Category: Desserts

Strawberry Whip

Today we’re whipping it, whipping it..kind of mediocre  as we stroll down Avenue Q of The A-Z of Cooking (1977).  Quick Desserts is the chapter and Strawberry Whip is the verse.

Strawberry Whip1

I’ll give The A-Z this.  The Strawberry Whip is quick to make.  However, I’m going to come right out and say it.  This was not for me.  But surprisingly not for the reason I thought it would.  The strawberry whip is a cross between a milkshake and an ice cream, kind of like a thickshake. 

I am not a milk drinker. 

Even as a child, a glass of milk would make me  gag.  So, I fiddled with the recipe provided by The A-Z because there was no way I could have faced it.  I halved the milk and doubled the ice cream.  I left out the ice cubes.

Strawberry Whip4

And I still had to give it up after about three mouthfuls.  Not for the reason I thought I might which was the milky strawberry mix.  No, it was because my first mouthful was of straight whipped cream and that was me gone.  I KNOW!  What kind of freak doesn’t like whipped cream?  This kind of freak apparently.. . And I semi-defy anyone to eat a whole mouthful of whipped cream and enjoy it.  Oh?  You did?  And you liked it?  You’ll LOVE the strawberry whip then!

Strawberry Whip1

However, whilst we’re bitching about it?  Don’t even bother with the brandy.  I felt it was a bit redundant to add vanilla to vanilla ice cream so
I used the brandy.  I couldn’t taste it at all.  My recommendation would be to save your booze (and your vanilla) for when it counts. 

Strawberry Whip3

Strawberry Whip3That’s all folks, we’re done with Q.  But before we hit R, the bunny cometh, and to celebrate I made bread.  It was good.  Really good.

Next time…

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Choc Ripple Christmas Wreath

Still looking for a quick and easy dessert to make for Christmas Day?  Look no further than my Chocolate Ripple Christmas Wreath!  It’s also as pretty as a picture and delicious to  boot!

Choc Ripple Christmas WreathMaking this could not be easier.  Get a pack of plain chocolate biscuits, whip up some cream.  Add a hefty splash of booze – I chose amaretto but you could use limoncello or Baileys or Kirsch, whatever you have or like.  Add a large spoonful of icing sugar into the cream and stir through.

Then sandwich your biscuits together with the cream mixture and shape into a wreath. 

Choc Ripple Christmas Wreath2Don’t worry too much about getting the shape perfect at first.  Once you have the general shape you can push the biscuits together to make a neater circle.  Then cover the top and sides with the remaining cream mixture.

Choc Ripple Christmas Wreath3Pop this into the fridge for a few hours to set.  Then decorate – I used cherries, blueberries, strawberries and mint leaves.

Choc Ripple Christmas WreathWow!  Has anyone else felt that 2016 was a tumultuous year?  I am so glad to be coming to the end of it.  I am exhausted and looking forward to the break.  No work for me until 6 January so I have a lot of time for some much required r&r.

Choc Ripple Christmas Wreath
A quick, easy and delicious festive dessert.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pack plain chocolate biscuits
  2. 500ml thickened cream
  3. 1 tbsp icing sugar
  4. 1 tbsp Amaretto or liqueur of your choice
  5. Cherries, berries and mint leaves to decorate
Instructions
  1. Pour the cream into a large bowl and beat until firm peaks form. Add the Amaretto and icing sugar and fold through.
  2. Spread each biscuit with approximately 2 teaspoons of the cream and sandwich together. Form into a wreath shape.
  3. Cover with the remaining cream and place in the fridge to set for four hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, garnish with cherries, berries and mint leaves.
Adapted from Woolworth's Christmas Leaflet 2015
Adapted from Woolworth's Christmas Leaflet 2015
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Wishing you all the very best for the Festive Season!  I hope it’s wonderful however you choose to celebrate. 

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Is late March too early to call Dish Of The Year for 2016?  Because I think I have a winner.

At the very least, my version of Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Salted Caramel Apple Pie will be Top Ten. I would love to think that over the course of the next nine months I could cook ten things that are better than this.  I just very much doubt it will happen. It’s THAT good!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie.   Even the words sound good together.   You know how when you first fall in love and you want to say the name of your beloved all the time?  That’s what I’ve been like all week, just walking around with my head full of “Mmmm…caramel…salted caramel…with apples…in a pie….salted caramel apple pie….oooohhhh  yyyyyeah”. And sometimes not only in my head. There’s been a few awkward moments when I’ve said some version of the above only to be met with a blank look and someone saying “Ok, sure…but what’s the time?” That’s how good this is.  It will send you into inner rhapsodies.  Which sometimes become outer rhapsodies. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie6

It’s starting to get a bit colder here now, much more autumnal – and nothing quite says Autumn like an apple pie!  I pretty much used the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Recipe that you can find here for this.

