Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Six Simple Strawberry Dishes

Inspired by this gorgeous photo of my daughter's first strawberry crop this year- I thought it was time to think about ways of using up all those luscious red summer fruits that are starting to fill the shops, roadside stalls and PYOs.

After all, it is the Chelsea Flower Show this week, Wimbledon is just around the corner and all those other milestones of an English summer are appearing on the horizon. (Even if the central heating is still on and the rain is lashing down outside!)

So, I've put together 6 recipes to make the most of a punnet of strawberries.

With strawberries, just fresh as they are with some cream is usually the best way- but to pretty them up a bit ( and make them go a bit further ) try making a tartare.

Strawberry and Basil Tartare

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Fresh Ideas

I'd like to say that life is getting back to normal here, after our French adventure, but what with one thing and another, it just hasn't.
However, it's definitely time to restock with some fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Even reading last month's blog back to myself leaves me with a feeling of Vitamin C deficiency!

So, this time I'm giving you some soup recipes, some starters, vegetable sides and a meat and fish dish with the aim of offering you a more balanced diet than last time.

To start, I've made an Asparagus Charlotte. This is a pretty little starter, featuring a smoked mackerel mousse surrounded by a guard of honour of new season asparagus tips. Very cheffy-looking- but simple to achieve.

Asparagus Charlotte

Slow Braised Fennel
As I mentioned, I intended serving this fennel with fish. I chose firm white fish fillets (cod or hake) and placed them on baking parchment with a splash of white wine and some chopped parsley. I then sealed the parcels up like Cornish pasties, twisting the paper together to form a seal.

Wrapping up the fish parcels

Bake in a hot oven (180 degrees) for 20-25 minutes. Then lift out the fish pieces and spread each one with some olive tapenade. Top that with some breadcrumbs and finely chopped chive or spring onion and flash under a hot grill until crisp.

Serve with the fennel and other veg of your choice. (I usually bake some tomatoes on the vine along with the fish)
Tapenade Crusted Fish
Finally, with the leftover fennel I made another soup: 1 onion and 1 clove of garlic softened, 3 small potatoes (chopped), fennel slices, orange juice, chicken stock and parsley- simmered and then blitzed.
I usually sieve the finished soup to remove any fibrous bits of fennel or potato skin, add a little milk or cream and serve garnished with the fennel fronds which were saved as a garnish.

Cream of Fennel Soup
So, all in all I feel a bit healthier now. Lots of nice spring veg and fresh meat and fish working their magic.

I thought coming back to the UK, I'd find myself fresh out of ideas for the blog- but it seems the opposite is true!

Hope this week's blog has refreshed the parts that other blogs didn't reach..