Courgette Relish

This Courgette Relish is my favourite way to get the most out of a bumper courgette crop. It is an easy relish to knock together and has endless uses from burger toppings, barbecue accompaniments or the grace within a cheese sandwich. I love its tangy sweetness flavoured with turmeric, mustard seeds and nutmeg.

Courgette Relish

This recipe is a re-post of a classic recipe which I first posted on the blog in 2014. It’s courgette season and I’m about to make my annual batch of this Courgette Relish as our kitchen is bereft without it. I wanted to refresh the post with new images and contemplated just doing that and slotting it back into the archive but I love this recipe so much and thought the new photos deserved a bit of a fanfare too. So here are my original words back from 2014.

Courgette Relish

Certain recipes come into your life in different ways, and this one was begged and pleaded for after we fell in love with a jar of this courgette relish. Our friend who had bestowed this precious gift on us couldn’t quite remember where she got the original recipe from; she thought maybe The Times, but when it was passed along the quantities were in cups so perhaps it originated across the pond. I wish I could thank whomever came up with it as it really is one of the staples of our larder and this time of year I make it in bulk when the courgettes are proudly in bloom. A large quantity is a must as one of the worst things to befall our kitchen is when the last jar is finished in March and we have to wait months for the next glut of courgettes.

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

The beauty of the relish is that although its natural season to be brought to the table is summer when the barbecues hit, its amiability knows no bounds. The obvious use for this courgette relish is on a burger and really you can get no better topping. The flavour is sweet and piquant with the gentle pop of mustard seeds. However, it can also accompany the sausages that are grilled on bonfire night to great effect and a laden Christmas buffet replete with roast ham and turkey pies.

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

Courgette Relish | Stroud Green Larder

During the rest of the year it’s included in lunch staples such as toasted sandwiches or brought along to spring picnics. The courgette relish pairs naturally with cheese and I got into a bit of a habit earlier this year of stirring it into a cheddar and tuna salad along with a bit of olive oil for dressing.

If you come round to my house it’s more or less guaranteed you will leave with a jar of something homemade, and the wise visitor will make a request for the courgette relish, after all that’s how it came to us in the first place.

Courgette Relish

Print Recipe
Courgette Relish
A sweet tangy relish which goes with anything and everything.
Courgette Relish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8 200ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg courgettes julienned, about 12
  • 1 kg spanish onions grated, about 4
  • 2 red peppers sliced very thinly, then quartered lengthways
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1.5 kg granulated sugar
  • 925 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1.5 tablespoons white mustard seeds
  • 3 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 3 teaspoons nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground white pepper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8 200ml jars
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg courgettes julienned, about 12
  • 1 kg spanish onions grated, about 4
  • 2 red peppers sliced very thinly, then quartered lengthways
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1.5 kg granulated sugar
  • 925 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1.5 tablespoons white mustard seeds
  • 3 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 3 teaspoons nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground white pepper
Courgette Relish
Instructions
  1. Place the courgettes, onions, peppers and salt in a large preserving pan, cover with water and leave to stand overnight.
  2. The next day drain and rinse well to remove the excess salt.
  3. Return the courgette mix to the preserving pan and add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Decant into sterilised jars*. It is ready to eat straightaway or you can store in a cool dark place until needed for up to a year.
Recipe Notes

*To sterilise the jars place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes with a splash of vinegar. I don’t sterilise my lids in the oven as they tend to ruin.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis makes the most of cherry season. It’s a quick dessert, made even more delicious with the use of alternative flours and rich coconut milk which also helps to make the recipe dairy-free.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Cherry season must surely be my favourite fruit season. I am tearing through punnets of them like nobody’s business and the ones at the farmer’s market at the moment have been especially juicy and sweet. My fingers are constantly painted red with cherry juice but I have no regrets. They are utterly irresistible. The cherries that I’m not throwing down my gullet at every opportunity however have sought sweet solace in this beautiful clafoutis. It’s basically like cherries baked into custard, absolute perfection at the end of a long lazy Sunday barbecue.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

There was a bit of banter on the recipes during my research over whether to pit or not to pit the cherries. It wasn’t much of a battle for me though as I am head over heels for my cherry pitter plus the fear of cracking a tooth whilst I’m supposed to be treating myself seemed unfair punishment. Also we have a toddler so to pit is the child friendly option. It’s true that the cherry pits can add an extra layer of flavour, intensifying the almondy tang of the cherries but I’ve made up for that by using flavourful gluten-free flours, fresh lemon zest, warming vanilla and of course rich coconut milk.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

