Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake

New Year, new you? Do you set resolutions for yourself? If so do you manage to keep them? I’m not a great advocate of new year’s resolutions. Personally my thinking tends to be that change is more achievable when small goals are set. That way, if the small goal is not achieved, it is easier to pick up and start again. Rather than crashing into despair over something that was probably difficult to accomplish from the start. Diets are something I do not hold with, health reasons withstanding. Balance is everything, in life, as it is in cooking and eating. This Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake is packed full of fresh fruit. A delicious way of incorporating more fruit in our diets!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake packed with fresh fruit.

To be clear, I am not advocating that this cake is a ‘health food’. Rather, that anything homemade firstly, has to be better than a mass produced, long shelf life product and secondly, whilst cooking and baking, we become more aware of the ingredients that go into our food. That has to be a good thing, right?

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake perfect for sharing.

Because there is a large portion of fruit packed into this cake, it is extremely and deliciously moist. Perfect for slicing, wrapping and adding to a packed lunch. Yet equally enticing, shared with friends or neighbours over a mid morning cup of coffee. Since all food tastes better when shared, why not bake this cake and take it with you to work? Sharing does not have to be confined to our homes!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake blueberries burst to create jammy pods within the cake.

A quick note before making this cake: similar to Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes, the cake batter is made before grating and adding the apple. As a sweeter variety works best, unlike Granny Smith which is more acidic, this helps to ensure the apple browns as little as possible. Also, the skins were left on the apple quarters whilst grating. A small amount of peel will not affect the recipe, indeed the red flecks look quite attractive throughout the cake.

Recipe: Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake serves 8

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2.5tbsp Maple Syrup I use – Pure Maple

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Cinnamon

225g/8oz Grated Apple preferably a sweeter variety

125g/4.5oz Blueberries

75g/3oz Icing Sugar

2tbsp Maple Syrup

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C gas mark 3

First of all grease a 2lb loaf tin, 26cm x 12cm x 7cm (approx. 10″ x 5″ x 3″). Line the base with baking parchment.

  • Into a bowl sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt – dry ingredients. Set this to one side.
  • Next, in a large bowl add the softened butter, caster sugar and 2.5 tablespoons of maple syrup. Beat until pale and creamy. Rub the mixture between your finger and thumb, it should feel smooth. If it feels gritty continue mixing until the sugar is fully combined with the butter.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
  • Now add all 3 eggs and then the sieved, dry ingredients. Gently mix until just combined.
  • For the grated apple, firstly set a bowl on to digital scales. Cut one apple at a time into quarters, removing the core. Using a box grater, grate the apple, using the coarse grater, until only skin remains. Continue until the whole apple has been grated. Add the grated apple to the bowl on the scales, this will give you an idea of how much each grated apple yields.
  • Continue grating the apples, as before, until you have the desired weight.
  • Tip the grated apple and whole blueberries into the cake batter.
  • Fold the fruit into the batter using a spoon and taking care not to break up the blueberries.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface using the back of a spoon.
Ff Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Creating the delicious, fruit filled cake batter.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Once baked remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • When the cake is cooled, use a palette knife to run around between the cake and the inside of the tin, releasing any sticky bits.
  • Now turn the cake out on to a cooling rack and gently peel away the baking parchment.
  • Place the cooling rack over a clean baking tray.
  • Making the maple drizzle:
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Then add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and stir until the icing has a smooth consistency.
  • Use a spoon to drizzle the icing across the cake. Also encouraging the icing to drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Leave the cake to set.
FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Creating the drizzle effect on the cooled, baked cake.

While the icing is setting, put the kettle on and invite your neighbours round!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake full of flavour.

Since this delicious cake was made a little while ago, it is very tempting to jump through the screen and grab a slice!

Serve this cake sliced and with a smile. It will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. During warmer weather store in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake you may also enjoy these:

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Fresh fruit adds a delicious moistness to any cake. Also, these gluten free Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes can also be made using regular wheat flour. Also no difference could be detected in a blind taste test. Enticing, fruit filled cakes are a million miles away from dry, moisture sucking, mass produced alternatives that are readily available in the shops. Most of all, home baked cakes not only taste so good, their flavour is far superior to most bought cakes.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

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Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova

A very Happy New Year to all of my readers. May this coming year bring good health, peace, love, lots of fun and feasting. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for trusting the recipes that have lovingly been created to share with you. With that in mind I have a beautiful dessert recipe for you that is a complete knock-out. What better way to celebrate than with my Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova!

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova a refreshing dessert.

A delicious combination of textures and flavours. Starting with the crunchy meringue shell that hides a marshmallow innner, it is draped with thickened cream, topped with tumbling, assorted, fresh berries and drizzled with a tart raspberry coulis. Creating a tastebud sensation with each mouthful. This elegant dessert is light and yet fulfills that need for something sweet at the end of a meal.

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova perfect for a celebration.

Beautifully adorned with fresh, ripe berries, the sweetness of the pavlova is offset by the raspberry coulis. Quick and easy to make, it utterly transforms the finished dish. As well as adding to the aesthetic of this stunning pavlova. The coulis cuts through the richness of the cream, while providing balance against the sweetness of the dessert.

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova piled high with fresh fruit.

Pavlovas are not difficult to make, requiring only a whisk and patience. The reward they give, in return for effort, is almost embarrassing! Any cracks that develop are easily covered and the cream covered meringue can be topped with any fruit desired. Since the pavlova shell can be made up to 2 days in advance, they are perfect for entertaining.

This Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova was made to celebrate New Years Eve, which also happens to be the night before my hubby’s birthday. Using cake sparklers to add fun, fizz and sparkle, ensured this was no ordinary dessert. A fabulous celebration of the year passed and the new year to come.

