Tag Archives: strawberries

Roast Courgettes and Tomatoes

Roasted Courgettes and Tomatoes (0653)I am feeling better today, enough to be able to sit for a while at my desk editing a bunch of photos accumulated on my camera during March. There were quite a few and thought I would post one of my favourites. I have been absent from C&T and have missed blogging a lot. I find myself constantly thinking about how I can improve my writing and perhaps upping the frequency of posting new content. My cooking style is simple, the simpler the better, for various reasons. I don’t like to send people browsing for strange ingredients which are hard to source. The litmus test for this is myself. If I can’t find something at my local supermarket/grocery shop I discard the recipe. Running all over the place for a handful of ingredients is not my thing. So I try to find ways to make easy-to-find ingredients as interesting as possible.
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White Chocolate and Strawberry Muffins

White Chocolate and Strawberry Muffins (0218)

I cannot really remember the day I baked these lovely goodies. Most probably it was sometime around mid-June, but somehow I never managed to write about them until now. Things recently have been busy and complicated, and now I’m dealing with grief. I wish the temperatures were still in the decent 20s. Celcius that is. It would have been easier to bake because I know that being in the kitchen often is good for me. If you set aside the eating part, which is something I love most obviously, the act of measuring out the ingredients, putting them all together and waiting patiently for the result takes away a big load of stress and anxiety which unfortunately has lately become part of my life. I am still cooking, well, somewhat; I don’t really know if making myself a green salad is actually cooking but baking is another matter and it’s what I like to do best.

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Broad Bean Risotto

Broad Bean Risotto (8030)

When I woke up this morning I kept reminding myself that it’s Thursday (not Sunday) and a public holiday on the rock. It’s not as quiet as one might hope, and to type this I had to close the window in my study. It’s easy to focus now and I *am* calm. Which brings me to a recipe made best when you have a good thirty minutes of peace. So tell your partner in life to babysit the kids and the pets for a little while and spend some time in the kitchen with me.

Broad Bean Risotto (8029)

One of the things I love about Malta is the fruit and veggie trucks you see dotted around the many towns and villages on the island. I love going to the one near to where I grew up in Birkirkara. I love visiting my mum too which goes without saying and of course, going there brings back good memories. I have been meaning to post the following recipe and the above photo for ages so here it is. It’s starting to get warmer here now and we’re already finding plenty of spring and summer produce. I’m finding good quality strawberries too which I macerate in lemon juice, some sugar and pepper too. Delicious.

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Some fruity photos, a little chat and a strawberry and banana milkshake.

Smoothie (7913)

So I have some time to myself on this lovely Sunday morning and thought I would drop a few lines. This week has been quite a hectic one. What made it worse was another little round of the flu. It’s easing a bit now all due to some rest I had yesterday. J wasn’t feeling too good either and after a bowl of minestra (the Maltese version of minestrone) we had a delightful movie afternoon. My feather blanket and hot water bottle became my best friends. I still managed to bake chocolate cookies *just got up and having one right now*. The Sun’s out today and that makes me happy. (Is Spring around the corner?)

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Raspberry Eton Mess

Eastern Mess (9625)

This week is turning out to be a good one, which considering the circumstances of the previous weeks and days, this in my eyes is quite an achievement. One of the highlights is that I managed some baking. Big whoop you say. Well for me it is. The real kind of baking – the one where I creamed sugar and butter, and mixed in eggs and flour. Not all baking has to be like that mind you, and I sure am a massive advocate for simple bakes. (I have such a great recipe coming your way in the coming weeks which is the personification of simplicity. Watch out for that. Hint: you’ll get so many brownie points if you make it for your friends, you wouldn’t believe.) Baking makes me feel cozy and makes the environment more familiar. I need that in my life right now. It’s as though I’m making friends with my old kitchen again. Not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

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Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge (9267)

So I promised you a second cake recipe today and I wasn’t going to back down. A promise is a promise. I confess that it wasn’t a difficult task for me, especially this week. I’ll be having a break for my birthday this weekend and as per tradition I am baking a double treat: two cakes or any two sweet other things for that matter. Forget the pitiful attempt at making this sponge way back when I was still new at this blogging thing. This is the recipe you want, and which I will repeat tomorrow.