It’s a lovely quick dessert to knock up on a whim as long as you have your cherries to hand so even though you do have to put the oven on during a balmy summer day, there’s no slaving away beforehand. The cherries are just slung into a baking dish, the custard batter is whisked together in five minutes then it’s baked.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

I love this dessert, warm from the oven bedecked with a handsome dollop of ice cream. Since this is a deliberately dairy-free dessert then I would possibly go for a dairy-free coconut ice cream but it’s up to you. If there is no ice cream to hand, then I can vouch that your Coconut Cherry Clafoutis is perfectly acceptable naked with just a light dusting of icing sugar. It’s really all about the cherries anyway.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

 

Print Recipe
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}
A delicious dairy-free and gluten-free dessert which makes the most of cherry season
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
  • 500 g cherries
  • 30 g sweet rice flour
  • 20 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 medium eggs lightly beaten
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
  • 500 g cherries
  • 30 g sweet rice flour
  • 20 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 medium eggs lightly beaten
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven and grease a 25cm baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Remove the stalks from cherries and pit them, then lay them into the greased dish in one layer.
  3. Sift the flours together with the sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and whisk in the eggs until thick and smooth.
  4. In a measuring jug stir together the lemon zest, vanilla extract and coconut milk then pour into the rest of the batter whisking well until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter over the cherries then bake for 35-40 minutes until the clafoutis is set but still a little wobbly in the centre.
  6. Dust the icing sugar over the top and serve warm. Amazing with ice cream.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops

The current heatwave in London necessitates the need to cool down by whatever means. We Brits may not built for this weather, but that’s when these Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops come into play.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I love it when a recipe is as intuitive as this one was. I spend ages deciding over which one of my recipes I should post here next. Too long. In fact I spend more time fluctuating between whether I should post my new layer cake, or maybe that granola bar recipe which I have been slaving over this past week than actually making, photographing or writing about any of my recipes. Haven’t I just posted a layer cake last week. Is it really granola bar season? I need to just pick one and go with it.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

Or just let the recipe choose me. Yesterday morning Cole and I made these Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops (Ice lollies? Popsicles? I spent a good half hour deliberating over that one too) in 10 minutes as he sat on my kitchen top repeating, “Whatssat?”
“Mango, darling.”
“Mango Mummy…..Whatssat?”
“Mango, darling”
“Mango Mummy…..Whatssat?”
You get the picture.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I had been wanting to make ice lollies for days to cool us both down in this incessant heat. Our tiny victorian railway cottage has taken on the form of a casserole pot, trapping all the heat in and braising us in our own juices. By 3pm after Cole has woken up from his lunchtime nap and I have calmed him down from the injustice of being cooked in his sleep, then spending any time actually doing anything rather than chucking ourselves into the nearest paddling pool is inconceivable.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

Yesterday morning though, as I scoured the fridge for breakfast food I came across a long forgotten mango which still looked pretty good. Not a moment later I declared lolly time and with glee Cole watched as I dragged the blender over. He loves helping with the smoothies so blenders get a fine welcome in our kitchen.

I peeled and chopped the mango, prompting the above conversation, threw the flesh into the blender along with a tin of coconut milk for healthy fats, a bit of almond butter for healthy protein and a teaspoon of turmeric, thereby warding off any form of horrible disease which may be winging its way in our future direction.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I forgot momentarily that toddlers don’t understand the concept of patience so Cole was quite indignant that we couldn’t enjoy them right away, and I realised my mistake over making such a hoopla about making lollies, the indignance threated to topple into something more when I extracted his sticky little hands from inside the filled lolly mould. However it was all made better when I poured him out a little leftover smoothie mix into a cup and he could stick his hand into that instead. It was a fine choice making them in the morning though as it meant that by yesterday afternoon when Cole awoke from his nap I earned Mother of the Year by presenting my grumpy little gnome with the perfect icy treat for surviving this blistering heat. I had one too, and we enjoyed them whilst splashing around in the paddling pool.

Print Recipe
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops
These deliciously cooling smoothie pops are full of good fats, protein and a teaspoon of turmeric.
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8
Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8
Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}
Instructions
  1. Peel the mango and cut the flesh into rough cubes.
  2. Place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and whizz until smooth.
  3. Pour carefully into ice lolly moulds and freeze overnight or at least 8 hours.

If you want smoothie pops that look like mine then you can buy the Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker from Amazon. I have been using mine for two summers now and love it. It comes with some wooden sticks when you need more they are also easy to buy from Amazon.