Recipe: Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova serves 8

For the Pavlova:

4 Large Free Range Egg Whites at room temperature

1tsp Lemon Juice

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

1tsp White Wine Vinegar

1tsp Cornfour – certified gluten free I use Doves Farm

400ml Double Cream

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

450g/1lb Mixed Berries – I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries removing stalks and leaves as necessary

For the Coulis

200g/7oz Raspberries

1tbsp each of Fresh Lemon Juice and Tap Water

1tbsp Caster Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • First of all line a baking tray with baking parchment. Using pencil draw a 20cm/8″ circle on one side. Flip the paper over so that the pencil mark is underneath.
  • Next in a scrupulously clean large bowl add the 4 egg whites.
  • Whisk until they are light and airy. While whisking at medium speed gradually add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time. Continue whisking on high until the meringue is shiny and glossy. Rub a little of the mixture between your thumb  and forefinger, when it feels smooth and there are no signs of grittiness, the sugar is completely dissolved into the egg white.
  • Next, whilst still whisking, add the lemon juice, vinegar and cornflour. Continue whisking for a further minute.
  • Stop the whisk and using the beater, place 4 dots of meringue on to the baking tray. Place the parchment on top, the meringue acts like glue and will stop it from moving around.
  • Use a clean metal spoon to scoop the meringue on to the centre of the circle marked baking parchment.
  • Now use a pallet knife to spread the mixture evenly to form a disc, building up the sides so they are slightly raised.
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Creating the Pavlova shell.
  • Place the meringue into the centre of the oven and immediately reduced the heat to 160C/140C gas mark 3.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – DO NOT open the oven door whilst baking.
  • Once the baking time has elapsed the meringue then needs to cool slowly. This will help avoid cracking. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
  • Tip: it is handy to make the pavlova the night before it is needed, as it can cool overnight in the oven.
  • Making the Coulis:
  • While the meringue is cooling, tip the raspberries, lemon juice, water and sugar into a small saucepan.
  • Place the pan over a high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to mash the raspberries up. Once the mixture has bubbled to a boil, turn the heat off.
  • Strain the raspberry mixture into a heatproof bowl, through a sieve. Press the raspberries with a spoon to extract all of the juice. Set the bowl aside to cool.
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Making the Raspberry Coulis.
  • Assembling the Pavlova: Note assemble the Pavlova no more than 3 hours ahead for best results.
  • Place the cream into a bowl with the vanilla bean extract. Whisk until it just starts to thicken, but will still slowly drop from a spoon.
  • Peel the pavlova carefully away from the baking parchment. Place on a plate or cake stand.
  • Spoon over the thickened cream so that it fills the central well in the pavlova.
  • Add the prepared berries, arranging so they look attractive.
  • Finally, drizzle over the raspberry coulis, encouraging it to drip  down the sides of the Pavlova.
  • Serve the Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova sliced, with a smile and on special occasions a glass of bubbly!
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova sliced and ready to serve.

A delicious, refreshing dessert, that is a wonderfully light way to celebrate and makes a great change from cake.

Store any remaining Pavlova in the fridge and eat within 24 hours.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova you may also like these:

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Strawberry Eton Mess

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Strawberry Eton Mess

Pavolvas are extremely forgiving. However, if they should crack and crumble beyond repair, simply make an Eton Mess as pictured above or, alternatively make Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae.

Since this recipe can easily be made gluten free, it is a great way of providing dessert, without excluding people who have dietary restrictions. At Feasting is Fun the aim is to create recipes that more people can share and enjoy. On that note, from experience, when transporting this dessert, it is easier to take the separate components and assemble once there.

Whatever the past year held for you, my hope is that the coming year will be one of love, peace and reconciliation

Sammie xx

 

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Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes

National Apple Day was yesterday here in the U.K. Since we have two trees, groaning under the weight of their abundant harvest, in our back garden, an apple bake was a must. Recently having received a sample of Real Maple Syrup, the idea for these Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes formed. The finished result was better than I could have ever predicted.

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes perfectly complimenting flavours.

One apple tree produces Spartan apples. Tennis ball sized, shiny red apples that are deliciously crunchy and sweet. Yet the variety of the other apple tree is unknown. Because the apples have a sharper taste than the Spartans, similar to a slightly sweeter version of Granny Smiths in taste, yet with a red/green colouring. Fortunately, both apples are great for eating and cooking. Resulting in a combination of both being used for these cupcakes.

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes one bite and you lose yourself in a taste sensation.

Grating the apples into the cake batter ensured they didn’t brown too much. Unlike Granny Smith apples, both of the varieties I used brown easily when sliced/grated and exposed to the air. While the grated apple could have been tossed in some fresh lemon juice, which would have prevented discolouration, I didn’t want to do this for two reasons. First of all, the lemon flavour would have been present in the cupcakes, this could have overpowered the apple and frosting. Also, the lemon juice would have added moisture, resulting in a wetter batter, where the apple may not have kept it’s even distribution.

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes even better the next day!

Preparing the cake batter first and then adding the grated batter works really well. While ensuring that each cupcake has plenty of evenly distributed apple and a light, moist crumb. Without the maple syrup frosting, these could easily be served as muffins, in which case the addition of some toasted pecan or walnut pieces would bring added flavour and texture. Having tasted these cupcakes with the dreamy frosting I could not possibly eat them any other way now!

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes just a hint of cinnamon takes this to another level.

Maple syrup frosting. Just think on those words for a moment!

Initially I had worried that the addition of maple syrup to a buttercream frosting would result in a too sweet topping. Instead, the opposite happened, with the maple syrup adding a very slight smoky, creamy flavour. Resulting in the sweetness of the unflavoured frosting being dumbed down. As a result, the final flavour paired beautifully with the lightly spiced apple cupcake.

Recipe: Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes – makes 12

Cupcake Ingredients:

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

175g/6oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

1/8th tsp Salt – I use Maldon

3 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

1/2tsp Cinnamon

200g/7oz Grated Eating Apple – approximately 3-4 peeled apples

Frosting Ingredients:

250g/9oz Salted Butter very soft, ideally removed from the fridge the night before

500g/1lb 2oz Sifted Icing Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract

2tbsp Maple Syrup – use real maple syrup not maple syrup flavouring

1tbsp Very Hot Water from a recently boiled kettle

Extra Maple Syrup to drizzle over the finished cupcakes

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • First line a 12 hole deep muffin tin with tulip cupcake wrappers, or deep muffin cases.
  • Next in a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk/beat them together until they are very pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and all 3 eggs to the bowl. Whisk/beat briefly to partially mix the ingredients, without the risk of them curdling – no more than 30 seconds.
  • Now sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the bowl. Set the bowl to one side.
  • Working quickly, yet carefully, peel and grate 200 grams of apple.
  • Add the grated apple on top of the flour, in the large bowl and using a spoon mix all the ingredients together, until they are just combined.
  • Next, using a dessert spoon, place a heaped spoonful of cake batter into each of the cupcake wrappers. Finish by dividing any remaining batter between the twelve cases, so that they are all equally filled.
  • Finally place the tin in the middle of the preheated oven and bake the cupcakes for 25-35 minutes.
  • The cupcakes are baked when they spring back from a light touch. Use an inserted skewer to check if they are baked, if it comes out clean they are ready to remove from the oven.
  • Once baked remove the cupcakes from the oven and leave them in the tin to fully cool, regardless of which type of wrapper/case has been used.
FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
The stages of making the cupcake batter, through to filling and baking them.
  • Allow the cupcakes to fully cool before frosting them.

