Tag Archives: strawberry

Strawberry Fields Forever Part 2 aka Strawberries Gangland Style

I have some weird little strips of paper in my “recipes to be made” folder.  They are not so much recipes as hints, maybe even whispers of things to make.  I have no idea where they came from – they are numbered and printed so I presume from a list of some sort.   Anyway, each of these is an absolute gem, if a little vague.

Take for instance, strip #58.

“Hull and quarter some strawberries; at the last minute, combine with a little chopped tarragon, black pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Goat’s cheese is good too”

That’s all folks.

I had strawberries galore (huh, sounds a bit like the name of a Bond girl), I had tarragon, black pepper and balsamic…

Ingredients for Strawberry Tarragon Salad

Ingredients for Strawberry Tarragon Salad

I know it’s only just over a week into the year but I strongly believe this salad will be one of my top ten finds of the year.

This was soooooo good.  The sweet strawberries, the aniseedy tarragon, the sticky sweet sour balsamic and the warming zing of pepper are…mindblowingly awesome!

I neither hulled nor quartered my strawberries…who can be bothered following so many steps in a recipe…

Strawberry, Tarragon, Black Pepper, Balsamic Salad

Strawberry, Tarragon, Black Pepper, Balsamic Salad

The recipe suggests that goat’s cheese would not go astray here.  I didn’t have any (why would I? I didn’t have sugar.  Why on earth would I have goat’s cheese?) but I mixed up some sour cream and mascarpone and dobbed that on and it was delicious.  Goat’s cheese would be amazing.  I also would like to try blue cheese.

Strawberry Tarragon Salad with Mascapone

The vinegar that the strawberries soaked in went all thick and syrupy and took on a pinkish tinge from the strawberry juice.  I siphoned this back into a small bottle for later use as it seemed too good to throw out.

Strawberry Balsamic

Strawberry Balsamic

And speaking of awesome, my White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo for Mark’s birthday?  Amazing!!! Another good contender for top ten for the year.  I hope I haven’t peaked early!

I used this recipe from a Delicious Magazine:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/6801/strawberry+cheesecake+semifreddo

with the addition of White Chocolate into both the base and the filling.

Why white chocolate?

I was leafing through one of my favourite food books, Niki Sengit’s Flavour Thesaurus to see if she had anything to say about strawberries and tarragon (she doesn’t, although there is a section on strawberries and anise).  This book is a must have for any serious foodie and even the not so serious ones as some of the entires are hilarious!

Flavour Thesaurus

Flavour Thesaurus

Niki has the following to say about strawberries and white chocolate:

“In fancy chocolate shops, I sometimes see slabs of white chocolate spattered with clots of freeze dried strawberry, like stucco after a shoot out.  White chocolate makes for a better combination with strawberry than milk or dark because, like strawberry and gangland comparisons, it’s a little cheesy”

I couldn’t resist.  So I bought a family block of white chocolate and melted half into the biscuit base and half into the filling.  It was sensational.  And just right for a birthday celebration on a hot night.  We had dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant then came home for some bubbly and the semifreddo.  It was a delightful way to end a lovely day!

And in honour of Niki, and with a slight nod to the K-pops, but mostly because  White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo is too much of a mouthful, from now on, in this house at least, it will be known as Semifreddo Gangland Style.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo aka Semifreddo Gangland Style
Happy birthday darling!
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Retro Food for Modern Times – Strawberry Fields Forever, Part 1

Let me take you down ‘cos I’m going to...

…my local green grocer where they are currently selling trays of strawberries for $6.  My sincere apologies to John Lennon for that absolute travesty but just in case you are not utterly awestruck by this, let me reiterate.  A tray of strawberries for $6.   That’s 16 punnets.  For $6 dollars. The world may have not ended on December 21st but it has surely gone mad! 

Strawberries

How do farmers make any money when the (literal) fruit of their labour is being sold off at about 40 cents a punnet?

Maybe because the week before Christmas punnets of strawberries were selling for $4 each!

I know,  it’s not the farmers, it’s the wholesalers and the grocery shop owners and all the people in between who add their mark up.  The farmers probably got paid the same for the $4 strawberries as they did for the 40 cent strawberries.

My joy at my bargain buy lasted until I had to carry, not only all of my regular fruit and veggies,  but an additional four kilos of strawberries,  from the shop to my car.  By the time I reached the car (it was a hot day and I had parked some distance away from the shop to get a spot in the shade), I’d stopped thinking “I’m the best shopper in the world! ” and “I’m in berry heaven” to “What  on earth am I going to do with four kilos of strawberries?”  and  “How can four kilos of strawberries actually weigh a ton?”. 

Strawberries Waiting To Be Sorted

Strawberries Waiting To Be Sorted

My first task, on getting home, was to sort the strawberries – a few in each punnet were overripe and were starting to get a bit manky.   The perfect  ones went into a colander and the fridge for eating.  We have been feasting on these all week.

The  almost perfect berries went into a bag and into the freezer whole.  I puréed the somewhat bruised berries and placed them in 6 containers in the freezer where they will be great for smoothies, muffins, etc later in the year. Finally, my kitchen helpers, Oscar and Lulu, were on hand to dispose of the fourth group being the few badly bruised  berries that were left.