If you want to know what blender we use which provokes such a raucous response from my son then it’s the KitchenAid Artisan Blender. I smashed the glass jug once so we were without it for a couple of months before I got my act together to buy a new one. The cheapo blender we used in the meantime did not compare. I was so happy to get my blender back. I’ve had it for years and use it nearly every day.

The images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these links to buy your ice lolly maker or blender then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund my shopping list so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

Iced tea is not a big thing in the UK which baffles me considering we are a nation of avid tea drinkers. I, on the other hand, am a staunch advocate of iced tea and I shall hereby declare it an imperative part of my British summertime.

Last year a cold jug of iced tea stashed in the fridge became my lifeline during the June heat wave, which I can recall so precisely as it coincided with both the first week of Wimbledon and the first week the care of my two week old son was solely entrusted to me when Luke had the gall to return to work. It was a scary scorching time. I got through the stifling temperatures by holing Cole and I up in our breezy bedroom, windows open, multiple desk fans blazing and guzzling my ice cold tea to the gentle sounds of tennis balls popping back and forth via my laptop at the end of the bed.

Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

This year though I have absolutely nailed the iciest tea around by sticking it in the freezer in lolly form. I couldn’t have chosen a better time either as the temperature shot up yesterday in London quite unannounced. I bought my ice lolly mould at the beginning of summer last year but after bunging it on top of the fridge and forgetting about it whilst I sorted out having a baby I have only just begun to experiment with it. I bought one on a nostalgic whim remembering when I was young how we would pour fresh orange juice into the moulds on sultry evenings ready for as soon as the summer sun rose the next day. Such an amazing treat as a child and since Cole has just begun to steal ice cubes whenever I open the freezer door in his presence I think I need to think about more baby friendly ice lollies to play around with.

I would say though that these pomegranate iced tea lollies appeal more to an adult sensibility. They contain caffeine for a start which I understand isn’t the best thing to give your one year old but they are also not too sweet, as this recipe eschews any sort of refined sugar. Instead I have plumped for the sour sweetness of pomegranate molasses rounded out with a touch of honey. These flavours are completely in my zone. I bought my pomegranate molasses back when it became trendy a few years ago and dashed a bit in this and that, not entirely convinced. Now, though I am going through bottles of the stuff every month as I drizzle it over salads, include it in any of my current marinades and use it to flavour buttercreams. It’s sweet but not sweet and that is definitely my favourite kind of sweet.

Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

These pomegranate iced tea lollies are the perfect antidote to the summer heat and definitely take iced tea to the extreme.

Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

makes 10 lollies

1 tablespoon tea leaves (I used orange pekoe)
1 litre freshly boiled water
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon honey
handful of pomegranate seeds

  1. Place the tea leaves in a large jug and pour over the freshly boiled water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the tea into another large jug, discarding the leaves and stir in the pomegranate molasses and honey until completely dissolved.
  3. Place the jug in the fridge and leave for a few hours until the tea has completely chilled.
  4. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds evenly into the bottom of your ice lolly moulds then pour the tea over the top. Put the wooden lolly sticks into your moulds and put the top on then place in the freezer for at least 24 hours for the lollies to completely freeze before removing from the moulds.
Pomegranate Iced Tea Lollies

Strawberry Honey Cake

A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake.
It was an exciting moment this week when I found the first of the British strawberries in the supermarket. I love their newly prolonged season, especially since I never get bored of a strawberry. As Spring moves into Summer the taste of the strawberries evolve meaning you get a little bit of something different as the seasons progress.

Strawberry Honey Cake

These strawberries I took home this week were sweet and juicy. It was excellent forward thinking on my part that I had picked up a couple of punnets as the first one was unashamedly eaten during the prepping stages of baking this cake.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I couldn’t help but pair this cake with honey, I have been collecting local honey from all the little farm shops and farmer’s markets I have been visiting these past few months so I have quite the larder full. I chose a light clear floral honey for the cake and baked it into the batter along with some sour cream to add density and offset the sweetness. I then topped the cake in the same way, a simple buttercream which I then imbued with more of the honey and sour cream.

Strawberry Honey Cake

Strawberry Honey Cake is a perfect teatime treat, enjoyed out in the garden with the distant sound of a lawnmower buzzing in the background. Although it did lead me to contemplate what a sorry state my garden is actually in at the moment and fret over the grassless lawn and ghostly pots of long gone plants so it wasn’t the perfect idyll.

Strawberry Honey Cake

I regret not drizzling my finished cake with honey as well before I took the photos, the idea only came to me as I was tucking into the cake afterwards. The extra drizzle really lifted the strawberries and accentuated the honey so make sure you don’t forget it like me.