Making the Frosting and Decorating the Cupcakes:

  • First, add the very soft butter to a large bowl.
  • Then sift the icing sugar into the bowl.
  • Next add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and very hot water.
  • Finally whisk the ingredients, starting slowly and increasing in speed, until you have a smooth, creamy, light buttercream.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large star piping nozzle – Wilton #1M.
  • Fill the piping bag with the maple syrup frosting.
  • Starting in the centre of each cupcake pipe swirls, so that the entire top of the cupcake is covered and then, continue to pipe, bringing the tip back to the centre and finishing with a star, as the nozzle is pulled away.
  • Continue piping until each cupcake is generously topped with frosting.
  • To finish the decoration, drizzle approximately 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup on to the top of the frosting, allowing the drizzle to drip around the frosting swirls.
FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes ready to be served.

Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes a taste of Autumn in a cupcake!

 

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Fresh apple filled cupcakes topped with whipped maple syrup buttercream.                            

 

Baking these cupcakes certainly makes the most of seasonal fruit. Since there are plenty of apples freely available I will be making again. Another reason to bake them is also so they can be shared. While none of our friends or neighbours expect deliveries of cake, it is an extra special way of sharing our abundance of apples, which are also given away.

 

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes you may also like these:

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Autumn Almond Apple Cake gluten free

Crazy Caramel Carrot Cake

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Crazy Caramel Carrot Cake

Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

FF Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Because I find baking and cooking relaxing, creating new recipes can also be very rewarding. Firstly as a personal achievement and also because of the pleasure my baking brings to others. Faces full of pleasure as they bite into a delicious treat, big smiles when a friend receives a birthday bake and gracious thanks from a busy, tired family upon receipt of a homemade lasagne. Life is for sharing and if my small contribution encourages others to do the same, well then, this blog, Feasting is Fun, will have served its purpose.

Do you share your makes and bakes?

Sammie xx

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Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream

Such an elegantly beautiful dessert to look at my Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream has a grown up, smooth blueberry flavour, layered with subtle, but definite flavours that come from the added Bloom Gin.

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream such a vivid colour.

The blueberries in this ice cream are very gently cooked with a little sugar, so as not to lose their distinct flavour. Wonderfully floral, a splash of Bloom Gin not only adds to the delightful, fruity flavour, it compliments the sweetness of the blueberries.

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream elegantly served in martini glasses.

After freezing, which can dull some flavours, the vivid purple Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream comes alive on the palette. As the blueberries are left whole, the ice cream has a texture, not dissimilar to rum and raisin, which I absolutely adore. The blueberries providing interest against the smooth, silky ice cream.

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream a feast for the eyes.

I use a ice cream maker to make this ice cream, because the churning action stops such a large volume of fruit creating large ice crystals. Similar to champagne, where the smaller the bubbles, the creamier the champagne tastes, in ice cream making, the smaller the ice crystals the smoother the finished ice cream.

Recipe: Makes 1L Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream

300ml/ 1/2pt Double Cream

300ml/ 1/2pt Milk – Whole or Semi Skimmed

1/2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Egg – freeze the whites for up to 1 month

1tsp Corn Flour

5tbsp Caster Sugar

300g Fresh Blueberries

1tbsp Caster Sugar

1tbsp Tap Water

2tbsp Bloom Gin

Method: Ensure the freezing compartment/bowl of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer overnight, or according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: For step by step instructions with photographs, on how to make the ice cream base please see Very Vanilla Ice Cream.

  • Place the blueberries in a small saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of both sugar and water. Place over a medium heat and cook until the blueberries just start to burst, giving up their precious juice. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the contents to a bowl. Allow to cool and then add 2 tablespoons of Bloom Gin. Set to one side.
FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Note how deeply pink the cooked blueberries look here.
  • Making the ice cream base:
  • Into a large heavy bottomed saucepan add both the milk and cream. Place over a medium heat and cook until scalding point is reached – this is the point before the liquid boils. Small bubbles will appear around the edge of the cream mixture, once scalding point is reached remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a large, heatproof bowl, add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and corn flour.
  • Whisk the eggs until they are pale and creamy.
  • With the whisk still running on slow gently pour the hot cream mixture into the whipped eggs. Whisk until well combined.
  • Tip the ice cream base back into the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Pour the hot custard through a sieve into a heatproof bowl – I usually quickly wash up and dry the original bowl I’ve used.
  • Place cling film directly on top of the custard, this will stop a skin from forming.
  • Allow the custard to cool a little on the worktop and then transfer both it and the prepared blueberries to the fridge to chill.
  • When both are chilled assemble your ice cream maker, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Pour the blueberry mixture into the cold custard ice cream base and stir.
  • Tranfer the Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream mixture to a large jug.
  • With the machine switched on (in my case) pour the ice cream mixture into the churning ice cream maker.
  • Churn until the ice cream is softly frozen – about 20 minutes.
  • Switch of the machine, remove the paddle and scoop the softly frozen ice cream into a freezer proof tub.
FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream, churned and ready for the freezer.
  • Clip on a tight fitting lid and place in the freezer to firm up. Ideally it should be left for 6 hours or overnight, depending on the ambient temperature.

To serve, remove the Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream from the freezer 15 minutes prior to scooping. This will allow the ice cream to soften slightly. Although there is a small addition of alcohol it is not enough to affect the freezing of this ice cream.

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream a delightful dessert to finish a dinner party with.

This stunning looking ice cream looks elegant scooped into martini glasses.

Perhaps served with a glass of Bloom Gin, tonic water and 3 blueberries, over ice?

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream the perfect balance of flavours.

Unusual, unique and utterly delicious, this delightful ice cream needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream you may also like these:

Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream.

Gin and Tonic Strawberry Sorbet

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Gin and Tonic Strawberry Sorbet – Bloom Gin was used in this recipe.

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple ice Cream.

There are other iced recipes on here, like my Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet . When you put your mind to it there are endless flavour combinations availed to you if you own an ice cream maker. I prefer not to be limited by what’s available in store.

If you do make this Blueberry Bloom Ice Cream, please use Bloom Gin. It simply will not taste the same with other gins. The floral honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo botanicals, used in the art of distilling Bloom Gin, balance with this ice cream perfectly.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, as you prepare a feast, have fun. Food and drink should be enjoyed with good company.

