Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

This recipe was invented by my sister, a connoisseur of all things cocktail. We are a pretty lethal double act; I’ll provide the food, usually of epic quantities, and my sister invariably whips up a large bottle of some delicious alcoholic concoction which will knock you for six, in the best way possible.

Ingredients for Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

This particular sangria, bursting with bright British strawberries and zingy with sweet stem ginger, was brought over to my house on May bank holiday a couple of years ago. I needed cheering up after a failed round of IVF and had thrown a small and impromptu barbecue to thrust two fingers up at the powers that be.

That afternoon was spent sloshing around my shoeboxed size North London back garden, bellowing out ‘Let It Go’, I imagine much to the chagrin of my very accommodating neighbours, and drinking copious amounts of this enticing sangria.

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

I became pregnant only a few months later, by natural means as it goes, and so this occasion stands in my memory as the two sisters’ last hurrah for cocktails and karaoke. Now my sister is expecting and although she cannot partake in the sangria when I go and visit her this weekend, I wanted to celebrate our wonderful baby-fortunes by toasting the occasion with her fantastic creation. For the non-alcoholic version of this Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria (which is what she’ll be drinking), just make the strawberry and stem ginger base as per the method below, then instead of mixing it with red wine and bourbon, top with soda water. A pretty fantastic virgin cocktail by anyone’s standard.

I think we’re all going to need a little bit of sweet and spicy sangria this bank holiday as by all accounts the heatwave is pawing the ground ready to charge and everyone knows in the UK you have to grab the bull by the horns – this might be the only few days of summer we’re going to get!

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

2 balls stem ginger plus 1 tablespoon of the syrup
300g strawberries, hulled
Juice of 2 limes
1 bottle rioja (or similar Spanish red wine)
60ml bourbon

  • Place the stem ginger, syrup, strawberries and lime juice in the blender and whizz up until smooth.
  • Pour into a large jug along with the red wine and bourbon and stir together.
  • Serve over plenty of ice.
Strawberry and Stem Ginger Sangria

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

I have been making chutneys and jams for my friends and family for Christmas presents as long as I can remember. It’s perhaps my annual ritual that I treasure the most. It signifies making the most of the autumnal farmers’ market or foraging treasures and is one of the first steps I take each year when starting to plan for the festive season.

There was a time when I rotated the chutneys I made, perhaps an apple, pear and hazelnut chutney, often a piccalilli or even a traditional dowerhouse chutney. However since I developed this particular Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney a couple of years ago there has been absolutely no looking back. It has been one of my favourite kitchen creations and now I make it every single year to pass onto my loved ones, and of course to scoff myself with a mountain of cheese.

I rather like it as it’s not one of those chunky chutneys that makes your sandwich all lumpy, or a chutney that is stuffed with little pops of sultanas making the whole affair too fruity. No, this chutney has the perfect balance of texture from the soft apples, of sweetness from the stem ginger and a warmth of spice from the root ginger, chipotle chilli powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

In fact I love this chutney so much that it became one of the first recipes to be cemented in my new preserves venture ‘From The Larder’. I have made jars upon jars this year, so that I can spread the joy a little further than my friends and family and I will be selling it on all my market stalls leading up to Christmas. My inaugural preserves stall is at the Stroud Green Winter Fair this Saturday 22nd November at the Stapleton Tavern in Stroud Green and I can’t wait to showcase all the lovely produce I have been foraging for, jarring and canning since the summer. If you are around then do drop by and pick up a jar of this Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney. However, if you are far away then don’t fret as I’ve included the recipe below so you can make a batch of your own.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

This chutney is perfect on your festive cheeseboard as it goes with pretty much any cheese. It’s also incredibly addictive so don’t be surprised if you find you are balancing more chutney on your cracker instead of cheese. This recipe makes a good few jars but it’s perfect to give away as presents or to hoard yourself so you can keep your supplies well on the go until next year’s batch.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

Makes 12 x 200ml jars

For the spice bag:
50g root ginger
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1.5kg Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
1.5kg Cox Pippin apples, peeled, cored and diced
1kg white onions, diced
4 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
500g soft light brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sea salt

  1. Place the spice bag ingredients into a muslin bag and then put into a large preserving pan with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for 2.5 hours.
  3. Remove the spice bag then decant the chutney into sterilised jars.
  4. Keep in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before eating.

Green Tomato and Stem Ginger Cake with Streusel Topping

Green Tomato and Stem Ginger Cake with Streusel Topping
When my sister first told me she had made this cake a few weeks ago with the last remaining green tomatoes in her vegetable garden I immediately thought that this was one of her weird experiments and dismissed it.

Green Tomato Cake with Streusel Topping

The idea stayed with me though and I couldn’t stop thinking of this green tomato cake that she had been raving about. I’m a huge fan of green tomatoes and the thought of incorporating them into my baking was intriguing. So I called her back up a few days later and asked her a bit more about it. She said the texture was incredibly moist but the closest thing she could see that it resembled was a carrot cake. Suddenly it all made sense and I kicked myself for not seeing how this was the perfect use for the firm, tangy tomatoes that are still hanging round well into Autumn, especially when spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

10Green Tomato Cake with Streusel Topping

I thought I had missed out though as I hadn’t seen any green tomatoes for a while and assumed their time had passed for the season. Then on a chance visit to Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market I saw huge mounds of the these emerald green beauties glinting in the frost bitten sun. I am useless when it comes to understanding quantities of things and rather than be floundering with too few tomatoes I bought bags of them, just in case.

Green Tomato Cake with Streusel topping

There wasn’t a huge amount of recipes for green tomato cake online but those that were all emanated from the Deep South which is understandable since they are the guys that brought us the sublime fried green tomatoes and seem to understand this ingredient better than most. It does seem that the cake is treated much like any vegetable cake with plenty of sugar, oil instead of butter and spicing aplenty. I took my Autumn theme a bit more seriously though and dotted diced stem ginger throughout, and topped the cake with a sweetly buttered crunchy streusel crown. The streusel topping turned out to be a wonderful adornment, making the cake taste almost like a deliciously moist fruit crumble. The pockets of juicy tomato are so enticing and add another texture every now and then to the now complex structure of the cake. It’s just as well then that the assembling of the cake is so darn simple. The recipe really is a keeper and will definitely be brought to my kitchen table every October/November when the glut of green tomatoes is at its peak.

Green Tomato Cake with Streusel Topping

Green Tomato and Stem Ginger Cake with Streusel Topping
Adapted from a recipe on southernfood.about.com

225g caster sugar
225g light brown sugar
240ml olive oil
40ml stem ginger syrup
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
350g green tomatoes, diced
75g stem ginger, finely diced

For the streusel topping:
40g flour
85g demerara sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g cold butter
2 tablespoons oats

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170° and line and grease a 20cm deep round cake tin
  2. First make the streusel topping by rubbing together the flour, 85g sugar, cinnamon and butter until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the oats, then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together the caster sugar, light brown sugar, olive oil, stem ginger syrup, eggs and vanilla until completely combined.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.
  5. Add the flour to the sugar and egg mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Stir in the green tomatoes and the stem ginger until evenly distributed then pour into the cake tin.
  7. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake mixture then scatter over the remaining 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar.
  8. Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. You might want to check the cake halfway through and cover the top with foil if the streusel topping is getting too brown.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and leave for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out to finish cooling on a wire rack.