Summer Berries Pavlova

I know we were spoilt last week with the beautiful weather, but I’m sure it will be back again- maybe. I hope so anyway, on the strength of it all we toddled out and got a new BBQ. Obviously we then had to try it which leads on to one thing- alfresco eating.

I always think that summer puddings should be easy to prepare, not to heavy and a perfect way to end those outdoor get togethers. Enter my meringue it’s soft and mallow centre combined with a crisp outer shell is perfect for pavlovas and Eton mess alike. The only negative is the lack of oven use for anything else whilst it’s cooking and cooling. I mean it’s not really a negative- you could just make more meringues.

This pavlova is flavoured using the fabulous Sugar and Crumbs strawberry milkshake flavoured icing sugar. (This isn’t an ad- I just really love these, and they are free from nuts, dairy and gluten). It’s also pink, due to the request from the tiny human, i could not refuse.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 50g icing sugar ( mine was flavoured)
  • 1tsp corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Gel food colouring if needed

Method

  • Heat your oven to 120°c
  • In your mixer use the balloon whisk and whist the whites until they start to form soft peaks.
  • Gradually add the caster sugar 1 spoon at a time whilst the mixer is on a medium speed. Do not over beat
  • Sift in the icing sugar and cornflour and fold into you egg whites gently.
  • Add the food colouring and vinegar for a final beat with the mixer. If it’s ready the mixture will not fall out of the upturned bowl.
  • You can pipe the meringue into rounds or make one large pavlova it’s up to you.

Now with the baking I find ovens are temperamental things. My new one is definitely hotter than my previous one. I put the meringue in at 120° and bake for about an hour ( it was longer in the old over) after this time turn the cooker off and leave the meringue to completely cool in the oven.

When cooled whip some cream and pile those berries high. Then enjoy your efforts sat outside ( dodging the bugs) at the BBQ.

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Strawberry and Vanilla Cheesecake Gluten Free

I admit I’ve had strawberries on the brain this last week.  In my efforts on embracing the good life the vegetable plot is growing, and strawberries are one of this years projects.  My new plants are in, and we are waiting for them to grow.  However in the mean time, what better excuse for a free from cheesecake? Oh and we had a houseful for Mother’s Day and cheesecake is always a winner. Plus this is a no bake cheesecake so it’s easy to make as well. 

My error with this was that I personally think it would be better in an 8 inch tin, but I misplaced mine so the 9 inch had to be the tin of choice ( I don’t  think my guests noticed anyway). 

  

Ingredients 

Base

  • 250g biscuit I used gullon as they are nut free. You can click Here to buy them. 
  • 80g melted butter

Filling

  • 600g  full fat cream cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 200ml double cream 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence. 

Method

  • Crush the biscuits either in a bag with a rolling pin, or in a food processor
  • Add the melted butter and pulse until you have a damp rubble.
  • Press into the base of a spring closing cake tin and leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

  

  • For the filling whisk the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla together. 
  • I whisk the double cream separately until it forms stiff peaks. Then gently combine this with the cream cheese mixture. 
  • Put this on top of your biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge ideally overnight. 
  • I decorated with fresh strawberries and mini meringue kisses. 

  

  

Cherry Clafoutis Gluten Free 

I love cherries, I mean not just like them I LOVE cherries. They are my sweets of sorts.  So this recipe is great because is combines cherries and cherry brandy, awesome paring don’t you think. 

That and the new additions to the family, the chickens ( all 14 of them) are laying, so eggs are something I’m not short of.  I’m not complaining though, I did however complain when they scratched up my lettuce. 

This recipe is also so easy, although I’m not by any means claiming I invented it, it’s been around for years, originating from 19th century France I believe. However I’ve put a glutenfree tweak on it.  One more point, if your don’t like cherries, don’t worry use blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries instead.

   

Ingredients 

  • 400g halved and pitted cherries
  • 4 tbs cherry brandy or Kirsch 
  • 100 ml milk
  • 150 ml double cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or fresh vanilla ( one stick) 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 25g gluten free plain flour 

Method 

  • Preheat oven to 180c and grease a shallow flan dish. 
  • Soak your cherries in the kirsch. 
  • In a pan heat the milk, cream and vanilla. Heat yo almost boiling. 
  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together, and then add the flour, mixing until you have a smooth texture. 
  • Pour your milk into the egg mixture, mixing well to prevent lumps. 
  • Pour into your flan dish and place the cherries into the custard. 
  • Cook for 30-35 minutes until risen. 
  • Serve warm ( it’s better in my opinion) with cream. 

There you have it. Easy and delicious. Enjoy. 

Easy Frozen Dessert- Go Bananas

I can’t call this a recipe, it’s so easy. I also cannot and wouldn’t claim this to be my own invention. The yonanas machine uses this concept, as does every clean eating or free from blogger at some point I’m sure, however this is a great hack you need to know using the humble banana to make icecream. 

  
See it even looks like the real thing, but is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, soya free, vegetarian and vegan. 

So to make a basic banana icecream you need : 

1 food processor

2-3 frozen bananas 

A splash of any milk of your choice. 

Method

  •  Begin by freezing you bananas ( cut into smaller pieces first) for at least 2 hours.
  • Put into the food processor ( Nutribullets don’t work well for this). Pulse to break the banana down. 
  • Then keep blending. It goes through a few stages but when the banana looks like bread crumbs add the milk and turn on again. 
  • The rest is magic, eventually the mixture becomes smooth and the texture of icecream.  
  • I like to freeze for a few hours to harden the mixture up, but you can serve it straight away and have a soft, creamy ice cream type dessert. 

  
So there you have it, that’s the basic method, and then experiment with different flavours. Choc chips go really well, as do blueberries or strawberries. 

Strawberry Blancmange (Cleanish) 

Fingers crossed the weather is finally getting warmer ( I’m almost over my near miss with the frost attacked potatoes) so I figured that lighter, healthier desserts would be a great option. Oh and I’ve got this new super cute lolly mould that I wanted to try.


Now I know blancmange is a bit old school, but this works well in moulds for the little ones or layered in glasses for a pretty grown up dessert. I’ve also used coconut milk so this version is dairy free, but feel free to sub for regular milk if you prefer. And this version is a lot cleaner fir you as it’s also refined sugar free. I’ve tried it with no sugar at all, but it’s not good- very bland and hard to swallow in fact.

Ingredients (makes 6 strawberries) 

  • 5 gelatine leaves soaked for 5 minutes to soften 
  • 600g strawberries 
  • 2tsp agave nectar add more to suit your taste. 
  • 1 pint milk of choice ( I use coconut)
  • 1 heaped tbs cornflour 

Method 

  • Start by soaking the gelatine leaves in water to soften them.
  • Blend the strawberries in your blender/ nutribullet and then pass through a fine sieve or muslin cloth to remove the pips
  • Mix the cornflour with 2tbs of the milk and the agave to form a paste.
  • In a pan begin heating the milk and add the cornflour paste.
  • Bring to simmering point and then simmer for a few minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.  Stir the mixture constantly to prevent a lumpy mixture.
  • Add the gelatine leaves, and keep stirring until they have dissolved completely.
  • Take off the heat, let it cool a little and stir through about 150mls of the strawberry purée
  • Put into moulds, leave to cool to room temp, then put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours ( the longer left the better).

You can use variations for this recipe. For a dairy version use 250mls milk and 250 mls cream. Almond milk also works well in this pudding.  If you are using a natural sweetner do keep tasting until you get the desired sweetness, and maple is too strong a taste in my opinion. I’m yet to experiment with coconut sugar in this but will keep you posted.