Balsamic Strawberries (4)

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Two flavors you may never have thought to find in the same recipe – balsamic vinegar and ripe red strawberries. I may never have tried this combination if I hadn’t been offered it at a friend’s house as the sound of it rather put me off. How wrong I was! The taste is hard to describe but suffice it to say that you get a hint of balsamic vinegar before the sweetness takes over. Best eaten the day it is made and is delicious served with meringues.

16 oz ripe strawberries – quartered and then cut into small pieces

2 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. sugar

Place strawberries in a serving bowl, pour over the vinegar, then add the sugar and stir.

Cover the bowl and leave on counter top for half an hour or so, then refrigerate for an hour before serving.

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Red Fruit Salad with Creme de Cassis or Creme de Framboise (4)

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So simple and sophisticated. The addition of a couple of tablespoons of either of the liqueurs gives the fruit salad a delicious, richer flavor. I serve it in either a large glass bowl or individual glasses. Make the salad an hour or so ahead of serving and leave out of fridge so that the liqueur can permeate the fruit and stir it periodically. Creme de Cassis and Creme de Framboise are found fairly easily in a good drinks store and a little can be added to champagne. When I serve champagne like that I add either a blueberry or a raspberry to the glass for a nice effect.

6 oz strawberries – cut into quarters

6 oz raspberries

6 oz blueberries

2 tbsp. Crème de Cassis/Framboise

Combine all the fruits in a bowl.

Pour over the Crème de Cassis/Framboise, mix the fruits together and leave for an hour outside of the fridge before serving so that the liqueur permeates the fruit. Stir periodically.

Strawberries, Blueberries and Mango with a Raspberry Coulis (serves 4)

Strawberries, Blueberries and Mango with a Raspberry Coulis (serves 4)

There are fruit salads and fruit salads. The basic store bought, pre-cut fruit variety is great for convenience but a standard mixture of melon, pineapple, strawberries and maybe some blueberries, all very healthy but not exciting. The fruit salads I grew up with were actually all from tinned fruit, which back in the day was quite exotic! Then they progressed to freshly cut up apples, pears, grapes and orange segments (often tough). I love combining different fruits into a more interesting combination. I was in a restaurant once and ordered fruit salad as it came drizzled with raspberry and mango coulis. The salad itself was OK but it was transformed by having the fruit sauces on top of it. It is as easy as taking a packet of frozen raspberries, de-frosting them and pureeing them with a little agave syrup/nectar in the food processor. I push the raspberry puree through a sieve to get rid of the pips.

 

10 oz frozen raspberries – defrosted

1 teasp. agave syrup/nectar (add more if needed, depending on your sweet tooth)

16 oz ripe strawberries – cut into small pieces

6 oz blueberries

16 0z frozen mango – defrosted

 

Puree defrosted raspberries and agave syrup/nectar in food processor and push resulting puree through a sieve then place in a bowl.

Combine rest of ingredients in a serving dish.

Serve on plates with raspberry spooned on top.

Strawberry Lemon Dressing

Strawberry Lemon Dressing

This vinaigrette will be tasteless unless made with ripe strawberries. It looks a lovely deep pinky red color. If you find the dressing a little tart, add a sugar in small amounts until you get the taste you like. I serve it with grilled, sliced chicken over arugula with slices of cucumber and a few strawberries also cut into slices – great for a summer lunch outside (maybe accompanied by a chilled Rose wine).

 

8  oz ripe strawberries

1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Puree the strawberries in a food processor, then add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote

Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote (4)

Over the years I have seen many recipes using this blend of fruits – pies, cobblers, crumbles and more. As it is the height of the strawberry season in Florida, I thought I would make a strawberry rhubarb compote – only use ripe strawberries that really taste like a strawberry. Instead of using sugar, say between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, I used 2 tbsp. organic blue agave (www.wholesomesweeteners.com) . The result was very good. The two fruits complement each other well.

If you wanted to make it and top it with meringue (see Eton Mess Recipe) in individual ramekins, I would use the juice of half an orange instead of a whole orange and then the mixture would be firmer or  you could just keep reducing the original recipe.

Just had a thought – could be made into a puree and it could be drizzled over fruit or fruit salad. I am going to drizzle it over sliced pears, I think.

3/4 pound rhubarb – rinsed and cut into 1″ pieces

Juice and pulp of 1 large orange

3/4 pound ripe strawberries – rinsed and cut in half or quarters, depending on size of strawberries

2 tbsp. agave syrup

Place rhubarb, orange juice and pulp in a saucepan and cook for 5 minutes until rhubarb is soft.

Add strawberries and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp. agave syrup and cook for a further 5 minutes.