Exotic Fruit Salad (4)

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My local Farmer’s Market has a wonderful tropical fruit stand selling a wide variety of ripe, colorful exotic fruits – some I have never seen or heard of before. One of the women behind the stand is solely engaged in making up containers of their fruit salad and these fly off the shelf with some customers eating straight from the carton as they browse the rest of the market. I think quite a few supermarkets carry these fruit too nowadays.

My fruit salad consists of mango, papaya, yellow dragon fruit (a sweeter version of the bright pink dragon fruit) and kiwi fruit. The fruit should be cut into pieces of roughly equal size. Try and make sure that some of the good juices end up in the fruit salad too.

1 mango – cut into cubes

1/2 a papaya – de-seeded and cut into cubes

1 yellow dragon fruit – cut each half into cubes

2 kiwi fruit – peeled and cut into pieces.

 

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Citrus Almond Cake (8)

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This is a cake full of surprises. It has no frosting or filling and looks rather understated except for the sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar over the top. But it is moist as can be and oozes with citrus flavor due to the orange, lemon, lime syrup which as been slowly poured over it. It can be served as a dessert but a slice would be wonderful for afternoon tea. Can be served warm or cold.

Tip – because top of cake is moist the confectioner’s sugar should be sprinkled over at last minute

Syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange

Bring water and sugar mixture to a boil.
Add juice.
Boil, stirring frequently, for around 15 minutes to reduce until it is slightly syrupy (it will not go thickly syrupy)

Cake
Canola oil for greasing a 9 inch cake tin and circle of parchment paper used to line the bottom of the cake tin.
4 x eggs – separated
Zest of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange
1/2 cup of sugar – split into 2 x 1/4 cups as it is used for 2 different purposes
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Mix egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and zest together in a food processor.
Add ground almonds, baking powder and salt to egg mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff, then add 1/4 cup of sugar a little at a time.
Fold egg whites mixture into ground almond mixture a spoonful at a time.
Put mixture into cake tin and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (check cake at 15 minutes and cover loosely with aluminum foil if it is going too brown).
Turn cake out onto a rack to cool a little bit.
When still warm place cake on a flat plate, prick all over with a fork to make holes for the syrup to enter the cake, then spoon the syrup over the cake until it is saturated taking care to moisten the sides too. Serve any leftover syrup as a sauce.

Sweet Summer Fruits (4)

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The season is short for such fruits as apricots, nectarines and peaches which makes it all the more precious. I found all three fruits in beautifully ripe condition and I sliced them up and roasted them in the oven which intensified their flavor – they were absolutely heavenly as a dessert all by themselves.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 ripe apricots – sliced

1 large, ripe nectarine – sliced

1 large peach – sliced

Place the sliced fruits on a piece of aluminum foil on a baking tray and roast in the oven for half an hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pavlova with Raspberry Puree (6 – 8)

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Divine is how one person described this dessert! I created this after mentioning to a friend that I had made a pavlova filled with whipped cream and covered in mixed berries for guests but that I hadn’t been able to eat it. She suggested substituting lemon curd for the cream and an idea began to form – lemon and raspberries go well together so how about topping the lemon curd with fresh raspberries? And then, the final piece of the puzzle, how about drizzling raspberry puree over the top?

Before starting to cook place a dinner plate on parchment paper and draw a circle around the plate and then cut out the circle. Oil a cookie sheet, place parchment circle on top and brush with oil to prevent sticking.

Place a packet of frozen raspberries to thaw in a bowl of tepid water.

Meringues are easy enough to make. The cooking process is around 2 hours (1 hour cooking on a low heat of 160 degrees fahrenheit and 1 hour still in the oven but with the heat turned off) and should not be rushed but once the meringue is in the oven you can make the lemon curd as, once made, it needs to cool and then spend an hour in the fridge.

Normally lemon curd is made with butter but I have come across a vegan butter – Earth Balance brand – and this butter has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for recipes and from reading the label it seems healthy enough too. If you want a less tart lemon curd use Meyer lemons.

MERINGUE

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F

4 egg whites (save 3 egg yolks for lemon curd recipe)

8 oz caster sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. cornstarch

Whisk egg whites until stiff (a good test to see if they are stiff enough is to turn the bowl over in the air and they should not fall out!).