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Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry fools

Strawberry Fool (7433)Strawberry Fool (7401)I know that Wimbledon season doesn’t necessarily mean strawberry season for some. It’s not as if we have been on an exclusive strawberry diet for the past ten days! I just have to reserve a place for them in my kitchen right now. At one time I had so many I just didn’t know what to do with them. For a change I couldn’t bother with a gazillion recipes this year, so I just went to one lady for advice, the incredible Deb Perelman. I cannot think of any foodie who doesn’t know the name Smitten Kitchen. I have been a fan of this blog for a long time and goodness knows how many times I have visited for some much needed inspiration. It also makes a good read and the photos look great.

Books (6967)Now I finally have the book. I have been so looking forward to holding it in my hands that I did a little dance when it arrived in the post. It’s been around for quite some time so I had to get cooking to try to keep up. So I went ahead and made Deb’s strawberry cheesecake fools. I never made a cheesecake before, neither a fool for that matter, though I know of many, so this recipe was a good place to start. It seemed simple enough (this positive outlook changed by the end of the process though) and having done something similar before I thought I would give them a shot, and here they are. I modified slightly the method, the way it worked for me. I thought I would insert the photos as we go along; it helped me break down the method and I hope this will help you too.

Strawberry Fool (7400)Strawberry Fool (7406)Strawberry Fool (7409)Strawberry Fool (7411)Strawberry Fool (7418)Strawberry Fool (7421)Strawberry mixture:

  • 450g strawberries (give or take a few grams)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the fruit mixture, wash, hull and cut the strawberries into quarters or half if they are smallish in size. Put them in a heavy-based medium to large saucepan, together with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Give them a stir and let them stand for around 15 minutes, gently mixing them once in a while.

Turn on the hob to medium heat and let the strawberries simmer. Cook for not more than 3 minutes. Take them off the heat, put them in a bowl and let them cool for a while before covering and putting them in the fridge to chill well, for around 2 hours.

Strain the strawberry mixture using a sieve over a small bowl to collect some of the juice. You will need 50ml for later*.

Strawberry Fool (7423)

Strawberry Fool (7425)

Sugar cookie crumble:

  • 60g digestive biscuits (5 to 6 – just eyeball it, you’ll be fine)
  • 30g soft light brown sugar
  • pinch or two of cinnamon

To prepare the cookie crumb mixture, put the digestive biscuits, brown sugar and cinnamon into a food processor and grind. If you prefer you can also topple the ingredients into a freezer bag and bash them with a meat pounder or a rolling pin. Whatever works for you!

Strawberry Fool (7427)

Strawberry Fool (7430)

Strawberry Fool (7431)Whipped cream cheese:

  • 175ml whipping cream
  • 170g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 25g sugar
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the creams, in a large bowl mix well the soft cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla extract, until smooth. Remove around 100ml of this cheese mixture and set aside. In another bowl beat the whipping cream with an electric beater till you get stiff peaks. Remember the reserved 50ml of that glorious strawberry juice?* It’s now time to fold it gently into the larger amount of the cheese and cream mixture.

For the assemblage, you need roughly 6 x 100ml tall glasses, (though my mixture had a mind of its own and increased by, oh I don’t know…a lot! So I used assorted ones and even a couple of ramekins.) Start layering like so: 1 tablespoon of the strawberry mixture, 1 tablespoon of the biscuit crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the pink cream cheese mixture, 1 tablespoon crumbs and 1 tablespoon of strawberry mixture. Repeat the process and top the glasses with the remaining white cream and frankly whatever’s left.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and eat. They will also keep for 3 days, if preparing ahead.

Strawberry Fool (7436)The kitchen will be a mess by the end of it…well, mine was anyway, and it was a little bit of a faff. I don’t know whether I would want to make this again. If I ever do it’s because it tastes so darn good! Perhaps next time I could forget the fancy pink cream cheese mixture and keep it white. No need to reserve any strawberry juices then. It will probably be soggy but I wouldn’t mind. It will look pretty anyway, and by the end of the process the whole thing (or rather one *cough* portion) will be gone! Enjoy the tennis and have a great weekend!

Rob xx