Print Recipe
Strawberry Honey Cake
A beautiful summer inspired Strawberry Honey Cake.
Strawberry Honey Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60-70 minutes
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 170 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 270 g plain flour *for gluten-free see below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 150 g strawberries hulled and chopped into quarters
Honey Buttercream:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 165 g icing sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 50 g sour cream
  • pinch of salt
Strawberry Honey Cake
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  4. Pour in the honey and mix well, then the vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour to the rest of the cake batter, mixing well. Then follow with half the sour cream, mix it in then another 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the sour cream then the last third of the flour. Mix until the batter has just combined.
  7. Pour nearly all of the cake batter into the baking tin.
  8. Puncture the batter with the chopped strawberries in a single layer before spreading on the very last of the cake batter to cover the strawberries.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack completely before icing.
  10. For the honey buttercream beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  11. Pour in the honey, sour cream and a pinch of salt and mix until completely combined.
  12. Using a palette knife spread the buttercream thickly on top of the cake.
  13. Decorate with strawberries and drizzled honey.
Recipe Notes

* For a gluten-free version of the cake, substitute the plain flour for a blend of:
60g sweet rice flour
45g oat flour
35g millet flour
20g potato starch
15g tapioca flour

Red Velvet Ice Cream

This Red Velvet Ice Cream takes all the personality of a red velvet cake and rockets it into summer. Velvety, tangy with plenty of cocoa kick.

Red Velvet Ice Cream

I first tried red velvet ice cream a couple of years ago at Taste of London. It was definitely one of the most popular desserts of the day as everywhere you looked people were clutching at cones stacked high with beautifully scarlet ice cream. I don’t know what it is about red food but it just looks terrifically inviting and we immediately scouted out where people were getting their ice creams from and joined the long long queue to get our own cones. It’s just as well that I can’t remember which restaurant was offering this ice cream as when we first took our first licks it was incredibly disappointing. Stunningly tasteless.

There are a few people who will probably shrug at this as red velvet cakes often seem to be more pomp than circumstance, relying on the food colouring for effect and the only taste really deriving from the cream cheese icing that always adorns them. However, I heartily disagree for I feel that red velvet cake is one of the most subtly complex cakes, blessed with the richness of cocoa, a hint of vanilla and light and tangy with the buttermilk. If you think the cake is tasteless then you are getting your red velvets from the wrong source my friend.

So, I was thinking about this bland red velvet ice cream, and how unfortunate it is when the taste of something doesn’t marry with the beauty of it. It’s been nagging at me for a while and I have been keen to improve my experience of red velvet ice cream and give it a go myself.

So I eventually arrived at this recipe after a lot of failed attempts and can decree that this ice cream really is what red velvet ice cream should taste like. It has a creamy custard base but the quantity of buttermilk used gives the ice cream such a delicately bright flavour. However, it’s not the overriding element and the vanilla and chocolately background gives the ice cream depth and its incredible moreishness.

This ice cream is just wonderful by itself and the glorious ruby of it will pair beautifully with the colours of the season. You are taking the ice cream into another dimension though if you think of serving it with a good wodge of chocolate fudge cake, the ice cream will cut through the richness and I swear will leave you floundering for words.

Print Recipe
Red Velvet Ice Cream
This Red Velvet Ice Cream takes all the personality of a red velvet cake and rockets it into summer. Velvety, tangy with plenty of cocoa kick.
Red Velvet Ice Cream
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
2 pints
Ingredients
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 450 ml double cream
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 35 g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • tablespoons red food colouring
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
2 pints
Ingredients
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 450 ml double cream
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 35 g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • tablespoons red food colouring
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Red Velvet Ice Cream
Instructions
  1. Heat the caster sugar, double cream and cocoa powder in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Make sure the cocoa has completely dissolved then remove from the heat.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and food colouring.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until thick, then pour in the red velvet mixture in a thin stream, whisking all the while until everything has been mixed together.
  4. Pour the red custard into a bain marie, then re-heat. Bring the custard up to 85°C but do not boil.
  5. As soon as it has reached the correct temperature, pour the custard into a bowl set into an ice bath and carry on whisking until the custard cools.
  6. Strain the custard into a large jug and set cling film over the surface to avoid a skin forming. Place in the fridge overnight to chill.
  7. The next day remove the custard from the fridge and add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Pour into your ice cream machine and churn for 20 minutes until the ice cream is a thick milkshake consistency.
  8. Decant into tubs and place in the fridge overnight to finish the set.