Sammie xx

I was provided with some Bloom Gin for the purposes of a review. All opinions, views, content and photography are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup

I came up with the idea of making a Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup, that could be used as a mixer in drinks, or to provide a base for a sorbet!

This Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup is so easy and quick and adds a crazy amount of fresh strawberry flavour to whatever you add it too.

FF Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup.
Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup used here in a delicious sorbet.

This Strawberry Sorbet with Gin and Tonic is an elegant adult dessert, that is also very refreshing, see Franklin’s Drinks Review

Recipe: Makes 300ml Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup

400g Strawberries

300g Sugar

500ml Water

Method:

  • Remove the green hull and cut the strawberries in halves or quarters, depending how big they are.
  • Place the strawberries into a large, heavy based saucepan and cover with water.
  • Add the sugar and place the saucepan on a high heat.
FF Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup
Gorgeous ruby red strawberries.
  • Allow the strawberries to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.
  • Cook the strawberries for a further 20 minutes until the volume is almost halved.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Line a sieve with muslin cloth or kitchen towels (ones that won’t disintegrate – like Plenty) and place on top of a large bowl.
  • Pour the strawberry mixture through the sieve.
  • IMPORTANT – do not push or stir the mixture in the sieve, this will cause it to become cloudy, we want a beautiful, clear, red rose coloured syrup.
FF Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup
Allow the juice to naturally drip through to the bowl.
  • When all the juice has dripped through, remove the sieve from the bowl. The strawberries are very tasty as a breakfast topping to plain yoghurt.
  • Pour the beautifully clear, red liquid into a jug.
FF Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup
Beautifully clear Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup.

Store the Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup in a bottle with a lid, in the fridge.

Enjoy the beautiful, intense flavour of strawberries in this syrup.

Sammie xx

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Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

The smell of Summer. Sun tan lotion, seaside air and luscious seasonal fruits. Ok, I accept that the fruits in this Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet are not necessarily grown in this country, although they are cheaper and more readily available during the summer.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so good.

Making your own Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet is so worth it. Forget about the adverts telling you that ‘you’re worth it’ this is a delicious, good for you treat, that tastes of fruit heaven!

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet will make your tastebuds come alive!

The marriage between the flavours will make your tastebuds sing in harmony.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet a delicious alternative to ice cream.

There are a couple of steps needed to prepare the fruit for this sorbet, but they are absolutely worth it to extract every drop of flavour from the fruit.

Once the fruit is prepped it is then cooked for a short time. This breaks down the pineapple and separates the passionfruit seeds from their surrounding juice. The cooked fruit mixture is then sieved, to remove the very crunchy seeds. A quick whizz with an immersion blender, or liquidiser, cool and your sorbet is ready to be churned.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so worth making.

This sorbet tastes of Summer. Light, intensely fruity, sweet – but not overly so and with a colour to brighten the dullest of days.

A light dessert or a delightful palette cleanser between courses for a more formal meal.

The mangos I bought for this recipe spent a few days on our sunny lounge window ledge ripening up, in fact they were warm when I prepared them. The passionfruit were smooth skinned when bought and ripened to a prune-like wrinkling of the skin. To test if a pineapple is ripe I suggest smelling it. If it smells of pineapple then it’s ripe.

Recipe: Makes 1L Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

6 Passion Fruit

2 Large Mango

1 Medium Pineapple

400mls Water

100g/4oz Sugar

Optional – see note at the end – Orange Blossom Water 1/4tsp – I suggest Nielsen-Massey

Method: Ensure the frozen compartment of your ice cream maker has been in the deep freeze overnight or according to manufacturers instructions.

  • Scoop the contents of the 6 passion fruit into a large heavy based saucepan. Squeezing the empty skins to ensure every drop of precious juice is used.
  • Next prepare the mangos. Cut down either side of the central stone, you will have three pieces. Take a fleshy side of the mango and score into three pieces using a sharp knife. With the blade flat to the skin, run the knife along each third, releasing a long slither of juicy, ripe mango. Repeat for the other side. Place the mango slices into the saucepan. Hold the central flesh and skin covered stone over the saucepan and squeeze as hard as you can. Scrape all of the pulp and juice from your hand into the pan.
  • Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the green spiky top and the flat base. Cut the pineapple into half and then divide each half into 3 sections. Cut down the outside of the central hard core – it will be the point of the pineapple. As with the mango, lay the blade flat between the fruit and the skin and slice to separate the two. Chop the pineapple into large chunks and add to the saucepan. Squeeze the skin and the hard core pieces over the saucepan to extracte as much juice as possible.
  • Pour the water over the fruit.
  • Add the sugar and turn the heat on to high under the pan.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
  • Once the contents of the pan have started to bubble reduce the heat to medium, keep an eye on the fruit to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
  • Continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove a spoonful of liquid from the saucepan, allow to cool and taste. The flavour should be pure fruit, not watered down and not super sweet – just as if you had eaten a slice of ripe mango. If the flavour is a little weak, continue cooking for a further 10 minutes and taste again.
  • When you are happy with the tropical fruit flavour, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Place a sieve over a large bowl.
  • Carefully pour the hot fruit mixture into the bowl through the sieve.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
This is going to become the most Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet.
  • Using a strong dessert spoon press all of the fruit through the sieve. Occasionally clearing the underside of the sieve with a clean spoon, so that all the fruit pulp and juice goes into the bowl below.
  • This takes about 10 minutes to get it to this stage.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Pips and pulp left in the sieve, all the flavour is in the bowl.
  • I did taste the remaining pulp and although crunchy it was pretty flavourless, that said you could still have it swirled through yoghurt for breakfast.
  • If you have an immersion blender or liquidiser, blend the resulting lumpy liquid until velvety smooth.
  • Place the bowl on a trivet, to aid cooling air circulation and cover with a net food tent, or cling film to stop flies having a taste!
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet.
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet cooling.
  • Allow the sorbet liquid to cool and then place in the fridge to chill.
  • Once chilled set up your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Transfer the sorbet liquid to a jug, this makes pouring the liquid into the frozen chamber much easier.
  • With the machine churning pour the sorbet liquid into the ice cream maker and churn until slushy like.
  • Stop the machine, remove the paddle and scoop/pour the slushy mixture into a freezer proof, resealable tub.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so full of fruity flavour.
  • Pop the lid on and place in the deep freeze, generally I leave ice creams and sorbets overnight, until frozen through.

To serve, remove the sorbet from the freezer 15-20 minutes to allow to soften slightly.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet the perfect way to end a meal.

