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Friday, 27 June 2008

Leftover Strawberry Tartlets

Did you know that around a third of all the food we buy ends up being thrown away? That staggering information is according to research by WRAP, a UK government funded agency.

I like to think that I am quite good when it comes to buying the right amount of food to meet our needs. Even so, I am guilty of throwing some food away, I would by lying if I told you I used everything up.
When buying fresh produce, the thing that really makes me want to scream, is BOGOF (buy one, get one free.) I don't want 2 massive cauliflowers, or 2 packs of 10 oranges. Sell it to me at half price please! And what's my mum going to do with 2 pineapples? She lives on her own and only has a tiny freezer.

A campaign called Love Food Hate Waste is aiming to raise awareness of the need to reduce the amount of food that we throw away. The website has plenty of recipes, tips and even advice on how to save money on your food bill.

Reduce food waste - Love Food Hate Waste

PS. It's not just good food going to waste, there are serious implications for the environment as well. My family recycles as much as we can, we are lucky to have the space to do so. There are collections in my village for the newspapers and cardboard. I take all the glass bottles and cans to the nearest recycling centre, but have to go to the nearest town with the plastic containers and that is always full.

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This brings me nicely to my little strawberry cream tarts. Made entirely from leftovers! The pastry came out of the freezer, leftover from this recipe, the blueberries and strawberries are from my summer berry mille feuille recipe, along with the fabulous white chocolate custard cream.

This is also my entry for In the Bag, being hosted by Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie. The ingredients this month are strawberries and white chocolate.

Strawberry Tartlets with White Chocolate Cream
Amounts are a bit vague, and depends on the amount of pastry/fruit/cream you have to use up.

Cooked tartlet cases, made from sweet tart dough recipe below
White chocolate cream, made from the recipe below
Blueberries, or blueberry sauce from this recipe

White chocolate cream

1 cup double cream
½ cup custard, good quality if shop bought
5oz white chocolate, melted

Whip the cream to soft peaks, then whip in the custard.
Melt the white chocolate and when it has cooled, fold it into the cream.

Sweet Tart Dough
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

8oz plain flour
2oz icing sugar
4oz butter, cut into cubes
pinch salt
1 large egg yolk

Using a food processor, blend the flour, icing sugar and pinch of salt with the cubes of butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and pulse gently until the pastry comes together. If the pastry is not binding properly, your egg yolk may not have been big enough, so add a little water or milk, a teaspoon at a time until it does come together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to fit your tart tin. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and put it buttered side down on the pastry, bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until nicely browned.

Note: Dorie recommends pressing the dough evenly into the tin - I prefer rolling the pastry out with a rolling pin, as I get a more even sheet.

(Printable Recipe)

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.


Thursday, 26 June 2008

Awards, Tags and Thanks!

I seem to have accumulated a few blog awards and tags, and I'm going to pass a couple of them on to a few blogs that I discovered recently.

I love you this much award logo
First up is a cute I love you this much award, from Grace at A Southern Grace. Thank you Grace.

I am passing it on to a blog that makes me smile, laugh and has great food - what more could you want?
Ann at Velvet Lava

Yummy blog award logo
This Yummy Blog Award is from Susan at Food Blogga, and from Pam at The Backyard Pizzeria. Thank you both!

It's going to blogs with fabulous food photos!
Aran at Cannelle et Vanille
Diva at The Sugar Bar
Candace & Stephan at I Shot The Chef
Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

You make  my day award logo Excellence award logo
Thanks so much to Miri at Room for Dessert for the You Make My Day Award and the 'Excellence' award. I passed these on recently, you can see the recipients here and here.

Deeba from Passionate About Baking and Valli from More Than Burnt Toast, gave me a tag with 30 questions. I need to give this some thought...... LOTS of thought.....! Don't hold your breath!

Actually, question no. 22 asked me to write one nice thing about the person who sent the questions. I am going to answer that one, it's easy!!
I love Deeba's enthusiasm for life, her passion for cooking and her fabulous photos. That's 3... oh well!
And, I wished Valli lived near to me, she would make a great friend. She always welcomes new bloggers and shares fabulous family recipes too.
That's another 3! Now you can see why I only answered one question!

Beth from Jam and Clotted Cream has also tagged me for this one, thank you! Check out her blog, she has some great recipes!

Deeba also tagged me for my top 10 photos. If you look to the sidebar on the right, you can find some of the photos that I like. I'm still learning about food photography, any hints and tips are welcome!

Arte Y Pico logo
Thanks to Rosie from Rosie Bakes A Piece Of Cake, and to Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, for the Arte y Pico award. I also gave this one out recently, see the blogs I gave it to here.

And finally, Jan from What Do I Want To Cook Today gave me another tag with tons of questions. If you don't mind Jan, I'll save that one for a rainy day!!

Phew! I think that everyone is accounted for; let me know if you tagged me and I missed you, so I can give you a shout-out!


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Cool Coffee Granita

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Warm sunny days are on their way. Those hazy, lazy days when pottering in the garden is mandatory, and frozen treats are to be enjoyed in the deckchair.

I've already made this coffee granita twice. It's not one of those overly sweet, sickly desserts, it's more of a grown up treat that's perfect after dinner. What's more, you don't need an ice cream maker for it.

Coffee Granita
Adapted from The Best of Sainsbury's Desserts, now out of print
4 servings

75g (3oz) soft light brown sugar
600ml (1 pint) water
2 tablespoons coffee granules (I used a hazelnut flavoured coffee)

Place the sugar and water into a large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes, add the coffee and then leave to cool.

Pour into a rigid freezer-proof container, cover and freeze for an hour. Once it has begun to freeze, break up the frozen bits with a fork and return to the freezer. Check the granita every 30 minutes or so and keep breaking up any large crystals with the fork, until you have lovely fine, icy crystals.