Raspberry and Oreo Ice Cream

Raspberry Oreo Ice Cream
I am more than happy to admit my failures and my faults – I have many and I embrace them all. This ice cream is like the opposite of that.

When I make something I am really proud of it reminds me why I started blogging in the first place. It would be simply criminal not to share this ice cream with the world. My favourite of all my recipes is always the one I last blogged about which is why I’m probably always touting my latest effort as the best I have ever done. So feel free to take it with a pinch of salt when I say that this ice cream is the best ice cream in the world ever hands down. That includes the insane rosemary honey gelato I had a couple of weeks ago at Broadway Market which led to some horrible attempts to recreate it in my own kitchen immediately when I got home. I’m sure I’ll get there with my gelato recipes one day but I know for certain I can make ice cream and this one seals the deal.

Raspberry Oreo Ice Cream  |  Stroud Green Larder

I thoroughly enjoy making ice cream, not just the process of it which can be immensely relaxing as I have written about before but I love the fact that you can store it in the freezer. There is no immediacy with the finished product; like when I’m trying to palm off half a cake to the UPS delivery man before it goes stale or handing out hot scones that I will never get round to eating to unsuspecting neighbourhood kids who just want to know if I would like my car washed. Although there was that one time when we had to emergency defrost the freezer and we were passing out half eaten tubs of homemade lemon and chocolate brownie ice cream down our street. However, I made this raspberry and Oreo ice cream this week and the urgency of eating it suddenly became clear. If I did not eat it, someone else would and that would be really uncool.

Raspberry Oreo Ice Cream  |  Stroud Green Larder

If you read my recipes carefully then you will see the base of this recipe is very similar to my Blackberries and Cream ice cream, it has become my favourite method of ice cream recently. The set is soft and the sharp berry flavour is intensified without the addition of an egg based custard. It’s so fresh tasting and contrasts beautifully with the homeliness of the Oreos.

Raspberry Oreo Ice Cream
Makes about 2 pints

500g raspberries
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
250g caster sugar
4 egg whites
300ml double cream
154g packet of Oreos

  1. Pour the raspberries into a medium sized pan and heat gently with a splash of water to aid the breaking down of the berries. Once the berries have completely softened then remove them from the heat and pour into a sieve. Push the berries through, the best aid for this I think is a silicone spatula, so that all the seeds are extracted from the fruit pulp. Discard the seeds (or save to make a fruit alcohol infusion as explained above) and return the pureed raspberries back into the pan.
  2. Add the icing sugar and liquid glucose to the raspberry puree and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat then leave to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
  3. Meanwhile pour the sugar into another medium sized saucepan and add 300ml of water. Heat gently so that the sugar completely dissolves into the water. Then bring to the boil and carrying on boiling until it reaches a very thick and syrupy consistency, it should reach 112°C on a sugar thermometer and can take about 20 minutes. You must keep your eye on the saucepan at all times so that it doesn’t bubble over.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk up the egg whites until stiff, then drizzle in the sugar syrup in a slow steady steam whilst continuing whisking. The egg whites will turn beautifully glossy.
  5. In a separate bowl lightly whip the double cream then fold into the egg whites until they are fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day pour the egg white and cream mixture into your ice cream machine and start churning. Pour in the raspberry puree immediately whilst the machine is churning and then the puree will mix in evenly.
  7. Meanwhile reserve 4 Oreos for decorating the top but place the rest of the biscuits in a food processor and whizz until they have become breadcrumbs. Chop the reserved 4 Oreos roughly.
  8. Once the ice cream has reached a thick milkshake consistency and is pretty much ready then pour in the crumbed Oreos and churn for a couple of minutes until they have been evenly distributed through the ice cream.
  9. Decant the ice cream into tubs, tucking in the roughly chopped 4 Oreos on the top and then freeze overnight to reach the correct set.

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam
I used to have a bit of a problem with jam. The sugar. I was never one for jam tarts or jammy toast, that was my sister. I would pucker up my nose and screw up my face as if it were poisoning me. Suffice to say I no longer do that. I know I’m not the only one who is getting a sweeter and sweeter tooth with age if my Nan’s shopping basket was anything to go by in her later years. It was just cake and sweets, Mum used to have to surreptitiously hide a packet of frozen peas amongst the bags of coconut mushrooms and custard tarts to ensure she at least had the option of health when she got home. However, despite the increasing dominance of sugar in my life, jam has still been a bit of a stumbling block for me.