For me, this is the perfect dessert after a hot spicy meal such as a curry or my Chunky Chilli. The cool, fruity sorbet, soothing on your tastebuds.

This is the perfect sorbet to make if you happen upon marked down fruit in the market or shops. It will keep for 3 months in the deep freeze and brighten a dull Winter’s day.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for my Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet here are some others you may also like:

Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

 

I love creating, experimenting, tasting and testing different recipes. If you love mangos but aren’t a fan of pineapple, add more mango and leave the pineapple out.

Being allergic to oranges, means I always have to double check when I buy anything labelled ‘tropical’. Making my own Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet means I know exactly what has gone into it. By all means adjust the sugar quantity if your fruit is sweeter, or riper. That’s why it is important to taste the liquid from the pan, remembering all the flavours will be dulled slightly by the freezing process.

I hope I have inspired you to get creative in your kitchens. Cooking should be fun. Combining flavours, adding a little something here or there, I hope that you take my recipes, try them and then change them to suit your tastes. I very much suspect a drop or two of orange blossom water would work very well in this recipe. But then I’ll never know 😉

Sammie xx

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Union Jack Sponge Cake

This Union Jack Sponge Cake may be one of the simplest recipes I have made and yet it is also one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made.

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Union Jack Sponge Cake bursting with fresh berry flavours.

A light vanilla sponge base, covered and piped with freshly whipped cream and decorated with strawberries and blueberries. A final sprinkling of glitter sets this cake off.

Why bake a flag cake?

On Twitter there is a community run by two fabulous, fun women, called @SundayBakeClub, they were recently featured in the Telegraph. Each week they pick a different theme that challenges bakers to express their creativity, try news skills, but mostly have fun! Last Sunday’s theme was #GirlPower. So the Spice Girls and our longest reigning monarch were my inspiration.

A Union Jack Sponge Cake idea was born.

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Union Jack Sponge Cake with pretty piped cream edges.

To be completely honest my original idea was to make a cheesecake with a Union Jack design on it, however, I woke up on Sunday with a cracking migraine. I resigned myself initially to not being able to take part.

Later in the day the pain eased enough for me to get a sponge base made and baked. Back came the pain. Back I went to bed!

After a couple of hours I was able to get up and decorate the cake. I am really pleased that I saw this bake through. You have no idea how many times I start something, only for me to be too unwell to complete, or photograph the results. So on this occasion #GirlPower really did prevail.

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Union Jack Flag Cake my lunch portion the following day!

I love how the Sunday Bake Club is a community of bakers who inspire and help each other. The main focus is to encourage people to get baking and stretch those who already bake often. The environment is completely non competitive, although the ‘Best Bits’ are chosen, by the organisers and posted on to their Blog. Bakers may then vote for their favourite and the ‘winner’ is awarded a virtual golden spoon.

A few weeks ago I was very fortunate to be awarded a golden spoon for my Hazelnut Raspberry Vacherin, I promise to write it up and post it on here soon. It has three tiers of hazelnut meringue with whipped cream, raspberries and toasted hazelnuts in between and on top. It was a real technical challenge for me

Back to the Union Jack Sponge Cake, you will need a 20cm x 28cm x 5cm (8″ x 11″ x 2″) Swiss roll tin to bake this flag cake.

Recipe: Union Jack Flag Cake serves 12

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature – plus an extra tablespoon for greasing the tin

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Plain White Flour – plus an extra tablespoon for dusting the tin

2tsp Baking Powder

400ml Double Cream

300g Fresh Blueberries

400g Fresh Strawberries

1tsp Caster Sugar

Optional – edible glitter

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

  • Using the extra tablespoon of butter thoroughly grease the Swiss roll tin.
  • Next add one tablespoon of flour and tip it around the tin until the inside of the tin is completely coated. Tip any excess away into the bin.
  • In a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.
  • Whisk/beat together until pale and creamy.
  • Add 1tsp vanilla bean paste, all four eggs and the flour.
  • Whisk/beat slowly until everything is just combined. Finish mixing using a spatula or spoon to ensure all the ingredients are combined – be careful not to over mix as your cake will not be light.
  • Tip the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth out so that it fills each corner and is even.
FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Delicious light vanilla cake batter ready for the oven.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • The sponge is baked when it is golden and springs back from a light touch.
  • Once baked remove the tin from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Beautifully golden baked sponge.
  • Run a palette knife around the edge of the cake and then tip the sponge out on to a cooling rack.
  • Allow the sponge to cool completely before decorating.
  • As I didn’t have a board large enough for this cake, I placed it on to some baking parchment and then back on to the cooling rack to decorate.

Decorating the Union Jack Sponge Cake:

  • Place the cold fresh cream, 1tsp of caster sugar and 1tsp of vanilla bean paste into a bowl.
  • Whisk until the cream just holds a stiff peak.
  • Place half of the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Secure the bag and place in the fridge – it was an extremely hot summer’s day when I made this cake, so I had to work quickly!
  • Spread the other half of the whipped cream on to the surface of the cake, using a palette knife to achieve a flat even finish. You DO NOT need to cover the sides in cream.
  • Hull and slice the strawberries. Wash and dry the blueberries, sorting through them as you dry them to remove any stalks or over ripe berries.
  • Have a picture of the Union Jack flag in front of you. By all means use my cake as a reference, but a picture is more accurate.
  • Start by forming the central red cross using sliced strawberries.
  • Cut some of the strawberry slices in half. Angle these into the cream to create the X shaped cross.
FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
The Union Jack Sponge Cake is starting to take shape.
  • Use the blueberries to fill in the triangles ensuring there is a gap of plain cream to represent the white lines of the flag.
  • Now pipe stars around the outside. I first piped around the bottom edge of the cake and then again around the top edge. It gives the cake a beautiful finish.
  • If like me you like a few sparkles, sprinkle over some edible glitter to complete your Union Jack Sponge Cake!
FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Union Jack Sponge Cake perfectly pretty and very tasty.

I popped the whole cake, uncovered, into the bottom of the fridge for an hour before serving. It helped the cream set and cooled the cake down. As I mentioned I baked and decorated this cake on a very, very hot day.

If the temperature isn’t melting everything in sight this Union Jack Sponge Cake is fine to serve as soon as it has been decorated. Cut into squares, or slice down the centre and serve as slices.

This cake kept exceptionally well, in an airtight tin for 5 days in the fridge. It remained light and fresh and is simply one of the best cakes to enjoy with a cup of tea!

