Today is the second of January. It’s also the day that I’ve used to set some intentions for 2017 – this beautiful, big new year we have ahead of us. Rather than set resolutions (as i’m terrible at keeping them), I chose a word for the year and set some small goals that resonate with the theme. I feel good about it and might expand a little later in the year but for now I just want to start, especially as, after reflection, 2016 can be crowned the year of procrastination.
I’ve never been the biggest stone fruit fan that I can remember. Maybe they weren’t as abundant in the UK when I was young as they are here. Nowadays though I find myself doing a little skip towards the nectarines, craving fresh apricots and willing the plums on the tree to be ready. We have a sprawling plum tree at my rental that last year produced bowls and bowls of red flesh plums but this year I have had to resort to buying some as the haul didn’t seem as fruitful! These guys will no doubt be leaving soon as Autumn knocks on the door so i’m trying to use as many as I can and embrace them before they’re gone.
I think plums are best when they’re a little firm and just tart enough they make your lips pucker. These were perfect. I also get a lot of satisfaction from being able to pit stone fruit cleanly without ending up with fruit mush in my hands. Does anyone else get that? I think i’ve finally nailed it this summer which has been excellent. The honey in the recipe cracks through the sourness of the fruit and drizzled atop softly frozen cheese it is just, well try it to see but it I think the word divine should be used abundantly and loudly. I have a penchant for unfussy cheesecake, no baking, no gelatine, so this is pretty much as simple as it gets.
I love vegan ice-cream! This one has a touch of sugar in but I’m going to work on a version without refined sugar – this is mostly because I want to eat it for breakfast guilt free. Sugar is the only element I wouldn’t normally have in the morning so I’ll keep you guys updated on all ‘ice-cream for breakfast’ related endeavours!
I’ve been in love with berry picking since forever! I remember going to a gorgeous spot in Cornwall as a kid and picking berries with the family, and wandering down country lanes and picking blackberries from the hedge. It’s also pretty interesting to me how many times I’m typing about a memory and it’s about my Grandad (Mum, maybe you’ll have to show him!)
Last week I went twice, which may seem a little excessive but I promise there has been no strawberry waste! My favourite local haunt is Garelja Bros Strawberry Garden at 83 Old North Road in Kumeu. It’s only 20 minutes out of the city and so easy to find – a friend introduced me last year and I love it. It’s not fussy and this year at just $6 a kilo it’s ridiculously cheap, and easy to get carried away – you should have seen my sink when I got home!
I decided to use my scarlet plunder to bake a Strawberry tart which I had been craving for a long time! The tart is rich, smooth and creamy but in no way does it overwhelm how juicy, ripe and perfect the strawberries are this time of year. It’s pretty much a copycat of Little and Friday’s recipe in their book ‘Celebrations’ but because I’m terrible at following a recipe it’s not quite the same. There’s a layer of raspberry chia jam under a pile of vanilla whipped cream and on top of a créme pâtissiére tart filling. There’s no blind baking as you bake the filling which is great. We even had leftovers for mini tarts, which I like a lot.
Ice Cream has to be my biggest weakness.
This is pretty great ice cream too. It’s made with organic dairy (thanks Lewis Road Creamery), free range organic eggs, organic golden caster sugar and some homegrown Meyer lemons, grown by my dad (thanks Dad), and they’re pretty fabulous. His tree literally drips with these beautiful, perfectly formed lemons, we can never get through them however hard I try.
A few weeks ago I was in San Fransisco and stopped by Bi-Rite Creamery. I did my homework before I went and this was on my must-try list (note, not must-dos, food was a priority). It was just, the whole experience was perfect, the staff are fantastic, so lovely, and there were so many tasters and then once i’d finally chosen there was a perfect marble slab outside for taking a photo. I’m getting excited thinking about it. They also have a book, which I bought, and which will more than likely supply the basis for a lot of future ice-cream recipes. Pictured below I tried Strawberry-Balsamic, Basil and Honey-Lavender. Amazing, different, simple, look them up if you’re ever over that way! I also liked there sister store, Bi-Rite Market which had so much organic, local produce and supplies – I wish I had been there long enough to sample more.