to clean after the cooking is done. In addition, there are interchangeable waffle plates, and a deeper pan that’s suitable for a variety of things including omlets, pizza, and brownies. During the event we tested out the grill and deep dish plates, by making seared sesame tuna & pesto and beetroot pizza. Both were amazing, and I was impressed with how well the Evolve Grill performed.

George Foreman Evolve Grill

Shortly after the event I was sent my very own Evolve Grill, along with a set of interchangeable waffle plates. I couldn’t wait to try them out. I didn’t have mum’s waffle recipe on hand, so I opted to try out Maison Cupcake’s Gluten Free Belgian Waffle recipe that she shared in last month’s Breakfast Club linky.

Waffles with Strawberries and whipped cream

Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Yield: 8

Recipe slightly adapted from Maison Cupcake

Ingredients

    For the Strawberries and Whipped Cream
  • 250g Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Castor Sugar
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • For the Waffles
  • 2 Eggs
  • 300ml Whole Milk
  • 80g Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 270g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
  • 45g Caster Sugar

Instructions

    For the Strawberries and Whipped Cream
  1. Toss the sliced strawberries and 2-3 tablespoons of castor sugar into a bowl, and stir lightly to coat the berries in sugar. Set aside in the fridge for at lest half an hour so the strawberry syrup can develop.
  2. In a medium bow, place the double cream, 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until medium soft peaks form. Set aside.
  3. For the Waffles
  4. Preheat your waffle maker (220ºC if using the Evolve Grill).
  5. Combine the the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract into a medium bowl, and set aside.
  6. In a sepearate bowl, sift the gluten free flour and caster sugar.
  7. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients while string constantly until most of the lumps are incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter onto the waffle maker, making sure not to overfill. Cook until golden brown according to the directions of your waffle maker.
  9. Serve with your fresh whipped cream and strawberries.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/06/waffles-with-strawberries-and-whipped-cream/

I like to consider these waffles breakfast, but they’ll easily double as a fantastic dessert.

Waffles with Strawberries and whipped cream

So what did I think of the George Foreman Evolve Grill?

Pros: I love the fact that this grill has interchangeable plates. The fact that they’re removable makes them sooo much easier to clean, and the ceramic coating on the main grill plates means nothing sticks. Although I’ve yet to try baking brownies in it, the deep dish pan cooked my pizza surprisingly well. The waffle plates make larger waffles than most other square waffle makers on the market, so I feel these are the perfect size. Normally I would have forced myself to eat two square waffles, but with the evolve I’m quite happy to stick to one, as one Evolve waffle equals about 1.5 regular square waffles.

The fact that I could have this grill sitting on my counter top and cook 3 different ways in it is really appealing, especially since I lack storage space so the more uses I can get out of an appliance, the better.

I also liked the digital display screen and timing feature on the Evolve. My previous George Foreman grills didn’t have this feature, and I do find it really handy – especially during pre-heating.

Cons:  The grill is on the large side, so if you’re counter top is small or cluttered it may be hard to find space for the Evolve in your kitchen. Compared to my other waffle maker, the Evolve takes considerably longer to cook my waffles to a nice golden brown colour, which also means you’ll get a crispier waffle.

Would I buy it?  Yes, probably. If I was in the market for another electric grill, the Evolve would be near the top of my list because of the removable & interchangeable plates because they make clean up so much easier – they’re dishwasher safe too!  At £149.99 the evolve certainly isn’t the cheapest grill on the market, so you’ll need to decide if the extra features & plates are worth it for you.

With thanks to George Foreman Grills for hosting the Evolve event, and providing me with the new Evolve grill.

And because this is a breakfast post, I’m submitting my waffles with strawberries and whipped cream to the Breakfast Club, this month hosted by Sarah over at Maison Cupcake, and co-hosted by myself.

BreakfastClub_badge0230

Easter Bunny Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Easter Bunny Cake

I haven‘t been this excited about Easter for nearly 20 years.  It’s the first year we’re in our new house, the first time we’re having friends and family over for Easter dinner, and most importantly, the first year my little boy will really understand what the Easter Bunny is!

I’ve gone a bit overboard with the Easter goodies this year.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough chocolate foil eggs to stock a Tesco Express.  When I came home last weekend with yet more Easter stuff, my husband remarked “I’ve never seen anyone with so much Easter stuff before”. I’ve got Easter baskets, Easter bubbles, Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, bunny ears, bunny bubbles, chirping chicks, and tissue grass.  You name it, I’ve got it

The only thing missing was an Easter cake.  I needed something for dessert to serve our guests, and I had settled on making a strawberry pie but I knew my husband would never forgive me if I didn’t have a second option. He hates fruit. Seriously – who hates fruit?!? I wasn’t quite sure what to make, but after careful consideration I settled on the most appropriate cake choice I could – The Easter Bunny!  