If you have enjoyed this Union Jack Sponge Cake recipe, here are some others you may like:

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake simply delicious.

Loveliest Lemon Curd Cake

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Lemon Curd Cake so tangy and refreshing.

Black Forest Giant Doughnut

FF Union Jack Sponge Cake
Black Forest Giant Doughnut with a hint of kirsch.

The baking community on Twitter are very encouraging and supportive, as well as a constant source of inspiration for me. Everyone shares and seeing as how I’m that kind of person, I fit in well!

Whatever time of year you make this cake, use whatever seasonal berries are available. I bet it would taste wonderful with raspberries and blackberries!

Thank you for all of your comments both here and on Twitter. I love hearing and seeing what you are making in your kitchens. You are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to me too.

Sammie xx

 

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Franklins Fruity Summer Drink

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink a delicious, refreshing drink packed full of fruit and flavour. Alcohol free this fun drink is perfect for picnics, parties, barbecues and summer gatherings!

Summer is almost here. In fact a few days ago I was convinced it had arrived early, but the weather was just teasing us Brits! During the brief, sunny, warm spell I created a fantastically fruity, refreshing tipple bursting with Summer flavour. Have a glass of Franklins Fruity Summer Drink on me!

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink the perfect tipple for enjoying outdoors.
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink the perfect tipple for enjoying outdoors.

Bursting with flavour, Dandelion and Burdock gives this fabulous drink wonderful spicey base notes, lifted by the slightly sour Scicillian Lemon Tonic and  sweetened by juicy, ripe, British strawberries.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink is incredibly easy to make, using nothing more than fresh fruit and Franklin & Sons soft drinks.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink refreshing and alcohol free, this drink can be enjoyed any time of the day or night!!
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink refreshing and alcohol free, this drink can be enjoyed any time of the day or night!!

You may recognise this drink as looking incredibly similar to a well known British summer tipple?

That was the idea! To create a non alcoholic version of a very traditional summer drink, associated with Wimbledon, picnics, summer parties and Polo matches, held across our beautiful, British Isles.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink is perfect for those who want to have fun, yet cannot, or choose not to drink alcohol.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink packed with fresh fruit and ice.
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink packed with fresh fruit and ice.

I love a glass of something wonderfully refreshing, clinking with ice and full of flavour, whilst sitting in the garden or attending a family barbecue on a hot, summery day.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink is incredibly thirst quenching, delicious and so pretty to look at too!

The addition of fresh mint is not used simply for garnish. It’s fresh, clean flavour works so well with the fruit and Franklin’s soft drinks combination, to lift this from a great summer drink to a must have Summer drink.

Make this once and you will have friends and family begging you for the recipe!

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink making the most of our British Summer.
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink making the most of our British Summer.

Whilst arranging a party with family and friends, no longer will it be –

“Who is bringing the beer, wine, and oh we should probably get something in for the drivers?” the first question on everyone’s lips will be –

“Who’s bringing the Franklin’s?”

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink it's simple not a summer party without a jug of Franklin's fun.
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink it’s simply not a summer party without a jug of Franklin’s fun.

 

Recipe: Makes approximately 1 litre Franklins Fruity Summer Drink

300g British Strawberries

1tbsp Caster Sugar

275 ml 1 x Franklin’s Bottle Dandelion and Burdock

600ml 3 x Franklin’s Sicilian Lemon Tonic

200ml 1 x Franklin’s Tonic Water

Ice cubes

1 of each Lemon, Lime, Orange

1/2 Cucumber

Handful of Mint leaves  – plus extra to garnish

Method:

  • Hull and quarter the fresh strawberries and place in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours (if they are prepped earlier then cover the bowl in cling film and pop in the fridge for up to 8 hours).
  • Note: Having made Franklins Fruit Summer Drink twice, I would suggest assembling the drink at least 15 minutes before serving. This gives the mint and fruits time to release their oils/juices and really give the drink a fuller flavour.
  • Slice all of the citrus fruits, halving if very large.
  • Slice the cucumber and cut each slice in half.
  • Fill a large jug 1/4 full with ice cubes.
  • Add half of the sliced citrus fruit, cucumber and strawberries to the jug.
  • Pour in the bottle of Dandelion and Burdock, 2 bottles of Sicillian Lemon Tonic and Tonic Water.
  • Stir with a long spoon (sundae spoons are great).
  • Take a hanful of mint leaves and gently scrunch them up in your hand. This will help them to release their wonderful oils.
  • Add the mint leaves to the jug and give a final stir.
  • Top up with extra Sicilian Lemon Tonic, strawberries and citrus/cucumber slices, until the jug is almost completely full.
  • We are going for a look of abundance here, this is a party in a jug after all!!!
  • Allow the drink to sit for 15 minutes. If possible double up on the quantities and keep a ready made jug in the fridge
  • To serve, pour the Franklins Fruity Summer Drink into tall, highball glasses, ensuring each glass receives a generous serving of fruit. Top each drink with a sprig of mint and serve with a smile 😉
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink serve with sunshine, good company and great food.
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink serve with sunshine, good company and great food.

I love sparkling water, with ice and a slice of lemon, yet I have become completely hooked on Franklins Fruity Summer Drink. I think it’s because it is not sickly sweet, like some soft drinks can be.

When I found out that Franklin & Son Ltd. made Dandelion and Burdock, THE drink of my childhood I was uncontrollably excited and yes it tastes just as good as it did back when I was a nipper!

Everyone who has tried Franklins Fruity Summer Drink has loved it and some have mistaken it for another well known, alcoholic summer drink! What is great about this drink, is that those who do not drink alcohol can still have a glass full of refreshing, thirst quenching liquid that will have the ‘drinkers’ begging for a taste.

I love the odd glass of champagne at special occasions, yet due to my medication, I really cannot drink alcohol, apart from the odd sip. Finally I have created a drink that allows me and others to party with the best, instead of sitting on the sidelines nursing a super sweet warm cola.

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink is THE drink of Summer 2016.

Whatever your plans make sure you have a freezer full of ice, fresh fruit in the fridge and a case or two of Franklins soft drinks, ready to create the ultimate summer party in a glass!

Top Tip: If you are going on a picnic, place some  plastic still water bottles in the freezer over night. Pack the sliced fruit and strawberries into plastic containers. Pack the frozen water bottles around the Franklin soft drink bottles. Pop some mint into a plastic jug with a lid and remember to pack plastic glasses. Assemble as above, pouring away (or drinking) any defrosted water and then using a heavy implement to break up the ice in the plastic bottles (cricket bats are good!).

