Tag Archives: Berries

The Perils of Sharing: Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

25 Jun

I am a sharer…. Ok I am often an over sharer 🙂 I think this compulsion comes from a desire to make people feel comfortable in my company and I really hate awkwardness. My sharing usually comes in the form of verbal diarrhoea, if I could force group hugs on people I would, instead I talk. I make self-deprecating jokes and even on occasions do a little comedy sketch, however my tendency to share doesn’t always connect. This disconnection occurred quite recently when meeting someone new at work. I was asked how I felt having my office so close to the Director, did I have to be really careful to be quiet and look efficient? I pointed out to my colleague that given I had no ‘inside’ voice being quiet was never going to happen. I went on to explain how the director is so focused on his work that I can tap dance right past his room and he would never even know. I then proceeded to do a little tap number complete with jazz hands…….. I was met with a completely blank face and I realised that my attempt at humour and warmth was clearly not translating well. My response, keep on talking at the person in a friendly upbeat tone until they capitulate. I am still waiting… 😦

Sharing morning tea

Sharing morning tea

Surprisingly sharing translates even worse with people I have just met in random public places. Recently I was standing next to a middle aged man at the bus stop when it was pouring with rain. He did not have an umbrella and I saw the rain literally stream down his face and down the back of his suit. In what I thought was an act of kindness and maybe even chivalry, I simply without saying anything moved my umbrella over a little so that he could get some protection from the rain. He looked at me peculiarly and I just smiled back at him and said you looked like you were getting a little wet. He didn’t respond but just shuffled a bit. We stood for a while longer cramped amongst other people waiting for the bus, not saying anything (serious self control for a person who abhors a silence) when a bus finally arrived and people started moving slowly towards the entrance of the bus. The stranger and I started to move with the crowd, I did my best in the jostling to try and continue to share the protection of my umbrella. He looked at the umbrella and at me as if I was clearly deranged and wielding the umbrella with a sinister purpose, maybe to steal his wallet or a lock of his thinning hair, finally he turned around and said’ I don’t want your umbrella’ and got himself lost in throngs of people before boarding the bus and continuously looking over his shoulder as if I might spring out and molest him with my spotted umbrella and charitable attitude.

This cake will encourage all to enjoy your generous spirit and even forgive you the occasional impromptu tap dance. I made a few modifications because of what I had in the cupboard and fridge. The cake was deliciously moist and had a host of complimentary flavours that made it a great mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

Are you a sharer? Would you have offered your to share your umbrella?

Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

8- 10 slices

adapted from Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

  • 110 gms unsalted butter
  • 15 gms of crème fraiche
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ bi carb soda
  • 80 gms of dried blueberries
  • 80 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a loaf tin

2. Process or mash the bananas and crème fraiche together.

Banana and creme fraiche

Banana and creme fraiche

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to cool a while and then add the sugar.

4. Once the sugar is combined and dissolved in the butter, it should be a thick  mixture, add the mashed bananas and eggs.

5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and coconut.

6. Finally lightly fold in the dried blueberries.

7. Spoon into the loaf tin. It will be a very thick.

8. Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides of the tin.

P1020031

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Cake Castle: Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

25 Sep

King Kong: ‘Wow did you make this?’

Me: ‘Yes of course’

A Castle of cake

King Kong peers into the cake box again ‘Wow how did you make it into that shape, that’s amazing’

Me…stifled laughter ‘Its called a cake tin’ 🙂

I love how baking a cake in a bundt pan, in fact baking in general can make you appear like an alchemist of flour and butter, even if it is not the most difficult of recipes.

Strawberries are in abundant supply at the moment and this seemed like a great way to showcase them. This cake is a lovely moist cake and I received more than the usual number of compliments even days after, so I am guessing this cake is not merely for cake lovers.

What is your favourite way to showcase strawberries?

Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

adapted from Strawberry Yoghurt Cake

Serves 12

  • 225 gms of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda and
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 200 gms of natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 250 gms of strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Grease and flour a bundt tin thoroughly.
3. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add the lemon juice and zest and then add the eggs one at a time waiting between eggs until combined
5. Alternate adding the flour and yoghurt in 3 parts, then add in the milk at the end and mix to combine
6. Bake the cake in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until the cake is springy to the touch and the skewer comes out clean
7. Allow the cake to cool in the tine for 10-15 mins and then remove carefully on to a rack to cook

Planning and Procrastination: Raspberry Lemon and White Chocolate Slice

30 May

I am in the final year of my Masters degree in Law and despite the fact that I have only had 1 subject to do this semester I have absolutely no motivation. In the beginning my motivation for doing my Masters was all about creating opportunities in case I ever wanted to seize the moment. I have never been a great planner of things in life, I never planned to be a lawyer and although I have dabbled in creating 5 year plans in my early twenties, a 5 day meal plan is about the best I can manage now. However when I know something needs to be done I unexpectedly become an excellent planner, I go about radically setting new goals and finding new motivation. I suddenly gather the focus and determination  to spend 2 hours googling lipstick colours while in my pj’s. A potentially crucial step on the path to my new goal of being an expert at retro make up techniques….. True none of this is may lead to a distinction on my criminology essay, but maybe I will find that elusive plum lipstick that you can wear from day to night. Lets be honest isn’t that an equally noble goal 🙂

Knowing that in good conscience I can’t leave the house because I should be chained to my laptop writing another 1000 words on the challenges of the adversarial system (yawn),  I try and find distractions within the home and at some point even I know I have to be cut off from my new googling addiction. So I bake.

I found this Recipe for Blueberry and Lemon Brownies a while ago on Strawberry Ginger, a blog I nominated for the Kreativ blogger award. Having undertaken to really hammer out some of my essay and then go to the shop for the blueberries the recipe required,  I then threw myself into 2 hours of research……this time on platform shoes…..so I never made it to the shops. Instead I improvised and thereby altered the recipe slightly using what I could find within my house. The alterations are as follows

  • frozen raspberries (not thawed),
  • doubled the zest content ( I like a lot of lemon)
  • white chocolate chips added to the mixture instead of creating a drizzle (just pure laziness on my part)

This was a really nice slice and I will make it again but probably double the quantities because too much of a good thing is never enough. Miss Meat had seconds every time she had a piece because apparently she felt it wasn’t so overpoweringly sweet that it required self restraint.

At least i have something to show for my web surfing!

How do you procrastinate? Are you a planner?

Christmas Traditions 2: Limoncello and Blackberry Trifle

18 Dec

Just because I can’t get enough of Christmas festivities, I have an early Christmas dinner at my house with my flatmates and usually 1 or 2 extra friends. It is an excuse for me to don my reindeer antlers, Christmas apron and force feed my guests food and Christmas carols until they just can’t take anymore. I only started this tradition last year with my current flatmates. Last year’s dinner was largely a triumph, although I will admit to overdoing the dessert portions and dancing to Queen hits in the early hours of the morning.

The hallmarks of a Legal Tart Christmas are that we have a Christmas cocktail and I make a Blackberry and Limoncello trifle for dessert. Other courses are subject to the individual preferences of the cook. This year our Christmas cocktail is a Pomegranate Martini.

I have mentioned Mutti’s much loved Tipsy Pudding before, this dessert is a Christmas highlight in my family and is in essence a trifle but without the jelly and with more alcohol than is probably appropriate on a holy day 😉 Trifles are a great dessert to make for dinner parties, because they can be made ahead and always look rather spectacular with all their layers. For me any chance to use Limoncello is to be seized upon as I do love this liqueur. It is absolutely essential that this trifle sit overnight. I can not stress this enough. The first time I made it I ate it that same day. I was rather unimpressed with the dessert and felt that the Limoncello was overpowering and there was no complexity to the flavours. However I had some more a day later and it was completely in love. I have been making this adapted version ever since.

I use blackberry jam, although the original recipe calls for blackcurrant as I find blackcurrant jam very difficult to find here in Sydney. I also used flaked almonds in the place of Amaretti, as I am not a huge fan of the Italian biscuit. Mutti’s trifle has flaked almonds on top and they were one of my most favourite parts of the pudding when I was a kid. I have also added cream to the top as there really isn’t a time when cream can not improve a dessert. You can use the sponge finger biscuits, ordinary sponge or madeira cake on the bottom. Just make sure any sponge or madeira cake is dried out rather than fresh. You want the sponge to hold its shape and soak up the liqueury juices.