However, I twisted it up a bit as follows:

  • I used Rhubarb Bitters instead of Agnostura Bitters in the filling – because I already had some and rhubarb and apple is a classic combo right?
  • The original recipe calls for four to six lemons.  I think this is waaaaaaayyyyy too many.  I used three and I feel my apple mixture was too wet.  I had to drain a lot of liquid off before I put the apples in the pie.  I would use two as a maximum and ideally, the minimum amount I needed to stop the apples from browning. 
  • I also used less nutmeg because I’m not overly fond of it and for my palate, a little of it goes a long way.
  • I used bought pastry – a sweet shortcrust pie shell for the base and puff pastry for the topping
  • I used less salt than the recipe specified because the fussiest eater in the world is not a fan of salt and sweet. 
  • I also swapped out the flour in the recipe for almond meal and used demerara sugar in the filling and sprinkled over the top of the pastry.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie3

To me, the salted caramel sauce is the star of this dish.  Without it, you have…apple pie. Tasty but ho-hum.  With it – with the caramel sauce taken to the edge –  so you get a hint of bitterness, then a flood of sweet then a kick of salt in the finish – you have a taste sensation!

Having said that, the spiced apples had a lovely flavour! 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie5

This was the first time I had ever latticed a pie and it shows.  My lattice was quite uneven.  Or, as we shall be calling it henceforth – rustic! 

Here is a guide on how to do it properly!

How to Make A Lattice Pie Crust

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie8This was soooo good!  We ate it plain and also with cream and some of the leftover caramel sauce.  It would be DIVINE with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie10

The leftover sauce can be used over ice cream or other desserts and will keep in the fridge for a week or so.  I am combining it with chocolate mousse and raspberries for a recipe from our latest Tasty Reads book which I hope will be as amazing as this. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Best Apple Pie Ever. That is all.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 sweet pie crust
  2. 1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into even strips
Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 113g unsalted butter (1 stick)
  4. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  5. 1/2-1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
Apple Filling
  1. 4-6 medium to large apples,
  2. 2 lemons
  3. 1/3 cup demerara sugar
  4. 2 tbsp almond meal
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  7. 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 4-6 dashes Rhubarb bitters
To Assemble
  1. 1 egg beaten
  2. Demerara sugar to sprinkle
The Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved.
  2. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper colour.
  4. (Keep an eye on it, it can turn from under done to burnt very quickly.)
  5. Once it is the coppery colour, remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and steam.
  6. Whisk the mixture over a low heat and add the salt.
  7. Set aside.
Apple Filling
  1. Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Add the bitters. Core, peel and thinly slice the apples - a mandoline is perfect for this. Place the apples in the mixing bowl, ensuring each slice is dipped in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. In a large measuring cup combine the sugar, almond meal, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Pour over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices in this mixture.
To Assemble the Pie
  1. Preheat your oven to 190-200C (375-400F).
  2. Place 1/3 of the apples into the sweet shortcrust pie shell, ensuring that the base is well covered and there are minimal gaps.
  3. Pour 1/4 of the caramel over the apples.
  4. Repeat with the caramel and apples twice.
  5. Assemble the lattice crust from puff pastry.
  6. Brush the crust with beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  8. Place the pie on a baking paper lined baking sheet (to protect your oven if the caramel bubbles over).
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 165C / 335F and bake 25-35 minutes or until the apples are just done when tested with a skewer.
  10. Allow to cool. Serve with the remaining sauce, cream or ice cream.
  11. Enjoy!
Adapted from Four And Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple pie
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Meantime I have pie to eat so, have a wonderful week!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;
 

 

Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar

The good news, is that with this post, we are done with the letter F in the A-Z of Cooking.  The chapter heading promises that we will be “Finishing with Flair”. The bad news is that without seeming like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary right from the get go, another F word springs to mind when I consider the contents.  Except for these Strawberries in Grand Marnier.  They were good!  Although how could a combination of fresh sweet strawberries combined with luscious orange liqueur with mint as it’s cheerleader not be delicious?

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint SugarWe’ll get to them later.  However, back to Finishing with Flair – we have already mentioned this so called Mango Mousse. The picture of which contains bananas, oranges, passionfruit, eggs and nuts.  The recipe below has none of these.  The Mango mousse recipe actually sounds really nice.  Maybe I am just being a brat for not making it.  Then again, if they can’t be arsed putting the right picture with the recipe, what are the chances that recipe will turn out?

Mango MousseThat fear of 1977 desserts not being all they were cracked up to be was born out when I made the Continental Chocolate Squares featured on p28.  The picture from the A-Z of Cooking is on the left, with the Squares looking rather decadent.  Mine are on the right looking a lot more Raggedy Anne.  I think I tried to cut them when the chocolate topping was still too hard from being in the fridge and I could not get a nice clean line. Maybe I should have glammed them up by adding some candlelight!

Continental Chocolate Squares3What both of these pictures fail to convey is the overbearing sickly sweetness of the filling. It contained 4 cups of icing sugar which was far too much!  I love sweet food but this was way too much for me and prompted the fussiest eater in the world to ask if I was trying to put him into a diabetic coma.  It is a shame that the middle layer was awful because the base which was chocolate and walnuts and biscuits was quite nice.  It is probably worth someone spending some time on trying to get that filling right because this could have been amazing.  I just don’t think that person will be me!  Although, now I kind of want to.  So maybe it will rear its head in another incarnation down the track. 