You now have the drink of this Summer wherever you go – beach, park, woods, anywhere!

Franklins Fruity Summer Drink serve this and you will be the hostess with the mostest!
Franklins Fruity Summer Drink serve this and you will be the hostess with the mostest!

Here’s looking forward to a Summer filled with fun, feasting, family, friends and Franklins Fruity Summer Drink.

Sammie xx

Franklin & Sons Ltd.  provided me with the drinks for this post. All opinions, views and content are my ow. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake

Summer is near, not that you’d know it, with certain parts of the country blanketed in snow and with it heralds the start of the soft fruit season. I do like all fruit, but soft fruits are my favourites; strawberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums, as well as many others. To celebrate this I have made this utterly divine Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake.

Strawberry Chocolate C\heesecake
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake the perfect no bake dessert.

No bake cheesecakes are incredibly easy to put together. So whether you’re an experienced home cook, or just starting out, I can guarantee that you can make this Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake.

All you need, aside from the ingredients is a 10″ (25cm) springform cake pan.

Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake
A slice of delicious Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake?

Oh yes please!!

As promised, I am making a conscious effort to include more desserts on Feasting is Fun. I have been making cheesecakes for many years and the recipe has adapted over time. When I was younger I would whip vanilla angel delight into mascarpone and single cream. It makes an utterly delicious cheesecake, however, I can no longer find angel delight in the shops.

This has been a good thing! As good as the cheesecake of years passed was, this Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake is better!

Whipping melted chocolate into cream cheese and cream gives this cheesecake a wonderful lightness. This Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake is perfect to serve at any time, however, it is beautifully light after a large Sunday Roast Dinner like my Redcurrant Glazed Roast Lamb.

Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake a delightfully light dessert.

One of the most important parts of a cheesecake to me, is the crust. I don’t want some flimsy – can barely hold it together, low carb nonsense – I need a thick, crunchy base, that is delicious and contributes to the cheesecake as a whole. Digestive biscuits are the answer! Not too finely broken up either. A few small chunks makes for incredible texture against the smoothness of the softly whipped cream cheese and cream.

Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake ooh look at this layer – delicious!

The crunchy, crumbly, golden base also gives this Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake a very slight, salty hit. Not as salty as pretzels, just enough to balance out the sweet tang of the chocolate cheesecake that covers it. To conclude, this cheesecake is more than the sum of it’s individual parts. Eating a little of each layer together will give your taste buds a flavour party like never before!

Before we start, I should mention that there are a few hours chilling in the fridge required, so it’s best to plan for that. If this cheesecake is needed for the same day, start the base in the morning, if you have a little more warning, I suggest making the base the night before. Actual time spent hands on making this cheesecake is very little, but it’s worth knowing about the chilling times before you start.

Recipe: Makes one Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake serves 8-10

300g/11oz Digestive Biscuits – Graham Crackers can be used as an alternative

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

560g/2 tubs Philadelphia Cream Cheese

600ml/1 pint Double Cream

2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate – at least 35% Cocoa – or use plain chocolate if you want a richer chocolate flavour

1tsp Caster Sugar

10 Strawberries – or more

1tsp Icing Sugar to finish

Method: Line the base of a 10″ – 25cm Springform Pan with aluminium foil.

  • Place the digestive biscuits into a freezer bag and whack with a rolling pin until they are almost completely broken up. You can also you a food processor to blitz them, I’m just too lazy to get it out for a few biscuits 😉.
  • In a medium sized saucepan gently melt the butter. Note: if you melt the butter too fast it could spit and burn you, also the butter may burn. I have learnt this from experience!
  • Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter.
  • Stir well, ensuring all the biscuit crumbs are covered in melted butter.
  • Tip the butter slicked biscuit crumbs into your foil line springform pan.
  • Press the biscuit crumbs into a uniform layer using the back of a metal spoon.
  • Cover the pan with cling film and place into the fridge to chill and set the biscuit layer – I actually made the base the night before – a couple of hours should be sufficient to set the base.
  • Once the base has set the cheesecake layer can be made.
  • Break or chop up the chocolate and place into a heatproof microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap for 30 seconds at a time stirring in between. When almost melted remove from the microwave and keep stirring until completely melted. Set the chocolate to one side.
  • Into a large bowl add the cream cheese, 200mls of double cream and 1tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Whisk until light and creamy – approx 3 minutes.
  • Next, whist whisking add the melted chocolate to the cheesecake mix – it helps if you have someone to hold the whisk whilst you add the chocolate, alternatively add the chocolate in thirds, whisking well after each addition.
  • Spoon the chocolate cheesecake mix on to the biscuit base. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake
Once you have smoothed the top of the cheesecake lick the spoon!!
  • Cover the pan with cling film and pop back into the fridge for an 2 hours. This allows the chocolate to set the cheesecake layer. The cheesecake layer does not set to a firm consistency, rather it is able to hold its shape and support the whipped cream a strawberries on top.
  • When set and ready to decorate, run a palette knife that has been dipped in very hot water, between the pan and the cheesecake. Place the springform pan on to a large can (of beans or whatever you have in the cupboard) and release the spring latch. Allow the sides of the pan to drop down.
  • Place the cheesecake – still on the foil covered pan base – on to a cake stand or serving plate. Note: I have never successfully transferred an entire cheesecake off of its base, so I cover the base in foil to protect it from knife marks and keep the cheesecake on the pan base!
  • Into a large bowl add the remaining 400mls of double cream, 1tsp vanilla extract and 1tsp of caster sugar. Whisk until the cream holds its shape.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large star tip – I use Wilton #1M.
  • Fill the piping bag with the whipped cream.
  • Pipe swirl roses – start piping the letter e and continue round – around the outside edge of the cheesecake. Fill in the empty spaces with simple piped stars.
  • Place a strawberry on each of the piped swirls – I removed the green stalks for these – and place three strawberries, with their stems still on, in the centre of the cheesecake.
  • Dust the Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake with icing sugar – I use a clean tea strainer – and serve.
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake
Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake a fantastically easy, yet sensational dessert.

How enticing does this Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake look?

It is said that we eat with our eyes first. Well this is certainly a feast to be gazed upon – and then eaten 😉.

This cheesecake travels well too. Simply prepare the cheesecake without the whipped cream and strawberries, take to your destination and complete the decoration there!

Once fully decorated this cheesecake is best eaten straight away, although it will keep for up to two days wrapped in cling film, or stored in an airtight container, and placed in the fridge.