What do you eat for dessert at Christmas?

Blackberry Limoncello Trifle

Serves 10

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Anglo Italian Trifle

  • 1 Store bought square sponge cake cut into squares
  • 250 gms blackberry jam
  • 200 mls of Limoncello
  • 750 gms of blackberries
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 100 gms of caster sugar
  • 750 gms mascarpone cheese
  • Flaked almonds
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 150 mls cream

1. Cut the squares of sponge in half and spread blackberry jam on one side before sandwiching back together.

2. Wodge and the bottom trifle bowl and continue until the bottom of the bowl in covered by a layer of sponge pieces, tightly fitted together

3. Pour limoncello minus two teaspoons over the sponge and sprinkle a small handful of flaked almonds and leave to soak while you get on with the remainder of the trifle.

4. Put blackberries into pot with remainder of the jam and the juice of the lemon and stir until warm and the blackberries are softening. Pour over the sponge.

5. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they thicken and turn pale yellow. Whisk in the teaspoons of limoncello followed by the mascarpone until combined and smooth.

6. Whisk the egg whites separately until firm but not stiff. Fold 1 spoon of egg white mix into the mascarpone mixture. Then fold that mascarpone mixture into the remainder of the egg whites and fold until combined.

7. Pour mascarpone custard on to the partially assembled trifle. Whisk the cream until thick and then spread over the trifle.

8. Toast another handful of flaked almonds in a dry fry pan and then allow to cool before sprinkling on top of the trifle.

Bring on dessert!

Saucy Strawberry, Blueberry and Macadamia Crumble

9 Nov

Many of the men I know don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, so I find making dessert for them difficult. I think dessert is an integral, if not the single most important course at lunch or dinner time. I don’t want to go without my sweet end to the meal, so the question becomes do I make the selfish dessert just for me, or engage in some generosity and make something for dessert that may appeal to the boys. The answer depends on whether I am in the mood to share 🙂

What I have discovered, and I do not claim that it is universally true, is that men will often eat desserts that come in a warm saucy form, things like self-saucing puddings and hot apple strudel with custard. With this in mind I endeavoured the other night to make something that would be  satisfying to me and welcomed by the boys. I love the arrival of spring and summer because it means berries. I don’t go much for winter fruits but come summer I can’t get enough of stone fruits and berries. Blueberries and strawberries are in season and ridiculously cheap at the moment. So I decided a strawberry and blueberry crumble was the order of the day.

Saucy and sweet

The liqueur used to macerate the berries acts as both a flavour addition and extra sauce, it isn’t essential but I think it is definitely worth it. I generally believe it is important with desserts like this not to get too stressed about perfection, so don’t get too caught up in making sure all the macadamia’s are chopped to the same size. You are aiming for a more rustic look, so some may be almost whole and others in shards. The macadamia’s add to the crunch and overall texture of the dish. Remember to use a fork when mixing the macadamia’s in to the crumble. If you use a spoon you will compact some of the crumble and fail to get the crunchiness you are after.

One final note. My proportions may not be exactly right. I tend to do things like crumble by sight. Keep adding flour to the butter until you get the rubbly consistency you are after.

Strawberry, Blueberry and Macadamia Crumble

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 Punnet of strawberries
  • 1 Punnet of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of Flour
  • 100 gms Cold butter diced
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • ½ cup Macadamia’s chopped
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier

Toss berries and Grand Marnier in a bowl. Cover and set aside. Leave for at leat 30 mins

In another bowl place flour and diced butter. Rub butter into the flour using your finger tips until you get a crumbly rubble.

Add macadamia’s to crumble mix and 2 tbsp of brown sugar. Fork through until combined.

Put fruit and any liquid in the baking dish and pour over crumble mix. Top with additional tbsp of sugar.

See the sweet sticky sauces on the outside

Bake in 200 degree oven for 20 mins or until the juice from the fruit can be seen bubbling up the side.

Serve with Ice cream or custard.

What is your favourite type of crumble?

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