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar2
There was a lovely sounding recipe in this section for French Cherry Fritters.  This is the one I would have loved to make but you had to deep fry the fritters and I do not have a deep-fryer.  This however is one I am going to:

a) Play around with until I can perfect a baked version

b) borrow a deep-fryer.  i think my mum has one. 

Until then, it’s Strawberries with Grand Marnier.  Adding the mint sugar was an idea I borrowed from Sabrina Ghayour in Persiana.  She makes a number of herb sugars to sprinkle over fruit and now it is something I do all the time!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar4I served this with some white chocolate dipped almond bread which was every bit as delicious as it sounds!

Initially I thought this might be a bit too simple to blog about – soak some strawberries in booze.  And done.

And it is very simple.  But sometimes that is all you need to finish a meal with flair!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar
Serves 4
A simple way to finish your meal with flair!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 punnet of strawberries
  2. 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  3. Handful of mint leaves
  4. 3 tbsp caster sugar
  5. White Chocolate Dipped Almond Bread to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Halve the strawberries and place in individual serving dishes.
  2. Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 tbsp of Grand Marnier.
  3. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
  4. Meantime, make your herb sugar.
  5. Place your mint and your sugar in the bowl a mortar and grind with your pestle until them mint is finely ground and well combined with the sugar, which will be a lovely green.
  6. Alternatively, place both in your food processor and whiz until you achieve the same effect
Notes
  1. You could use basil instead of mint. Or a mix of basil and black pepper.
  2. Any Orange flavoured liqueur could be used instead of Grand Marnier.
  3. Any left over herb sugar can be used to rim a cocktail glass, or used in place of regular sugar in anything else you are making - I'm thinking lemonade would be amazing.
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Ok so  that’s F done. 

Coming up we have G is for Good Health.  I have actually already made the Cheese & Date Bread from this section so we may skip it altogether as there is not much else to get excited about.  So, possibly our next venture into the A-Z will be The Gourmet’s Touch.  Ooh la la.  Exciting times ahead!  Possibly.

Have a wonderful week lovely people and this week, what ever you do, I hope you finish it with flair!

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The Dishiest Dish – Black and Blueberry Crumble

Black berries, blueberries, dots of marzipan, almonds, choc chips, a splash of amaretto and, of course some custard?  How could the Black and Blueberry Crumble not be the dish of the week? 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble

Close second was Karen Martini’s Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza.

Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza

Fail of the week?  The Broccoli con Anchovy from The River Cafe Cookbook.  I’m not sure what it is with me and this book.  Last week the rotolo was a fail.  This week, I didn’t even get to cook anything.

Here’s the thing.  I put broccoli on my shopping list.  I ticked it off my list meaning it had gone from shelf to basket.   I should have had broccoli in my fridge. BUT I tootled off to twilight yoga on Sunday afternoon planning to have a healthy broccoli con anchovy supper on my return.  Got home, had my aromatherapy bath, got into my jamies. And no broccoli.  Not in the fridge, not misplaced in the cupboard.  Not in the car.  Just a black hole of broccoli. 

And yes, I could have gone and bought some but I was already in my pyjamas and Doctor Who was about to start.

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

Tasty Reads is coming up, I am going to make the Chicken, Cheese and Corn meatballs and the Raw Tuna Meatballs from the meatball cookbook. I found the Turkey Cran meatballs I made a little too sweet for my taste.  I will try these again but instead of the dried sweetened cranberries required by the recipe I will use fresh (frozen) cranberries.  They will bring a much needed touch of tartness.  Also place the balls in the freezer for maybe 15 minutes so the cheese doesn’t ooze out everywhere. 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble2In Other News I Am

Listening To

  • I know I spoke about this last week but OMG Episode 3 of Limetown sent shivers up my backbone.  The last ten minutes?  Possibly the scariest thing I have ever listened to. 
  • In the same creepy vein, Mark had never heard of Jonestown until this week.  Reminded me of this other creepy, but this time true, pod

Reading/Listening

I finished A Rush Of Blood on audio,  It was ok. I think the author drew a long bow for the reasons for the murders. 

Am about to start Life After Life.

Watching

We saw William Shatner’s Stage Show the other night.  Briilliant.  We have started marathon watching Boston Legal on the back of it. It’s still immensely watchable!

Also A Beautiful Lie on ABC.  This is a modern day version of Anna Karenina which so far has been superb.  Except for one teeny thing…the Vronsky character is not at all good looking.  In fact, Mr Karenina is waaay more handsome.  Despite this, absolutely loving it. 

 

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Ingredients

  • 50g (a large bunch) flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked
  • 50g (a large bunch) basil, leaves picked
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 35g blanched almonds
  • 10g anchovies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  • Blitz the herbs, garlic, almonds, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor for around a minute or until a smooth sauce has formed.
  • Add the parmesan and blitz for another minute.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/10/25/dishiest-dish-strawberry-cheesecake-heaven-2/

What’s going on in your life / kitchen?    What was the best thing you made this week?

What are you looking forward to making next week? 

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

Please share!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking!

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