Strawberries  |  Stroud Green Larder

redcurrants |  Stroud Green Larder

I enjoy making jam. There is something extremely prudent about conserving the fruits of the season to have later on in the year. I am soothed by the preparation of the produce; washing, peeling and removing stalks and excited by the first boil as the produce slowly starts to break down to achieve intensity. I get an absurd amount of pleasure from pouring in a whole kilo of sugar, the hubble and bubble of the pot and then my fastidious side loves the careful decanting so the sticky jam doesn’t run riot all over the kitchen. I screw the top, test for set the next day, create labels, admire my industrious stack, then offload the whole lot come Christmas time. But I never really ate it myself.

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam  |  Stroud Green Larder So it was my mission to reduce the sugar content of my jams. Although I achieved some success with the kind of conserves you can eat straight from the jar, my vanilla peach bourbon jam and my blackberry and lime jam (which I still haven’t posted the recipe for, aargh to-do list!), I was dismally failing when it came to the classic strawberry or raspberry jam. I have been canning the final jams which means you require less sugar, I have been cutting the sugar and adding lemons, limes, herbs, anything to counteract the sweetness. However, all these efforts have led to the same result, boiling and boiling and boiling away my jam as it refused to reach setting point. The end product would eventually work but I seemed to be losing too much fruit.

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam  |  Stroud Green Larder

After a very disappointing time with some strawberry and lemon verbena jam, I was ready to give up jams earlier this summer. Then I had a piece of Victoria Sponge on our WI cake stall a few weeks ago. The intense sweetness was pleasurably sandwiched between two thick buttery vanilla doorstops and for me jam finally had a purpose again. Of course, you are not supposed to eat it by itself with a spoon. The jam needs to be sweet but then used in moderation to bring the best out of the other ingredients it is paired with. I certainly don’t begrudge those whom like to lather it on a crumpet or wodge it in an English muffin but for me, suddenly realising that I could have been using my jam in cakes and desserts has been a revelation. I never bothered using it before as I presumed I didn’t like it, but in the right context and without using the commercially produced stuff jam can be the key ingredient. It is supposed to be sweet, just go with it. Ever since then I’ve been able to see the joy in jam. It has been fully embraced into my life and my baking and my jams have never tasted better.

This has been my favourite strawberry jam adventure yet. These strawberries were just £4 for 2kg from the market and when I brought them home I remembered the redcurrants I had picked up a few weeks earlier which were now lounging around in my freezer drawer for a rainy day. These guys pair together beautifully, the sweet hit of the strawberry is tempered by the tart redcurrants and the ruby beauty as it smudges into the buttercream of the Victoria Sponge is terribly appealing.

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam  |  Stroud Green Larder

Now, when I made this jam I figured I wanted something quick and lovely so I boiled the two fruits together from the off, fully rejecting my rule of de-seeding all jams. The strawberry seeds I don’t have a problem with but the redcurrants may have a little too much bite. I have since read recipes that recommend boiling up the redcurrants first and then sieving them which I think I would do next time. It would be more useful for me to research these recipes before I make 20 jars of the stuff, but ho hum I will not be told.

This recipe makes masses as I had an absolute glut of strawberries, so if you are making the jam just for yourself I would recommend halving the recipe, unless you like giving jam as presents which then makes us samies.

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam  |  Stroud Green Larder

Strawberry and Redcurrant Jam
makes about 20x 200ml jars

2kg Strawberries
1 kg Redcurrants, stalks removed
2.7kg jam sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Remove the stalks from the redcurrants and then place them in a large preserving pan along with the strawberries and heat gently, bringing to a light boil.
  2. When the fruit is boiling then stir in the sugar.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon juice.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil, making sure to stir the bottom of the pan frequently so the fruit doesn’t stick.
  5. Once the jam reaches 104°C or passes the saucer wrinkle test* then decant into sterilised jars.

*The saucer wrinkle test basically requires you to put about 5 saucers in your freezer when you begin making your jam. Once you think the jam might be ready then you can double check by removing a saucer from the freezer, dropping a teaspoon of jam on it then placing the saucer in the fridge. After about 30 seconds remove the saucer and push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles up it’s ready, if it just pools back into the space your finger has left then it needs more bubbling time. Boil it a bit longer, then test again with another saucer.

Blackberries and Cream Ice Cream

Blackberries and Cream Ice Cream
Fruit ice creams in August are such a treat. I have been breaking all my rules about mid afternoon snacking by taking an indulgent break about 4pm to sit out in my sunny garden with a crisp buttery cone stuffed with blackberries and cream ice cream. I have lived in Stroud Green for a couple of years and this has been the first year that I have been able to make full use of my garden. Usually we have been washed inside by calamitous storms and miserable rain. However, this summer I have loved taking advantage of everything that a British summer has to offer and that includes the ever so traditional berries and cream.

I have a small confession though, this isn’t my recipe at all, I have totally cribbed it from my father’s old collection of 1980s Taste Magazines. The recipe was completely perfect as it was, all I’ve tweaked is a bit of the method and the name. Taste referred to it as Frosted Blackberry and Caramel Marble ice cream. Now, the recipe was indeed made with a caramel but that isn’t what gives the deliciously soft, smooth ice cream its flavour, it is instead made bountiful with the sweet, plump juicy blackberries and generous clouds of cream and I think that is what needs to be celebrated about this absolutely amazing ice cream which has swiftly become one of my favourites.

One of the main things I adapted about the recipe was the preparation of the blackberries as I have a bit of an issue with seeds I’ve realised. It came from an off hand comment my mother-in-law once made about the difficulty in buying seedless jams from the farmers’ markets, so last year when I made some jams that I intended to give her I made sure I sieved out the seeds in the process. This has now become second nature to me and now I really notice and am bothered by the inclusion of seeds in jams and ice creams. I bought a homemade raspberry ice lolly from the market a couple of weeks ago and the seeds were so overwhelming that it completely ruined the treat for me. I was picking them out of my teeth for the rest of the afternoon and complaining about it to anyone unlucky enough to be in my company that day. Removing the seeds is a bit of an extra step when dealing with berries but it changes the consistency to be so much smoother that it is definitely worth it. The other upside to always removing the seeds is that you will often have a large amount of fruity gubbins leftover from the sieving process which is absolutely perfect for making infused gins and vodkas which I will be posting more about in the future since I have made a lot of them over the summer.

Blackberries and Cream Ice Cream  |  Stroud Green Larder

This recipe was a bit of a revelation for me in terms of ice cream making. I love homemade ice cream but sometimes I can’t be bothered with the hard-set stuff, the kind that you have to take it out from the freezer for 20 minutes so that you don’t snap your spoon in half desperately trying to dig at it. These 20 minutes are always an endless time of frustration for me. This blackberries and cream ice cream though is proudly soft scoop. If you fancy a teaspoon of ice cream whilst you are waiting for the toast to pop up then this is ideal. Luscious and creamy direct from the freezer. It achieves the soft set by adding liquid glucose to pureed blackberries which helps the crystallisation of the sugar and also protects the fruit, as without the sugar the blackberries would freeze solid. The ice cream base is made by whisking egg whites and drizzling in a sugar syrup to form a fluffy meringue which is what gives the ice cream its texture. Billows of double cream are then folded through, giving the ice cream richness. The recipe asks that you ripple the blackberry puree through at the end but I was a bit heavy handed and I ended up pretty much mixing it all in. In hindsight this wasn’t a mistake as it was lovely to get a pure fruity hit in each cold creamy lick.

Blackberries and Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from Taste, August 1987

500g blackberries
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
250g light soft brown sugar
4 egg whites
300ml double cream

  1. Pour the blackberries into a medium sized pan and heat gently with a splash of water to aid the breaking down of the berries. Once the berries have completely softened then remove them from the heat and pour into a sieve. Push the berries through, the best aid for this I think is a silicone spatula, so that all the seeds are extracted from the fruit pulp. Discard the seeds (or save to make a fruit alcohol infusion as explained above) and return the pureed blackberries back into the pan.
  2. Add the icing sugar and liquid glucose to the blackberry puree and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat then leave to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
  3. Meanwhile pour the brown sugar into another medium sized saucepan and add 300ml of water. Heat gently so that the sugar completely dissolves into the water. Then bring to the boil and carrying on boiling until it reaches a very thick and syrupy consistency, it should reach 112°C on a sugar thermometer and can take about 20 minutes. You must keep your eye on the saucepan at all times so that it doesn’t bubble over.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk up the egg whites until stiff, then drizzle in the sugar syrup in a slow steady steam whilst continuing whisking. The egg whites will turn beautifully glossy.
  5. In a separate bowl lightly whip the double cream then fold into the egg whites until they are fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day pour the egg white and cream mixture into your ice cream machine and churn. For the last five minutes of churning drizzle in the blackberry puree. Once the ice cream has reached a thick milkshake consistency then decant the ice cream into tubs and freeze overnight to reach the correct set.

Blackberry, Soplica and Chocolate Pie

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie
This recipe pretty much sums up everything we have been eating this past week, mainly blackberries coupled with ice cold shots of Soplica direct from the freezer. Soplica is a Polish vodka that has been around since 1891, although in our freezer it’s only been around for a week and already we are draining the dregs from it. It was a present from someone who obviously knows us too well. You can get it in a number of different flavours but the one we have is hazelnut. The flavour is so pure, smooth and intense with nuttiness that we swooned at the first sip but it is quite different from Frangelico, the Italian hazelnut liqueur which is heavier. The Soplica just feels a little more summery. Although you could happily substitute Frangelico in this recipe without feeling the loss.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

Every year we are inundated with blackberries, there are bushes and bushes bursting with shiny blackberries all over Parkland Walk and throughout Stroud Green and I can’t walk past a glorious hedgerow plump with fruit without pulling out a bag from my pocket and filling it up there and then. My husband is the same and it seems whenever we take the puppy for a walk, together or individually, then inevitably we will return with a bag overflowing with the precious bramble treat. The past two weeks I have been churning through blackberry recipes like a demon, I have made jams, jellies, chutneys, vodkas, gins and a few favourite ones which I am going to share this week. That’s right, this week is Blackberry Week on Stroud Green Larder. Like Shark Week but less toothy and more sugary.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

I have been craving pie for some weeks and I love to fill a pie with beautiful colours which is why the blackberries jumped right in. Lattice topped pies work well in the summer months as the pastry doesn’t overwhelm plus it’s always tempting to see the glossy filling straining at the seams. Although I have come to realise that I am simply rubbish at lattice tops. It doesn’t matter how many I have done in the past or how often I watch Paul Hollywood for tips on the best way to construct it, I manage to bugger it up every time. I must have spent about half an hour carefully plaiting this little number; over and under, over and under and yes it did look a little skewiff but it was better than usual. Or so I thought until I was cutting myself a nice big slab after the bake and I noticed that I had repeated the pattern right in the middle of the pie. How had I not noticed this? I am resolving to practice my lattice work. The Great British Bake Off is starting this week and I know my plaiting would definitely not make the grade.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

 

Still, is it really that important when the pie tastes so damn good? Blackberries don’t get nearly as much credit as the other berries on offer in the summer but I think they are much more versatile that the raspberry or the strawberry. The fruit you pick is often a mixture of sweet and tart and that lends such a complex level of flavour in your recipe. I didn’t include a vast amount of sugar here as the cinnamon adds sweetness and the Soplica is also very sweet but it all comes together to allow the blackberries to shine. The chocolate in the recipe comes from the pastry which is flavoured with cocoa. I always follow Richard Bertinet’s methods for pastry but here I felt I needed to add a little more sugar than he suggests to compliment the cocoa. The pie is delicious, hot, warm or cold but I do recommend eating it with a healthy dollop of clotted cream on the side and of course a little more Soplica to aid digestion.

Blackberry Soplica and Chocolate Pie  |  Stroud Green Larder

 

Blackberry, Soplica and Chocolate Pie

350g plain flour
20g cocoa
Good pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cold
135g caster sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
425g blackberries
75g sugar
60ml Soplica
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
3 tbsp tapioca pearls
1 tbsp milk + 1 egg yolk for pastry wash

  1. First prepare the pastry by placing the flour, cocoa and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Remove the butter from the fridge and slice thinly. Add to the mixing bowl and rub it into the flour and cocoa with your fingertips until it has formed rough breadcrumbs.
  3. Tip in the caster sugar and mix in, then add the eggs and yolk and bring it all together into a dough, tipping out onto your work surface to finish the job.
  4. Weigh out 2/3 of the dough, pat into a circle then wrap in cling film. Wrap the other 1/3 in separate cling film and place both dough circles into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  5. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a large enough round to fit a 24cm round pie plate. Lay the pastry onto the plate and trim the edges. Place back in the fridge. Remove the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and roll out to about the thickness of a pound coin. Slice the dough into even strips, then arrange them in a lattice onto a plate. Place the plate in the fridge to chill.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Now you can make the filling. Place all of the blackberries into a saucepan with a splash of water, the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat gently until the blackberries have completely softened and turned into a puree.
  8. Remove from the heat then add the Soplica and tapioca pearls. Stir in until the tapioca pearls have begun to absorb the liquid from the blackberries and the Soplica has mixed in.
  9. Remove the pastry case and the lattice from the fridge. Pour the blackberry filling into the pastry case and then tip the lattice on top of the pie. Press down the edges of the pastry together.
  10. Mix together the milk and egg yolk then brush over the top of the lattice evenly.
  11. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes when the pastry will be crisp and the blackberries bubbling up from within.
  12. Serve warm with cold clotted cream.