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.
I love cooking for other people. No other way around it, I find myself swelling with happiness when someone is fed and full and content. I definitely use food to connect with people and reconnect when i’ve been a slack friend or sister or daughter. I want to try and do this every month, have an indulgent supper where it’s all about food and beautiful people.
I don’t like to plan these dinners days in advance, they’re meant to be after work easy so you can enjoy as much of your Sunday as possible – which I did. A slow morning at the pool and then the markets, collecting all sorts of fresh treats – like the fresh ricotta from Il Casaro. Their cheeses are gorgeous. You can find them at Parnell Farmers Markets, behind the library on the weekends. Sample a few if you can, I am just itching for an occasion to try their black mozzarella! I had to fit the ricotta into dinner somehow and what better way than simply with strawberries and a little sweetener. I also had a hankering for gratin so picked up some kumara and also grabbed some courgette to make a simple salad. Of course we had bread too because i’m a huge fan of dinner with lots of bits to pick and dip!
There’s a few recipes today so i’ll keep the chat short. We had supper for two plus some leftovers for lunch on Monday (don’t miss out on the leftovers!). Everything is optional and because it’s the end of the week remember to just use what you have – if you have potatoes not kumara, that’s ok, just cook for longer. Same thing if you don’t have cream or milk, just use what you have up to the total liquid amount (the gratin is simple and doesn’t use a béchamel, which I always find a little too heavy). Do make an effort to get fresh ricotta for dessert though, it melts in your mouth and you won’t regret it!
This one is a real spring salad! I spent my Saturday morning foraging (city-foraging) at the Parnell Farmer’s Markets and picked up some delicious greens that I just couldn’t wait to get home. Just before I left I thought I would treat myself to some oil and I am so glad I did. Ti Kouka Estate are frequent visitors at the market and their oil really is beautiful. I have so many olive oil memories, theirs is delicious and brings them all back.
My Grandad has had a salad, every lunchtime for as long as I can remember, he drizzles it with olive oil, a touch of salt and pepper and it’s ready. I remember being with him during school holidays, or if I was sick, and being so excited for lunch, I can still taste the oil now! Suffice to say, me and olive oil go way back!
The Ti Kouka oil i’ve used for this salad is their lemon variety. The lemons have their peels taken off finely before being pressed with the olives and the result is amazing. The oil has a real depth whilst still tasting light and fresh. Completely different to if you were to just add lemon juice to a dressing.