Monday, 30 June 2014

WIMBLEDON MESS

The words Wimbledon and Mess should not be together, since Wimbledon is the best time of the year. This is a take on an Eton mess though, using the food staple of Wimbledon at the centre: strawberries and cream. To play up to the theme I’ve also added pistachios and a little white chocolate (white and green like the tennis balls- a combination I’ve already tried to last year’s Wimbledon in ice cream here) which adds extra bursts of flavour and texture alongside the meringue. On another note, I used Scottish strawberries. That one’s for you Murray.

400ml double cream
Splash of vanilla extract
About 16 strawberries, 12 hulled, 4 left whole
1 tbsp icing sugar
4 meringue nests
100g shelled pistachios
A few squares of white chocolate

Whip the double cream until it just reaches medium peak stage. Blend the 12 hulled strawberries into a thick sauce then add the icing sugar and mix in well. Break the meringue nests into bite size pieces into the cream alongside half of the pistachios. Pour the blended strawberries into the cream, leaving a few teaspoons behind, then gently ripple through.


Divide the mixture equally between 4 wine glasses. Take the left over blended strawberries and pour a little bit onto the top of each mess so that you can do another, more defined ripple. Scatter the remainder of the pistachios on top of each. Put a slit in the bottom of the 4 whole strawberries and onto the lip of each glass. Finally, run a knife over the back on the white chocolate squares to create thin, shard like pieces and scatter over the top. A beautiful mess to enjoy in front of the tennis. 


Monday, 23 June 2014

PINA COLADA SUMMER PUDDINGS

The flavours of pina colada scream summer time. I think it’s the coconut in particular, it just makes me think of sun, probably because most sun creams have it in and, being ginger, sun cream is often my best friend. I had planned to make a pina colada tart but it completely failed. Not wanting to give up with the rum, coconut and pineapple combo thought, my mam suggested doing this instead and it completely worked. What you get is a mini, liquor soaked casing holding sweet, and juicy pineapple and mango chunks. Eat in the garden whilst wearing shades (and coconut sun cream).

1 white, uncut loaf (better if slightly stale)
250g pineapple chunks
250g mango chunks
2 tsp coconut milk (use the creamy part if possible)
2 tsp rum (plus a little extra for brushing)
100g golden sugar

Line 6 mini basins (I used plastic pudding moulds) with cling film. Cut the crust off of the bread. Slice random pieces and begin to line the basins with them, pressing together and patching up any wholes. Brush the bread with some rum or spare coconut milk to help form the moulds easily and make sure you have some bread left over for the lids. Once all 6 are lined with bread prepare the fruit.

Cut the pineapple and mango into small, diced chunks and throw into a saucepan with the coconut milk, rum and sugar. Bring to boil and then allow to simmer for a minute or so, just so that the liquid gets a little syrupy and the fruit has sweetened.

Spoon the hot pineapple and mango into each mould, along with the liquid, until each is full. Reserve a few teaspoons for topping the puddings. Take the spare slices of bread and use to seal each pudding, again patching together if need be. Make sure each is tightly sealed. Put a small, dipped plate on top of each pudding to press down each so that the filling and casing are compact together. Stack them for extra weight, placing something like a tip on the top one. Put in the fridge to set (preferably overnight) along with the spare fruit.


To serve, turn the puddings out of the basins by releasing them with the cling film. Spoon over the spare fruit and tuck in.   

                                                       

Monday, 16 June 2014

MALT LOAF

This recipe is thanks to my auntie whose house is right at the back of ours meaning we’re always swapping things we’ve made over the fence. She gave me a few slices of this loaf cake the other day and it was delicious. When I asked her for the recipe I couldn’t believe how flipping easy it was and also that it included bran flakes, which add to its mellow richness. You’ve got to make this cake, not only for the ease but also for how amazing it makes the house smell when baking. And also how tasty it is. You could even have a slice or two for breakfast, it does after all contain bran flakes and milk.

*This recipe uses all the same measurements from 1 cup. Either use the exact (American) cup measurements or a small teacup*

1 cup of bran flakes soaked in 1 cup of milk for 1 hour
1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of golden caster sugar
1 cup of sultanas or raisins
Pinch of cinnamon
Small grating of nutmeg (or pinch of ground nutmeg)

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Grease and line a 1” loaf tin.


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl then spoon into the tin. Bake for about 40-50 minutes until golden and springy and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and leaving to cool on a wire rack. Keep the cake in an airtight container, it tastes just as good (if not better) after a few days. 


Monday, 9 June 2014

MANGO AND NECTARINE SMOOTHIE

We’re currently having the kitchen decorated at home so I can’t get to the oven. However, I’d still like to give you a recipe that’s worthy of the blog and one I’ve been enjoying every morning. Frozen fruit is the best thing for smoothies. It’s cheap, lasts long and keeps them ice cold and refreshing. Frozen mango is the one I’m always adding lately and firstly found it worked beautifully with pear. We had some nectarines in the fruit basket though and I decided to plonk one in with the mango and the result was a winner. The soft flesh gives the smoothest texture and the tartness gives the a punchy after taste. Healthy breakfast at its tastiest.

2 bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pear or apple, chopped around the core
A handful of frozen mango
1 nectarine, peeled and squeezed from the stone


Put all the ingredients in a blender with enough cold water to come half way up the fruit. Blitz until thick and smooth and bubbling, then drink down this sweet morning treat.