British berry season

 

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LONDON – With summer here, berries are now in season and taste fantastic. I love the different varieties. There’s so much that you can make with berries. Jam is on my to do list.  But first I decided to make a British classic – Eton mess. It’s so simple and so good. My guests didn’t waste any time in eating this dessert.

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Eton Mess

  1. Crush meringues into small pieces and place in a dessert bowl.
  2. Whip some cream and small amount of sugar and spoon a few dobs on top
  3. Sprinkle liberally with berries.

According to google, Eton mess is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against Harrow School.

Note: A true Eton mess is served with strawberries. But it’s just as good with any type of berry really.

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Apple crumble

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LONDON – I’ve never been one to enjoy biting into an apple. It always makes the hair on my neck stand up. But I do enjoy the occasional golden delicious variety. However, when it comes to baking with apples, I’m a big fan.

One of my favourite recipes is apple crumble. It smells so great when it’s being prepared in the kitchen and it tastes so good. Here’s a recipe I’ve used since my varsity days. So simple.

Apple crumble

2 cans of apples (I prefer the tinned kind because they’re soaked in their juices and bake nicely)

pinch of salt

2 tbl butter, melted

1-2 tsp cinnamon

some cloves, whole

1 cup and 2 tbl sugar (I like to use a brown sugar)

1 cup oats

1 cup flour

1 cup butter

  • First, grease a baking tin. I typically use a lasagne dish. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Pour the apples into a bowl and mix with cinnamon, cloves, salt, 2 tbl sugar and 2 tbl melted butter
  • Pour the apples into the lasagne dish
  • Mix the flour, oats, remaining sugar and butter till it resembles chunky crumbs.
  • Spoon this over the apples
  • Bake for up to 1 hour or until the top is golden and crisp.
  • Best served with vanilla ice cream or double thick cream

What else are apples good for?

Scottish tablet

LONDON, ENGLAND – When I was in Scotland, I strolled up and down the Royal Mile. It’s a long street that connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, two must-see places. It’s also lined with tourist trap shops that try, in a rather tacky way, to sum up Scottish culture in a few necessary objects.The most popular of course is tartan. Then, next would be tweed, which isn’t cheap. But one thing you can buy that’s Scottish is tablet and it will only set you back £1.

No, Scottish tablet is not something to write on but rather the Scottish answer to fudge. It’s different in that it’s a bit crumblier, but it looks like the same old fudge you grew up eating. I’ll say this about tablet – it’s a mega sugar rush. I can’t eat it in large quantities at all. It’ s just too much. So Instead, I break off a bit here and there.

The good think about this recipe is that it only calls for 4 ingredients, so it’s easy to make at the end of the month when the money is thin. Take a look.

Scottish tablet

125 ml water

2 cups sugar

75 grams condensed milk

175 grams butter

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When I started making tablet, I hadn’t read the full recipe. I just started boiling the water and then chucked in the butter and away I went. I got a bit surprised when I saw that it said you needed to stir it for 20 -3o minutes by hand. I googled the recipe again in hopes of finding a shorter version. But the second recipe was almost identical in the time requirement. So I soldiered on.Scottish tablet8

My roommate said she liked it, but I think she was just being nice. It’s sugary folks. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Are there any Scottish recipes that you would recommend? Don’t say haggis!

Spring resolutions

LONDON, UK – I resolve to cook and bake more this year. Since living in London I’ve bought a number of cookbooks and yet I still buy ready meals. I used to spend a lot more time in the kitchen, but I guess I just got lazy.

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Now, instead of just page turning and admiring the photos, I’m going to focus on three books that I plan to use to sharpen my kitchen skills:

Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth by Gizzi Erskine (she owns the fabulous cafe by Columbia Road)

Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver and

Taco’s, Quesadillas and Burritos by Laura Washburn.

WARNING: I bought Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth from Anthropologie for £20. BIG mistake. It’s available on Amazon for £8.

I want to bake a cake first…I’ve already bought the 9″ cake pans. So I’m getting excited. Can you recommend any cook books?