Cheesecake for breakfast anyone??

I hope that you have enjoyed this Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake recipe, here are some others you may like too:

 

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

FF Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

 

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

 

Strawberries and Cream Cake

FF Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Strawberries and Cream Cake

 

Thank you for all your lovely comments, please keep them coming I love reading your views on what I am posting. Again it is wonderful to see so many of you cooking and baking my recipes and popping a photo on Twitter or Instagram. I always feel genuinely honoured that you have chosen to make one of my recipes.

I am working hard to balance Feasting is Fun with a few more savoury recipes. Is there anything you would particularly like to see more of on here?

Have fun making and baking in your kitchens and enjoying the memories that you are making whilst feasting together with friends and family.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

 

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Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Standing in the garden yesterday, face lifted up to the sky, the sun warming me through, gave me hope. Winter has passed Spring is here and warm, sunshine filled days will be more frequent and very welcomed. When the sun starts to really warm me, there is one thing I am inspired to make – welcome to my Very Vanilla Ice Cream.

FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream smooth and creamy.

When the tinkling sounds of the ice cream van fill the air, I know it is time to make one of the Summer’s greatest pleasures, ice cream.

There is absolutely a place for ice cream vans, 99’s and ice cream vendors on the beach. Gosh, on a hot day where would we be without them?

Homemade ice cream is a wonderfully indulgent pleasure. I have made very many flavours over the years, seeing as this is the first ice cream recipe to be posted here, I decided to show you how to make the best Very Vanilla Ice Cream.

FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream how do you like yours?

So simple to make, with only a little forward planning required. There are plenty of no churn ice cream recipes on the Internet – Pinterest is a great place to look. Whilst some of them are reasonably good, buying an ice cream maker and churning your own ice cream results in a far smoother, silkier ice cream. Having just had a quick look on Amazon  they have a good selection of ice cream makers for under £30.

How about an ice cream maker as a present for Dad on Father’s Day?

I have tried making ice cream by hand, where you take it out of the freezer every so often and mix it with a fork. No matter how well I followed the recipe instructions my ice cream always ended up with large water crystals and wasn’t ever smooth or creamy.

Since being given an ice cream maker a few years ago, making ice cream is no longer a chore but a pleasure.

FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream squished into a cone – delicious!

Many years ago, when i was in my early 20’s, a friend and I went Inter Railing across Europe. Aside from the beautiful sights and unique experiences we shared, I have one very prominent memory. Of ice cream!!

Not any ice cream, a beautiful hazelnut ice cream eaten in Germany. For years and years I longed to taste that delighful ice cream again. Then when I started making my own ice cream I found a way to make it and it tastes just how I remember. More on that in an upcoming post.

That’s the beauty of making your own ice cream, playing with flavours and textures, creating your own little ice cream parlor!

Recipe: Makes approx 750ml Very Vanilla Ice Cream

300ml Double Cream

300ml Whole Milk

6 tbsp Caster Sugar

4 Free Range Egg Yolks

2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 tsp Corn Flour

Scant pinch of salt (less than 1/4 tsp)

Method: Ensure the freezing part of the ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

  • Place the cream, milk and vanilla bean paste into a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornflour to a large heatproof bowl. Whisk until pale and creamy.
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are very pale and creamy.
  • The milk/cream needs to reach scalding point. This is when little bubbles appear around the edge of the liquid.
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Bring the milk up to scalding point, see the bubbles around the saucepan edge?
  • When the milk/cream has reached scalding point remove the pan from the heat.
  • Whilst whisking the egg mixture, pour the hot milk/cream into the bowl – do not stop whisking.
  • Once combined tip the custard mixture back into the same saucepan, cooking over a low heat and constantly stirring, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
See how the cooked custard coats the back of the spoon.
  • Place a sieve over a clean, heatproof bowl and pour the custard into the bowl, through the sieve.
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Look how beautifully smooth the ice cream custard is.
  • Place cling film directly over the top of the custard so that is touches it. This will prevent a skin from forming.
  • Allow to cool and then place into the fridge to chill.
  • Set your ice cream maker up according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • Remove the cling film, stir the custard and pour into a jug.
  • Pour the custard into the ice cream maker (for mine it has to already be churning – check your instructions).
  • Churn the Very Vanilla Ice Cream until it is a thickened yet soft ice cream.
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream ready for the freezer.
  • Stop the ice cream maker and scoop out the Very Vanilla Ice Cream into a freezer-proof plastic tub.
  • Place the tub into the freezer and leave until solid.
  • As this ice cream has no artificial softening additives, to serve it is best left out of the freezer for 15 minutes. Then scoop away!!!
FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream silky and creamy.

This utterly delicious ice cream is perfect with warm apple pie, brownies, in a cookie sandwich or my favourite – just scooped into a cone.

FF Very Vanilla Ice Cream
Very Vanilla Ice Cream delicious in an ice cream cookie sandwich.

This ice cream goes particularly well with the Caramac Caramel Cookies that I made the other day.

Making my own ice cream at home has opened up a whole realm of possibilities flavour wise. Textures play a part too, crunchy, syrupy, ooh the possibilities. Watch out for lots more ice cream recipes and I will also have a try at making sorbets, so incredibly refreshing in the heat of Summer.

Yes I am hopeful that we will have a good Summer this year!

Recently I came across some photographs of me as a toddler, eating my very first ice cream on the beach. I obviously had great taste from an early age!

Do you have memories of long, hot Summers and waiting for the familiar sound of the ice cream van?

Here a few recipes that I think will pair beautifully with this Very Vanilla Ice Cream:

Rolo Chocolate Cookies

FF Rolo Chocolate Cookies
Rolo Chocolate Cookies

Vanilla Bean Waffles

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Vanilla Bean Waffles – ooh so good with ice cream.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies

FF Macadamia Nut Brownies
Warm Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies served with a scoop of ice cream.

Thank you so much for all of you comments, please keep them coming. I’m loving the photos that you are putting up on Twitter and Instagram, it’s brilliant seeing everyones makes and bakes.

Whatever you are feasting on, enjoy, have fun and share. You’ll be surprised at how many people you make smile!

Sammie xx

TOP TIP: You will have 4 egg whites left over from this recipe. These can be frozen for upto one month – I generally freeze mine in bags of 2 whites.

To use – remove from freezer and allow to defrost and reach room temperature, they can then be used to make meringues like my Lemony Strwaberry Pavlova.

FF Lemony Strawberry Pavlova
Lemony Strawberry Pavlova so light and refreshing.
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