Easter Bunny Cake

This was the first carved cake I’ve made, so I also had to decide on new cake recipe that was moist and flavourful, but still dense enough to carve easily. A regular sponge cake like a Victoria Sponge is too light and fluffy to carve, and would likely crumble if you tried.  I needed something with a nice tight crumb structure, so after much deliberation I settled on a cream cheese pound cake recipe (similar to a UK Madeira cake) from Southern Living Magazine.  It was perfect.  The recipe made just the right amount for my Easter Bunny cake (three 6 inch shallow rounds, and one extra deep 5 inch round, plus  a 6 inch square pan for my husband to pick at).  The pound cake carved like a dream, and allowed for me to shave off the thinnest of pieces until I got the exact shape I was looking for.

I’m not going to lie, the whole process for making this cake took ages – it took me about 3 days from start to finish (I’m obviously not a professional cake decorator lol!)  On the first day I made the icing (Malibu lemon), and baked the cakes before popping them in the fridge to firm up before carving.  On the second day I filled the cakes with the icing and some lemon curd in between each layer, and then carved the cakes until I was happy with the shape. I covered the iced cake in fondant, made all of the little flowers and Easter eggs, and then made my bunny’s ears. After all, no Easter Bunny is complete without a set of big white and pink bunny ears! On the third day I finished off the cake by making an adorable little fondant chick – complete with floral Easter bonnet, a fondant carrot, I pipped the grass onto the base, and attached the bunny’s nose, eyes, ears and fluffy tail.

Fondant Easter Chick
Easter Bunny Cake

This cake really was a labor of love.  It was a great excuse for me to bake a cake and try out loads of new techniques.  I’m most pleased with my adorable little Easter chick!  I didn’t actually stick her down to the fondant cake board, so I’ll be placing her in my china cabinet once we finish eating the bunny cake.  

Easter Bunny Cake
Easter Bunny Cake

Traditionally pound cake is either baked in a bundt or loaf pan, and served on it’s own or with a side of berries and whipped cream.  It’s a wonderfully dense and flavourful cake that goes  perfectly with a cup of tea.  I just know you’re going to love this cake as much as I did, whether you bake it in a regular cake tin, or carve it into something spectacular.

Easter Bunny Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Originally from Southern Living Magazine, 2001

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups (340g) Butter, softened at room temp
1 (8-ounce) Package (225g) Cream Cheese, softened at room temp 
3 Cups (675g) Sugar
6 Large Eggs
3 Cups (375) Plain Flour
1/8 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt together and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, and beat well (about 4 mins) but make sure not to over beat.

3.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until combined before adding the next egg.

4.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until just blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

5.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan, or parchment lined cake tins (if using).  Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, and then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

The cake went down a treat with everyone, and even though it was a bit of a shame to cut my little bunny’s bum off, I loved how easy it was to slice, and that I could see each delicious layer!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For more Easter treats to bake, check out my colourful Mini Easter Egg Cakes baked inside of real eggs!

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

I’ve always been a sucker for holidays of any kind. The shops are filled with cute limited edition holiday themed sweets and gift ideas. No sooner are we over one holiday before another limited edition themed product range hits the store shelves.

Some people may find this overkill, and at times I do too (ie: seeing the Easter candy being put out on display on Christmas Eve!), but it gives me something to look forward to.

I’ve noticed that the Valentine’s Day range of products has been slow to hit store shelves this year. They’ve been trumped by the Easter range which is still 3 months away. And perhaps it’s because other holidays have a wider appeal, but the selection of Valentine’s products never equals that of the other holidays (aside from St. Patricks Day – except maybe in the States where it’s hugely popular). Over the past week or so I’ve really started to see some neat Valentine’s Day products emerge, especially in the food / baking department.

I’ve found a few new products that I really love, as well as a few favourites that have been seasonally rebranded. So without further adew, I give you my top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts for foodies. Feel free to share these with your significant other, you know – just in case they need a little help.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

1.  Limited Edition Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish – What more can I say?  I seriously LOVE this dish!   Available exclusively online at Le Creuset  UK, this “chiffon pink” casserole dish is limited to only 100 pieces, and retails for £145.

2.  Peggy Porschen Valentine’s Day Cupcake Gift Box – An assortment of my two favourite cupcakes, the Strawberry & Champagne, and Chocolate Heaven cupcakes are decorated with hand made sugar roses and mini heart biscuits.  £30 for six cupcakes.  You can also add on a bottle of Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Champagne if you wish. Available for pick up and delivery from Peggy Porschen.

3.  Charbonnel et Walker Truffle Kisses – How cute are these!  Perfect little pink lips flavoured with Marc De Champagne and Raspberry.  So much better than a Hershey’s Kiss!  Available from John Lewis for £15.