Add the sugar a little at a time and then add the next 3 ingredients one after the other.

Spoon meringue mixture onto parchment paper, then shape it with your fingers until the edges of the circle are higher than the middle (like a pie shape).

Place in the pre-heated oven for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave meringue in there for another hour.

LEMON CURD

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

Juice of 2 large lemons

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 oz vegan butter – cut into small pieces

Whisk the egg yolks before adding the lemon juice and zest, then place in a pan over low to medium heat (you do not want scrambled eggs!).

Add the butter bit by bit, stirring all the time. You will notice the mixture gradually thickening and you want it to get to the point where you can see the trace of where the spoon has been and at the same time you will see that the mixture is just beginning to form little bubbles. At this point remove the pan from the heat and pour lemon curd into a glass bowl set over a bowl of iced water so the curd doesn’t continue cooking. When cool, place in the fridge for an hour or so to thicken some more.

RASPBERRIES AND RASPBERRY PUREE

1 punnet of raspberries

1 x 10 oz bag of frozen raspberries

1 – 2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar, if needed

Once the lemon curd is spooned into the meringue, sprinkle fresh raspberries over the curd then drizzle with the raspberry puree. This can be done an hour ahead of serving.

Place the thawed raspberries in a sieve and drain. Then put a bowl under the sieve and  stir with a spoon until only raspberry seeds are left in the sieve and the puree is on the bowl.

Taste the puree and if needed add confectioner’s sugar

Drizzle puree over the dessert.

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Chocolate Roulade with a Chocolate Mousse Filling (6-8)

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A completely gluten and dairy free (I can tolerate 70% and above dark chocolate) rich chocolate dessert that is a real treat at the end of a special dinner – I served it at Christmas this year and it was well received. You can make it a little in advance – up to 24 hours – which is helpful, though I would keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out. If you can find Hershey’s Cocoa 100% Cacao Special Dark it gives a really deep chocolate flavor.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  You will also need parchment paper and an 8 x 12 inch roasting tin.

Oil the roasting tin, line with parchment paper and oil the parchment paper to prevent sticking.

3 eggs – separated

4 oz. caster sugar

1 oz cocoa powder

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk with a fork.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until a little bit stiff then add the sugar and whisk until the whites are so stiff that you can turn the bowl upside down and the whites don’t fall out.

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks then sieve in the cocoa powder and continue to gently fold until the cocoa powder is evenly blended in.

Pour mixture into roasting tin and spread evenly then cook in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. When done the chocolate mixture should be firmish to the touch.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling you can make the mousse:

5 oz. of 70% dark chocolate – broken into pieces

1 oz. cocoa powder (same as above)

2 fl. oz. water

1 egg yolk – whisked

4 egg whites

1 oz. caster sugar

Place the broken chocolate in a bowl and place the bowl in a pan with several inches of boiling water. Heat gently on the stove top until the chocolate is melted. Then set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl place the cocoa powder and slowly add the water, stirring as you do so. Then slowly add the whisked egg yolk, again stirring as you do so.

Check that the melted chocolate mixture is tepid, then add the cocoa,, water, egg yolk mixture to it and stir it in. Pour/spoon mixture into a large bowl.

Whisk the egg whites and when slightly firm add the sugar and continue whisking using same principle as above (that they don’t fall out of the bowl).

Gently fold the egg whites, say a quarter of the mixture at a time into the bowl with the chocolate then spread evenly over the roulade. Place in the fridge for an 2 hours and then slowly  roll up the roulade, easing back the parchment paper as you go. Can be served immediately or up to 24 hours later.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar before serving.

 

 

 

Grilled Peaches and Plums Drizzled with Honey

Grilled Peaches and Plums Drizzled with Honey

Another one for the BBQ (or grill pan). One peach and one large plum serves 2 people (must be nice and ripe). Fruit should be brushed with extra virgin olive oil so it doesn’t stick. Spatula best thing for turning over. Equally lovely warm or cold and drizzled with raw honey (not suitable for children under one it says on the back of my raw honey)photo - grilled fruits