Tag Archives: Strawberry

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

Christmas Food Gifts: Strawberry, Pear and Vanilla Jam

5 Dec

I approach many festive events or celebrations with the type of organisation and efficiency that you would expect from the leader of an army. Christmas is by far the biggest festive event that I participate in every year, requiring  honed skills of preparation and organisation.  I don’t like feeling stressed or frazzled….no I take that back. I like feeling only mildly stressed and frazzled. Just frazzled enough to know I am alive and achieving things, but not so much that I am crying over a bowl of cookie dough.

The only way to strike this stress balance is to plan ahead. As previous posts have suggested, I like to plan and write lists and plan just a little bit more. This is why I am thinking of Christmas presents in October and I aim for having all Christmas shopping completed before November is even completed. Now for over organised freaks like me, one of the things we fear most is being caught short. Caught short of food. Caught short of presents. Worst of all caught short of booze. So on top of stocking up on wine and bubbly for the month preceding Christmas, I also start putting little stocking fillers aside, just in case. Food is a nice non gendered gift, that still requires effort and love to create. This year on top of my usual Christmas biscuits, I also decided to make some Jam to give away.

Christmas Presents!

I have never made jam before and was very excited to find I could make it quite easily, so don’t be afraid. I am not a great lover of strawberry jam as a rule. I find it can be overly sweet, but the pear, although not obvious, cuts through the sweetness. I do plan on adding more vanilla to my next batch, as I felt one pod was not sufficient. There are no setting agents added to this jam. But I did add lemon peel to provide extra pectin and set, as I like a firmer set jam.

Strawberry, Pear and Vanilla jam

Makes 2-3 small jars

Adapted from a recipe by Dan Lepard on BBC online (Original Recipe)

  • 2 large hard pears
  • 500 gms of strawberries, hulled. I cut the larger strawberries in half
  • 400 gms caster sugar
  • Juice of a small lemon.
  • ½ lemon rind grated
  • 1 vanilla pod

1. Grate the pears, minus the core and pips into 500 ml of water in a saucepan.

2. Cook for 15-20 mins over high, until water almost evaporated and pear is tender

3. Add strawberries and boil until liquid has evaporated. Then add the sugar and lemon. Continue to boil the jam until reduced and sticky.

4. Stir frequently to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom.

5. When the jam is the consistency you would like turn the heat off

Firm set

6. Stir in the vanilla seeds only.

7. Pour into warm sterilized jars, put the lid on, tip upside down to create a vacuum.

8. Once opened place in the fridge

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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