Tag Archives: summer recipes

Home-made plum, star anise and amoretti ice cream

4 Sep

Home-made plum, star anise and amoretti ice cream

I am hanging on to summer. Well, sort of.

Home-made plum, star anise and amoretti ice cream

As I walked (rather than take the car) to pick up ingredients today with the boy in the buggy I sniffled lightly as I thought of all the work I have pending. Exam season is near, but it’s still summer isn’t it because there is still a week before it all kicks off. A whole week. I looked down at my jumper; well at least it has a floral print on it eh? And you know the menu for my upcoming cookery class has kale included, maybe I should just give in.

I mean there is even back-to-school stuff in the shops and the swimming pool is already quieter for all the children are screaming in playgrounds now. There is more traffic building up on the roads and the trampoline in the garden is filling up with rain water. I am still making the season’s last visits to the zoo and well, making ice cream.

So when the chap from Riverford tucked a box of seasonal jewels near my garden with a wrapper l on it and I saw it as I arrived home, my boy and turned our glances away from the wilting flowers and drying rose bushes to grab it and see because we have learned after a few deliveries that the quality of the fruit and vegetables we get is absolutely outstanding. Here is the thing, with no word of exaggeration. The corn we got this week is probably some of the best corn we have eaten in years. Years! I also got a perfectly sweet-tart and sunny looking plums with which I have struck a deal with the season-Gods. They bestow these beauties and I pretend it is still summer by adding a touch of exotic and aniseed-sexy star anise and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t create a little Asian-Italian fusion with the amoretti biscuits. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I will. This ice-cream is out of this world. It is sensational. You have to do it. The creaminess is exquisite and definitely not bashful. The spice is bold and the plums, they are tantalisingly sensual.

for the full recipe head over to great british chefs

fsf-autumn

I am sharing this recipe with Eat your Veg and Delicieux for the four seasons challenge

Strawberry and Thai basil lemonade

22 Jun

Strawberry and Thai basil lemonade

Strawberry and Thai basil lemonade

This could potentially be my last full summer with the boy. Potentially. This time next year I will be in the swing of it (I hope) and he will be in nursery.

This time last year I took him to pick berries in our local fruit picking farm ten minutes down the road. He was wearing a little white t-shirt with a red heart on it and it grew the colours of the season throughout the hours. Sadly the fruit flies had attacked the crop of strawberries but the blackberries were in abundance. At not even a year and half old he chattered away to me but had not cracked the concept of picking the fruit to take home, so he made repeated attempts at sticking the fruit back onto the shrubs. How does time do this to us? I remember where I had parked, the exact spot, like it was a few weeks ago. The pram wouldn’t open properly because I had had accidently wedged a pack of nappy wipes in the bottom tray and I took multiple bottles of water to douse the berries with, just in case he wanted a taste.

We picked gooseberries to make chutney with and raspberries that decorated my breakfast porridge until the winter kicked in. We made blackberry, lychee and apple crumble.  We made a lot of memories that I wish he could hold onto and relive, but he is so young. The memories are mine though, the baby is gone and the toddler will too soon. But the memories will always be mine and I won’t have the guilt, because I have done my best so far and I know that. All the swimming, cuddling, water play and splashing, the shopping trips and chatting over fruits and vegetables, cooking together, soft play, the park, the play dates the trips on the train to London…all of it…they will always be mine to hold.

This year, fortunately the strawberries were not predatory to any pests and I was bouncing with joy when I found alpine strawberries, in all their floral tasting glory, decorating the borders of my garden this year! They have light, lavender like taste and are utterly sweet without so much of the latent tang. It is time for a fresh start and a sweet one I hope, much like this recipe for strawberry and Thai basil lemonade. Not only does it look pretty and alluring, it’s curiously sweet, sour, fruity and herby essences are pretty darn sexy. It is true. Sexy is good in a drink, do it.

Ingredients to serve 4

3 cups water

200g strawberries washed and hulled

½ cup sugar

About 15 fresh Thai basil leaves

The juice of three large lemons

Method

  1. Chop the strawberries into quarters and then combine them with the lemon juice, water and sugar, mix well and then heat the mixture on a low-medium flame in a non-stick pan.
  2. Warm the ingredients through until the sugar has dissolved but don’t boil the liquid as the strawberries will start to lose their essence.
  3. Blend the strawberries with the liquid until it’s a smooth liquid and then add the Thai basil leaves and allow it to reach room temperature before popping it in the fridge to cool.

 

Blueberry, pistachio and coconut yoghurt ice lollies, with a teeny pinch of cardamom

29 May
From when I was almost able to peer over the cooker I remember milk simmering for what seemed like hours and hours, once it had been sweetened with sugar and infused with saffron, cardamon, nutmeg and maybe a mixture of nuts.  On warm days, with the windows open, the smell of milky puffs wafted through to where I painted in the sun and searched for chalky stones to decorate the slabs with.  
With the heat of the floor on my legs, I would sit and watch teams of ants march decidedly, as my mind wandered.  We knew what was coming…kulfi.  It never tasted quite like the stalls in India, but biting into thick milky lollies was a joy.
 
Since then, I’ve tried all sorts of ‘healthy’ alternatives to ice cream.  I’ve tried lots of frozen yoghurt recipes and used agave nectar instead of sugar.  I’ve done fruity ones and biscuity ones.  I’m not too keen on the residual sourness of the yoghurt though.  
I’ve done the trick of freezing sweetened slices bananas and blitzing them with almond milk, to mock up and ice cream.
Sorbets..blah blah…
 
Then there’s this recipe.  This one had us in sighs and smiles when we tucked into them.  So much so, that my little (anti sweet stuff)  fifteen month old even has a few licks!   
 
Makes 8 lollies
 
450g of coconut yoghurt
3tbsp caster sugar
150g blueberries
2-3 tbsp coarsely chopped pistachios 
A teeny pinch of cardamon 
 
Method
 
1. Blitz all but 8-10 of the blueberries together with the sugar, then simmer the mixture until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
2. Pour the coconut yoghurt into a mixing bowl and add, through a sieve the blueberries. 
3. Stir in the chopped pistachios and the flecks of cardamon and stir well. 
4. Chop the remaining blueberries and sprinkle them in before stirring again.
5. Gently pour the mixture into lolly moulds and eave them to set.

 Image

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