Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Simple Salad

I find during the summer (and I suppose generally throughout the year) that there is nothing like a well made salad – I have a problem with ready made to eat packets of salads as they never taste fresh and tend to spoil very quickly. We always have loads of veg in the fridge so a good selection is key to the makings of a great salad.

Onion – I love spring onions in a salad. Some people don’t but I think they add too it.

Nothing like a Spring Onion in your salad

Peppers – are an essential to my salads, again some people don’t like them and people often like to say its not good for their gut, but I don’t buy it. The yellow, orange and red ones are sweet, while the ominous green ones are quite bitter. If you really have a problem with the green ones in a salad, keep them for ratatouille or soup.

Bulkers – fibre is great and there is nothing like those funny veg that many people complain about. I LOVE LOVE LOVE celery, although most in my family complain about it being tasteless, like cucumber. I don’t believe a word of it! Celery has this fresh crunch, that adds great texture to a salad and cucumber while also fresh has a softer more moist crunch to it. So they may be bulkers, but they are great! And don’t underestimate the importance of the fibre!

Peppers, Celery, Cucumber

Tomatoes – I like having a nice selection of tomatoes, the normal round little red ones (moneymaker), those wonderful tiny plum tomatoes and I have a bit of a thing for the little yellow tomatoes, which are hard to find, but add some nice colour to any salad!

Tomatoe Selection

Lettuce – the key to any salad is the lettuce; we often have a selection handy. Good ol’ iceberg lettuce and round lettuce  are the standards. I have an obsession with lamb’s lettuce since I was a kid <- so it always goes in, as does rocket which has a lovely peppery taste to it. Romaine or cos is that nice crunchy one that caesar salad’s always use. Chicory is one of my absolute favourites and those brown leaf ones are always in our salads because mom insists.

Lettuce Galore

I’m on a low carb diet at the moment – which means I have to cut down on the high carbohydrate veg, like carrots, parnsips, turnips, celeriac, peas etc. What I’d normally do though is add a cup of corn to a salad and a couple handfuls of grated carrot.

Delicious.

Om Nom Mixed Salad

Don’t forget a dressing, 2/5 balsamic vinegar, 3/5 olive oil, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of a mustard of your choice. Bottle, shake, serve.

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Watermelon and Mint Sorbet – A Blast of Fresh Zing

It’s summer time and mom decided to buy the biggest watermelon I’ve ever seen. The family made an attempt to eat through it but just couldn’t, so we had a lot of spare watermelon in the fridge – it would have been a shame to let it go to waste. So I decided to learn something new and make sorbet. Its a bit of a funny one to make, because there is just nothing worse than a really icy sorbet that doesn’t roll well in the mouth, so I was a little worried.

I made four times what I have in the recipe, because I was working with a huge amount of watermelon, but I’ve left it at the normal amounts here and feel free to just adapt based on what you have available to you.

375mL water

250g sugar

600g-800g watermelon

4 leaves of mint

100mL lemon juice

Watermelon ready to go!

First job is to de-seed the watermelon, which is a pain, but necessary.

De-seed the WatermelonChunks of Watermelon

Then blend the chunks of watermelon in a food processor.

Blend the Watermelon

Drain watermelon through sieve lined with muslin cloth

Grab a sieve and line the sieve with a muslin cloth. Filter off any missed seeds and pulp left over from the fruit. You end up with a deep red juice. Nom.

Get sugar, lemon juice and water and heat until sugar is dissolved. I added a couple of mint leaves tied in a muslin bag to give some extra flavour. When sugar is dissolved, remove bag of mint and leave to cool.

Syrup of Lemon Juice, Sugar and Water

Mint Leaves wrapped in a muslin cloth bag

Once syrup is cooled, mix in the watermelon juice.

Chilled, Mixed and ready to be frozen!

Place in an ice cream machine and use according to standard guidelines for your machine. We have one of the basic Gaggia ones.

Pop in Ice Cream Machine until smooth and frozen

Store in air tight tupperware container and serve however you see fit!

Voila! Finished watermelon sorbet!

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The German Cherry Strudel Cake – Kirschstreusel Kuchen

This is the gf’s favourite dessert nom. It’s delicious and fruity and it’s a wonderful centre piece for a dinner party! Here we made double, but I have given the ingredients for ONE cake. It should serve anything from 10-16 people depending on how you cut it!

120g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter

1 egg

350g plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1-2 bottles of sour cherries (I like sour ones, but get morello or whatever ones you like! I also substituted with blueberries, as I had some I needed to use!)

Firstly get the pastry made by sifting the flour and baking powder in to a bowl. Add softened butter, egg and sugar and mix thoroughly using a hand held mixer. If the pastry is still sticky add a little extra flour until it firms up.

Dough ready

Let the pastry rest in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.  (The picture above is two lots!)
De-stoned cherries

If you can, buy bottled pitted cherries – I bought ones that still had the stone in them and spent some time de-stoning them!

pastry/dough case

Roll out dough and spread over a 23-26cm tin, making sure to build a good solid wall up the side, this will hold the fruit and the juice mixture in place later – on reflection the wall I made here was a little thick.

gelatine cherry juice

Pop the cherry juice, left over from the bottled cherries into a pot and dissolve 1 sachet of gelatine (18-25g of powdered gelatine or one leaf of gealtine). The gelatine isn’t meant to make a jelly, but rather provide structure to the cake and prevent the strudel from collapsing in on the fruit! Heat fruit juice plus gelatine until boiling and then remove from heat, make sure to stir continuously!

Berries and CherriesFruit is evenly spread across the cake case.

Filling the case

Pour the gelatine-cherry juice mixture over the fruit evenly, making sure to fill all the gaps!

Then get the Streusel going by grabbing the remaining dough left over from making the case and pop it back in to another bowl. Add four tablespoons of flour to this, because it needs to be extra crumbly! [Germans at this point would normally add a little sachet of Vanillazucker, from Dr. Oetker or some other similar baking company] I add half a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a dessert spoon of icing sugar.  Crumble this mixture between your fingers until its like fine breadcrumbs, but still sticking in small clumps in places.

Drizzle over the juice covered fruit in the cases. There should be enough to not leave any gaps!

The streusel starts!

The streusel-ing continues

Bake in the preheated oven (175 Degrees celcius) for 50-60 minutes.
Baked to Perfection

Cut a slice and serve.

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