2 tablespoons Tia Maria
120ml (4 fl oz ) whipping cream, whipped
chocolate shavings

To serve: spoon the granita into glasses, pour over a little liqueur, then top with a spoon of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

(Printable Recipe)

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This is heading over to an event called You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts! It's being hosted by Mike's Table and I can't wait to see the round-up - there's going to be loads of ideas for frozen desserts - so keep your fingers crossed for warm sunny days ahead!

The round-up is now posted, see it HERE!

Scream for iceccream event logo


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Easy Party Crostini

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After puddings and desserts, my favourite things to eat are little savoury nibbles. The first thing I do at a party is to sidle over to the food and check out the appetizers/hors'doeuvres/cocktail bites/canapes or whatever you want to call them. Then I usually make a mental note of my favourites to make at home.

The simple ones are usually the most popular - which is good because you can make a ton of them to satisfy your guests.

These little crostini were made from day-old French bread, which was sliced, and the slices were then cut in half again. Brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic, then grill them on both sides until golden. Slice or crumble your choice of blue cheese on the top, add a sun dried tomato and a basil leaf. I like the tomatoes that come in the olive oil with herbs.

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My crostini nibbles are off to a party, being hosted by What's For Lunch Honey? Appetizers & Hors'Doeuvres!
Hope to see you there!!


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 6 June 2008

A Winning Small Cake!

I am chuffed to bits! This week I found out, that I am the winner of a lovely signed cake book by Roger Pizey, a professional baker and patissier!

A couple of months ago, I spotted a little competition in the food section of The Guardian: Weekend magazine. You had to enter a photo of your best small cake.
Easy? NO!!! Having a passion for baking, and cakes being quite high on the baking list, it was going to be hard to decide. In the end, the decision was made by the boys, they wanted coffee cupcakes.

If you are a regular reader, you might be thinking that the photo looks a bit like the cappuccino muffins that I posted about just after Christmas. I have to agree, they do look similar. BUT, these little cakes are far lighter in texture and were made using a classic Victoria sponge recipe, and baked in a flexible silicone brioche mould. I did pinch the topping from the muffins, as it's one of our favourites.

Thank you Dan Lepard, who writes the baking column, and the team from The Guardian for picking my photo - I am thrilled!

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Cappuccino Cupcakes

Makes approx 7-8 medium sized cupcakes

100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
100g/ 4oz vanilla sugar
2 large eggs
100g/4oz self raising flour
1-2 tablespoons instant coffee powder, depending on how strong you want them
1 small bag chocolate chips (100g)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - I use an electric hand whisk.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little flour with each egg, and all of the coffee powder.

Gently fold in the rest of the flour, followed by the chocolate chips. Spoon into well greased muffin cups or paper cupcake cases.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.

When cool, top with the cappuccino mascarpone topping.

Cappuccino Topping

6-8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla caster sugar (or plain caster sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
½ teaspoon instant coffee powder
¼ cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese, vanilla sugar and coffee powder together until blended. I just use a spoon to mix it together.

Add chocolate chips and spread onto cupcakes.

Dust with a cocoa powder/sugar mixture.

(Printable Recipe)This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Tango with a Mango

I'm in love! I've fallen for a beautiful lip smackin', thirst quenchin' mango sorbet!

Ever since I caught sight of the sorbet, on Cynthia's Tastes Like Home, I knew it had my name on it. Tropical, sensual and luscious - I had to have it. The recipe had been within my grasp all along, I just hadn't realised. With sweaty palms and trembling fingers, I turned to page 108 of The Perfect Scoop.

It smiled at me, I licked my lips.... it was mine.

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It can be yours too...

Mango Sorbet
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

2 large, ripe mangoes (2lbs)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon dark rum, plus more to taste.
Pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut the juicy flesh from the stones.

Cut the flesh into chunks and put them in a blender, along with the sugar, water, lime juice, rum and the pinch of salt. Squeeze any remaining juice out of the mango and add it to the blender.

Puree the mixture until smooth. Taste the mixture and add more lime juice, or rum, as required.

Chill the mixture thoroughly before churning in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Put the sorbet into a freezer-proof container and pop into the freezer.

(Printable Recipe)

The mango sorbet photo is my very first entry into 'Click' a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri
It's a special edition in honour of Briana Brownlow - read about the fundraiser here.


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 2 June 2008

An Appeal For Bri

This is an appeal on behalf of a group of food bloggers who are friends of Briana Brownlow @ Figs With Bri.

Bri was diagnosed with breast cancer two and half years ago. A mastectomy, chemotherapy and two years of relatively good health later, the cancer is back. It has metastasized to other parts of her body. At the age of 15, Bri lost her 41-year old mother to the disease. Now, she’s waging her own war against breast cancer. More about it here.

She is going through intensive chemo and other treatments and needs to focus single-mindedly on healing and finding what treatment works best for her. Her health insurance, unfortunately, does not cover holistic alternatives which she would like to try. Bri and her husband Marc have enough on their plates right now in addition to worrying about her medical bills.

The team organising the JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi has organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

CLICK is a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri

Yellow is the colour of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer.

The entries can be viewed HERE. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008.

The target amount is 12,000 U.S. dollars. We appeal to our fellow bloggers and readers to help us achieve this. Bri deserves a chance to explore all options, even if her insurance company thinks otherwise.

There’s a raffle with exciting prizes on offer. After viewing the list, you may make your donation HERE or at the Chip-In button on any participating site.

Your donation can be made securely through credit card or Pay Pal and goes directly to Bri’s account.

This month’s photo contest also has some prizes. Details HERE.

You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign.