Thursday, 29 July 2010

Summer Fruit Trifle and a very berry tea cosy

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It's about time that I wrote something I guess, before all my readers disappear. So, it was perfect timing that I hosted the Second Annual Cherry Berry Festival yesterday.


The Cherry Berry Fest was an idea my friend's daughter V came up with last year. After seeing a programme about Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's strawberry fest, she thought we should have our own version and celebrate the abundance of berries at this time of year. It was such good fun that we decided there and then to turn it into an annual event. This time round it was at my house.

Everyone invited brings along a dish containing cherries or any other berry and since that gets a little sweet, there are also some savoury dishes, but I'll tell you about some of them another time.


If your wondering where the fantastic strawberry tea cosy comes from, it was sent to me by All Tea Towels. It's a great website if you want to treat yourself or are looking for a great gift for a friend who likes kitchen things (like me). As well as my tea cosy, I really like the vintage tea towel range, expecially the ones with the the silver cutlery and tea pots.

Well, getting back to Cherry Berry, my dish this year was a summer fruit trifle. It's really easy to make (You can make it more complicated and involved if you make custard from scratch and bake your own sponge base, but why would you?) and always goes down a treat. So without much more rambling on, here's the recipe or maybe instructions is a better word....


Summer Berry Trifle (serves 6-8)

madeira cake or sponge cake, enough to line the base of your trifle bowl
1 pint custard
1/2 pint whipping cream or double cream, whipped
700gr summer fruit, washed
50 ml contreau, amaretto or sherry if you want a more traditional trifle

Pour the contrau into the base of a glass bowl.

Slice the madeira cake or sponge cake into 1 inch slices and line the bottom of the bowl with them. Pressing down so it soaks up the alcohol.

Place half of your fruit in a separate bowl and mash them with the back of a fork. I used 1 punnet of strawberries and 2 punnets of raspberries.

Spoon the fruit over the sponge and top with about half of the remaining fruit (you want to keep enough back to decorate the top of the trifle).

In another bowl stir half of your whipped cream into the custard before adding it as the next layer to your glass bowl to top the fruit.

Top the custard layer with the remaining cream. You can either just spoon it on and spread it across with a palette knife or pipe it on.

Top with the remaining fruit and chill for a couple of hours before serving.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Olive and Sundried Tomato Swirls

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The dog days are here and I hope they'll stay. It's been hot and sunny for a few weeks now and I don't yet quite believe our luck. Should we really be having a lovely summer this year? I hope I'm not cursing it by talking about it. As I type there is a fine rain falling outside my window, but it feels fresh and soothing. Ready for more sunshine to follow.

When it's really warm, I never feel like much cooking. Why would I want to turn the hob or oven on in my tiny kitchen and make it even warmer, but I still have this recipe waiting that I have been meaning to share since I had a party at the end of May.


Olive and Sundried Tomato Swirls

1 block of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 package cream cheese
1 package cream cheese with herbs
1/2 jar sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
a handful of olives, pitted and sliced
150gr gouda, grated
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas 6.

In a bowl mix all ingredients, except the puff pastry and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the block of puff pastry into a large rectangle. To make it a little easier, I divide the block into two and roll out two rectangles.

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pastry.

Starting from the long side, carefully roll up the pastry.

With a sharp knife cut the roll into 1/2 inch thick slices and place them cut side down onto a non-stick baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool on a wire rack, before serving.

These can be made a day ahead.