Tag Archives: strawberries

All I wanted was a sandwich

I had reason to visit the “big smoke” earlier this week. And by 2 o’clock was ready to throw in the towel at transporting myself around the city.

My GPS was being a know it all, bringing me routes even the most accomplished of Dublin taxi drivers may have hesitated at.

Mind you, I say that quietly for fear she (as in my trusty GPS) may just down tools and leave me stranded here. Forever.

Having made my way to more familiar territory I decided food was a good idea, to rest the leg, rest the head and appease the stomach.

The Martello Tower in Sandycove

The Martello Tower in Sandycove

Essentially all I wanted was a sandwich, on good bread. With fresh fillings. And maybe a cup of tea. But it was not to be. Everywhere I looked at disappointed. I knew arriving at the later end of lunch was dodgy anywhere, and I really didn’t want to just have something pre-made. Sigh.

There must be an opening for someone making good ham sandwiches????

The outside of Fallon and Byrne in the People's Park, Dun Laoghaire

The outside of Fallon and Byrne in the People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire

But decided then to try Fallon & Byrne in the People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire. Catering for both the sandwich wanter, and the wanter of something more- it was the chance to try someone else’s elderflower cordial that swung it.  As they are my favourite, and right bang in season, the Broadbean risotto was a goer.  And without question it was up there with risotto’s I’ve had in Italy.

Pea and Broad Bean Risotto

Pea and Broad Bean Risotto

The staff were exceptionally nice, and very helpful and chatty, a special mention to David,  my server, who made my feel very welcome considering I was by myself.

 

Trying the sourdough and the tomato bread

Trying the sourdough and the tomato bread

And then who was I to refuse dessert?  Especially Wexford Strawberries.

Wexford Strawberries, with crème patisserie

Wexford Strawberries, with crème patisserie

The setting is lovely, and I would imagine even better on a warm sunny day.  And although on the pricier end of lunch, the quality and flavours of my food made me savour every bite.

My view from my Table

My view from my Table

And as the saying is back in vogue- I will be back.

Strawberries- part deux

And the quest to make every possible strawberry dish continues.  At this stage it’s jam time. And strawberry jam goes with just about everything.  And bears no resemblance to the shop bought variety, even if the first batches can lack consistency, no pun intended!

The finished product

The finished product

Shop bought strawberries are often grown hydroponically, and for some reason they have less pectin, resulting in a runnier jam.  So use sure-set if you need to, half and half is probably best.

In it's natural environment!

In it’s natural environment!

My next favourite recipe, which requires a little planning is mini strawberry tarts.  Perfectly proportioned, these little beauties are best fresh and cold, and unlike most desserts, go equally well with both a cup of tea and a glass of champagne.

A strawberry tea party

A strawberry tea party

Credit at this stage must go to my willing team of helpers (and tasters) who rescued me as I frantically tried to get the shoot set up outside before the sun went in behind a cloud.They get paid well in food- don’t worry!

the food photography helpers

the food photography helpers

And for my nephews third birthday- a chocolate fudge cake filled with cream- and strawberries.  He even managed to sneak a few off the cake before anyone else got to it.

A birthday cake fit for a three year old

A birthday cake fit for a three year old

 

The time is now

The first strawberries from our tunnel

The first strawberries from our tunnel

After we’ve carefully picked the “tunnel” strawberries, the “outside” strawberries come thick and fast.  There is genuinely nothing like them.  They all seem to ripen at once, and it’s just aswell the children are on school holidays, as the weeding requires slave labour of epic proportions.

But the result is this….

Strawberry gateaux

Strawberry gateaux

And this recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream that I came across some years ago.

Strawberries, fresh from the garden

Strawberries, fresh from the garden

Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

225g fresh Strawberries, hulled and chopped

18oml Milk

135g caster Sugar

250ml Cream

1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of salt

Method

Pulse the strawberries in a food processor until roughly chopped or finely chop by them by hand.  How you chop (fine or coarse) depends on your preference, but large pieces simply freeze and are not the best for the teeth! . Reserve in a bowl.

Strawberries for pulsing

Strawberries for pulsing

In another bowl whisk to combine the milk, sugar, vanilla and salt until the sugar is dissolved.

Milk, sugar and vanilla

Milk, sugar and vanilla

Stir in the cream.

Stir in the strawberries with all their juices. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Looks awful at this stage

Looks awful at this stage!

Next day, churn in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturers instructions.  Then enjoy- delicious!

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

“You stand out like a strawberry in a bowl of peas”

My grandmother always said this to me, and I remember often putting s strawberry in the bowl of peas I had just shelled with her to see what I looked like!

The first strawberries from our tunnel

The first strawberries from our tunnel

This week saw us picking the first of the strawberries from our tunnel.  Mind you the outside patch is coming on.  And before we know it we’ll be knee deep in strawberry jam/ soup/ cake/ buns/ tart….

And that’s a good thing.  But at this present moment in time, our strawberries are very precious, and a little “unique” in terms of colour and shape.  So for the two cakes I was making, I decided to buy some Irish Strawberries, (Keelings- not sponsored- promise!).

Strawberry cake prep

Strawberry cake prep

Both cakes were similar in flavour and composition,

Strawberry cake with cheesecake filling

Strawberry cake with cheesecake filling

except one had a chocolate top.

Strawberry Cake, with a ganache top

Strawberry Cake, with a ganache top

Get your orders in quick…..

Going... Going....

Going… Going….

My Strawberry Cake- Summer is coming.. isn’t it??

I love strawberries, they’re a sure sign for me that soon I’ll be eating lots of fruit (with cream obviously) and salads and beans and peas… I could go on and on.  I wanted to make a cake for a group of friends this evening that would keep for the day, and still be soft and inviting tonight and easy to cut.  I struggle sometimes to find an appealing recipe that DOESN’T contain chocolate.  This one definitely fits the bill.  This recipe is based on Lisa Faulkner’s Fantasy Cake.

Summer is starting today!

Summer is starting today!

175g soft butter,

150g caster sugar

150g plain flour, sifted

1 1/5 tsps baking powder

2 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

100g ground almonds

1 teaspoon almond essence

200g strawberries,  quartered depending on size,

75g  raspberries

icing sugar, for dusting

 

1 Heat the oven to 160oC, grease and line a 23 cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

2 Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then add in the flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, ground almonds and almond essence and mix well. Stir in 75% of the fruit.

3 Pour the mixture into the cake tin and put the remaining handful of fruit on top of the cake.

4 Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hours. Test with a skewer.

5 Leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack to cool and dust with icing sugar before serving.

6 Lovely served with a cup of tea on a sunny day, or just a cup of tea.