Oscar

Oscar

Lulu

Lulu

We have been eating  strawberries all week – by the handful whenever we feel a bit peckish;  for dessert with cream (Mark) and ice cream (me) and for breakfast with mango and vanilla yogurt:

Strawberry, Mango and Vanilla Yogurt Breakfast

Strawberry, Mango and Vanilla Yogurt Breakfast

I have started making a strawberry liqueur based on the link below with some tweaks inspired by other recipes, most notably, I am putting the sugar in from the start.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/06/homemade-strawberry-liqueur-recipe.html

 I searched high and low for tarragon yesterday; I went to three greengrocers and I could not find it  for love or money.  I decided to use basil instead.


Strawberry Basil Liqueur

Strawberry Basil Liqueur

 I was so excited about making the liqueur and trying to track down the tarragon, that I completely forgot to check the other ingredients.  I knew I had strawberries, I had vodka.  I was searching for tarragon.  And who particularly someone who bakes regularly, doesn’t have caster sugar?  Me apparently.  Grrr… Such a newbie mistake!!!

So today, I ducked into the supermarket to pick up the caster sugar and found piles of tarragon.  As I had another recipe for tarragon and strawberries I was aching to try, I bought a bunch and pulled the basil out of my would be liqueur and popped in the tarragon and sugar.   All the sugar sank to the bottom and when I tipped it upside down to mix it in, it made these drippy pale pink stalactite type things that looked awesome!  The mixture is also already a fabulous pink colour. And it’s only Day 2.  Imagine Day 30.

Strawberry Tarragon Liqueur

Strawberry Tarragon Liqueur

It’s Mark’s birthday tomorrow and the temperature is set to soar.  Baking in my tiny kitchen when it’s anything above 30 degrees outside  is not something I relish.  So, I’ve decided that he will get a White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Semifreddo in lieu of a traditional birthday cake. I’m aiming for quirky but cool.  We’ll see how that works out.  I also need to get busy making it.  Which means that my strawberry and tarragon salad recipe will have to wait until the next post.

On a more sombre note, and speaking of temperatures soaring, many parts of Australia are currently experiencing devastating bushfires and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones, homes and belongings in this tragedy and to the brave people, many of whom are volunteers, who are so valiantly fighting the fires. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Retro Food For Modern Times: Three Sweet Treats inspired by a Luscious Liqueur

I was recently strolling around my local purveyor of fine alcoholic beverages (or as we like to call  it, our second home) when a retro looking bottle caught my eye.   A very glamorous  Elke Sommer looking woman is being draped in a fur coat by a man who looks like a  1970’s tennis player or a porn star (possibly both).  The label promised  “an experience of elegance and lingering pleasure” which only further reinforced the boom chicka wah wah soundtrack that was going through my head.  The name: Kellermeister Sable.  According to the back of the bottle, Sable is a

“base of  ruby tawny into which we have steeped dark German Chocolate, special spices and three year old brandy”

You know those moments when Homer Simpson goes into the donut fugue state?  I think I lapsed into something very similar.  Standing there mumbling to myself  “Ruby Tawny…dark chocolate….special spices….brandy…ruby tawny…..”  Ruby Tawny may well become the name of my first-born child.  I hope it’s a girl.

The bottle, in all it’s gorgeous  retroness did give me pause though.  I honestly wasn’t sure if it was meant to be retro chic.  Or it just came from South Australia.  If anyone from South Australia wants to dispute the implication of this statement  I suggest they first go and count the people with mullets walking down Rundle Mall.  They can lodge their complaints when they have a number less than ten.  

Ok, we may have lost South Australia forever so the rest of us might as well get on with it.    Sable is meant to be retro chic and forms part of the Kellermeister Retro Range which includes this and two Moscatos which I am very keen to try.  One is called Pink Minx.  This may become the name of my second born child. Again, a girl would be good.

The Sable is great on it’s own as a little tipple – rich, silky, porty, chocolatey loveliness in a glass.  If I was prone to swooning I would.  However, as I do not live in a Jane Austen novel  I will remain upright and advise that this is utterly delicious and is likely to become a staple on my drinks trolley for some time to come!  This will be my go to product for those days when you just want a little something sweet and lovely after dinner! Or mid afternoon….or…you know…whenever….

The loveliness of the Sable does not stop with drinking though.  It is equally good in food.

I’ve now made three recipes with it and they were all gorgeous (even if I do say so myself).  If you cannot get Sable, your liqueur of choice can be substituted in all of these.

First up was a Raspberry Meringue Roulade  which I adapted from a Bill Granger recipe.

Raspberry Meringue Roulade

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Raspberry Roulade and a glass of Sable – a lovely afternoon tea tipple

I then made a Strawberry and Mango Zagablione where I used the Sable instead of marsala.   This tasted divine!   The zabaglione was also lovely swirled into some plain yoghurt the following day.

Finally, I used some Sable  in my version of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Chocolate and Caramel Tart. I adapted the original recipe as I am not that good with pastry and I used a bought caramel.  This is a truly decadent recipe and tastes like heaven!  My only word of caution is give yourself plenty of time to make this.  I started mid afternoon.  I added the final layer at midnight.  This takes a LONG time to make as you have to let each layer chill before adding  the next one.  It is worth it though as this is absolutely delicious!

I love the ombre effect of the four layers!

If you really want to make your own pastry and caramel, the original recipe can be found here:

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/chocolate_and_caramel_tart.htm

Enjoy!