4.  Pink Tuscan Cake Stand – An absolutely gorgeous pale milky pink 9 inch cake stand.   Other colours and sizes available. £65 from Liberty.

5.  Heart Ravioli Pasta Cutter – Instead of going out, cook your other half a romantic dinner to remember with this ultra cute ravioli cutter.  I first spotted this in Carluccio’s a year or so ago, and I’m glad to see they still have it.  £4.95

6.  Mason Cash Hearts Mixing Bowl – You can never have enough mixing bowls.  Seriously.  This would also make a great popcorn bowl if you feel like watching a movie after dinner. It’s the perfect size for sharing.  £13.99 from Dunelm.

7.  Laduree Macarons – Laduree has the best macarons, as well as the most stunning gift boxes.  They’ve always got seasonal flavours – this month it’s a limited edition Nina Ricci Macaron covered in gold leaf that’s filled with a raspberry jam, and a hint of lemon juice and rose essence.  Ah-maze-ing!  Assorted flavours, boxes and sizes available from the four London Laduree locations.

8.  Light My Fire Matchstick Biscuits – These are just so cute and unique.  Perfect if you’re not into heats and pink!  Available from Not On The High Street for £10, although I’m pretty sure you could make your own with minimal effort.

9.  Emma Bridgewater Heart Mug – I’m not a massive fan of Emma Bridgewater, but I do love her heart pattern collection.  These mugs are so classic, and beautifully British.  You can also order a personalised version for £18 from the Emma Bridgewater website.  I have one, and it’s great. No one can steal your mug at the office!

10.  “I Love You A Latte” Coffee Stencil – These are actually personalised coffee stencils that you can customise to say whatever you want, but there’s a great selection of pre-made ones suitable for Valentine’s day. Really great fun for a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed. £12.50 from Not On The High Street.

* My Top 10 Picks were independently chosen by me without any compensation or influence from the manufacturers.

Chocolate Gingerbread Houses – a Twist on a Christmas Tradition

Christmas traditions – we all have them. My earliest memory of our Christmas traditions was when I was only about 3 years old. My mom would make the most amazing gingerbread houses ever. We would sit and watch the beginning stages of the house being built, with the rest of the decorating being carried out while we were in bed sleeping.  We would wake up the next morning in amazement at the sugary creation decked out with royal icing snow and icicles, spearmint leaf trees and candy cane sleds.  We always knew that we weren’t allowed to touch or eat the house until after Christmas.  But I guess my parents never told our babysitter that, because one night they came home from a party and she’d torn off the gingerbread shutters, and eaten a spearmint tree or two.  And guess who got the blame…….


It seems like over the past few years gingerbread houses have become increasingly popular in the UK.  The first time I made one in the UK four years ago most of my friends had never even seen one before and they all just asked me why I made it.  Um, because it’s fun!  And it’s tradition!  Gingerbread kits have been increasing in popularity each year here, and there’s some really good ones out this year.  By far the coolest one I’ve seen isn’t even really a kit.  It’s a mould.  A chocolate mould!  This year Lakeland has released a super cool mould that allows you to make a gingerbread house entirely out of chocolate.  No baking required.  Just melt your chocolate, pour and wait until it’s set before “gluing” your house together with some more melted chocolate.  


Next comes the best part – the decorating!  My favourite part of building any gingerbread house (chocolate or the cookie kind) is the decorating.  I love shopping for all the different types of candy, and although I do prefer my old favourites from North America (traditional ribbon candy, spearmint trees and life savers), I have also discovered some wonderful traditional UK sweets that have made my house look amazing.  I especially loved the pink and white marshmallow twists called Flumps, which I used for the peak of the roof, chimney and window boxes.

I’m so pleased with the way my chocolate house turned out.  I used pieces of strawberry Moam for the roof tiles, Jelly Tots for the christmas lights, Flumps for the roof peak, chimeny and window boxes, Dolly Mix for the fence and light posts, Millions for the pathwaym and also some mini Chuppa Chups for an extra bit of decoration.  The icicles and snow are made from white chocolate.

My only word of caution with this gingerbread house mould is that it does require a lot of chocolate.  1.2kg to be exact.  But the good thing is that the mould can also be used to bake your traditional gingerbread cookies in as well.  So if you’d rather not have a house made of chocolate, then you can always go the more traditional route using your favourite gingerbread recipe. 

Thanks to Lakeland for providing this fabulous gingerbread mould. 

Also, thanks to Jude’s (from A Trifle Rushed) comment below I’m adding my chocolate gingerbread house to the Seasonal Gingerbread House link up via the Turquoise Lemons blog.  If you’ve made a gingerbread house this year, then why not share yours too!



Coincidentally the gingerbread house in the picture above is traditional gingerbread baked in the same Lakeland mould I used for my chocolate house.