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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Beat the heat with a Greek salad!

My kids are on their summer break, hence my lack of posting. The weather has been hot and humid - I have even fished out my shorts!

For lunch I made a little Greek salad, perfect for this kind of weather - no cooking involved. Greek salads seem to be popping up everywhere of late, this one is exactly like the one I had on my honeymoon in Zakynthos (Zante), many moons ago.

Greek salad 4335 R
Without the tuna

Greek Salad
Serves 2

1 cucumber
4-5 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
A handful of black olives
Feta cheese, cut into small pieces
1 can of tuna, optional
Extra virgin olive oil, good quality
Red wine vinegar
Oregano, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper to taste
Crusty French bread to mop up the juices

Peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Slice it up into bite sized pieces. Chop up the plum tomatoes and slice the red onion into thin rings. Mix together and place into 2 bowls.

Scatter the olives, feta and tuna (if using) over the tomatoes, cucumber and onion salad.

Measure 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano (½ if using dried) and some salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and pour over the salad.

Serve with crusty bread.

(Printable Recipe)

Beat the heat logo

This is going to go to an event called Beat the Heat, being hosted by A Southern Grace. the deadline is August 8th, so you still have a week to get your entries in.

Greek salad with tuna 4343
With the tuna and crusty bread

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

Monday, 21 July 2008

Mexican Layered Dip

Mexican layered dip and cacti chips 4206 R

Last weekend, we went to my sister's house for a family get-together as my brother and his partner were visiting from Colorado. We had not seen him since my sister's wedding nearly 4 years ago. I was given a fabulous new cook book, New West Cuisine, thanks A and S!

One of the dishes I took along was a Mexican layered dip. It's easy to put together and travels well. You can cut the calories by using low fat cream cheese, mayonnaise and cheddar. Serve with lime tortilla chips, or plain ones. The saguaro chips are made from multi-seed tortillas, using a shaped cookie cutter, they are then baked in the oven.

Mexican layered dip with chip 4203 R

Mexican Layered Dip
Use low fat cream cheese, mayo and cheddar for a healthier option.

3 x 215g tins of spicy refried beans, I used Discovery
200g soft cream cheese with herbs
A couple of tablespoons mayonnaise
100g grated cheddar cheese
2 ripe, plum tomatoes, chopped
A handful of black olives, sliced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1 red chilli pepper, finely sliced (optional)

Spread the refried beans in a serving dish that is about 200mm/8" square.

Mix the cream cheese with the mayonnaise and spread this over the top of the refried beans.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on the top of the cream cheese mixture, followed by the chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, spring onions, red peppers and finally the sliced chillies.

(Printable Recipe)

Mexican layered dip with cacti chips 4128 R

Tried, tested and true 2

This Mexican layered dip is being served up at the second Tried, Tested, and True event, hosted by Equal Opportunity Kitchen. The emphasis is on healthy lower fat dishes, that are family favourites. This event also aims to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

Mexican layered dip 4192 R

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

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Strawberry Glory for SHF #45

meringue 3939

I like to make meringues in the summer, they go well with the fruits that are available and you can store them in an airtight container for a good few weeks, if not longer.

Balsamic vinegar is the perfect partner to strawberries, and when I read that Brilynn was roasting her strawberries with balsamic, I had to give it a go. More than one go, three goes actually!

Can I say... A M A Z I N G?

balsamic roasted strawberries 3922 R sabalsamic roasted strawberries 3982 R

Last week, on the F Word, Gordon Ramsay made a dessert called Strawberry Glory. He fried his strawberries with some icing sugar and balsamic vinegar, then layered them in a glass with meringues and crème pâtissière. Here's my version.

Layer the following in a glass:

Brilynn's Balsamic roasted strawberries (which she adapted from
Zoë Bakes)
Whipping cream that has been whipped to soft peaks
Crushed meringues

Repeat layers, and add a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on the top.

balsamic roasted strawberries  4019 r

I am sending the Strawberry Glory over to Susan at Food Blogga, who is hosting this month's Sugar High Friday - the theme is berries. This event was created by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess. You can see all the previous themes here.

The meringue photo is my entry into this month's Snackshots, hosted by Michelle at Greedy Gourmet.


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

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Waiter, there's something in my... summer berry mille feuille!

Summer berry mille-feuille 3862 b

A mille feuille (also known as a vanilla slice or custard slice) is a great dessert to make in the summer, when there is an abundance of fresh fruits available. Our garden raspberries are ripening and the strawberries are sweet at this time of year, but the ingredient elevating this mille feuille to a super-dessert is the cream.
I really like the custard cream from this strawberry cream cake recipe, and while whipping the filling for this layered dessert, I had one of those rare (for me) eureka moments. White chocolate! Melted white chocolate in custard cream!

WTSIM logo

Jeanne from Cook Sister!, is hosting this month's Waiter, There’s Something In My…. event, and she's asking for berry recipes. I hope she likes this as much as my family did!

Summer Berry Mille Feuille
A selection of fruit/berries - I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
White chocolate cream, recipe below
3 puff pastry sheets, or flaky pasty can be used instead

For The Pastry
500g all butter puff pastry,
Icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Roll out the pastry out to a square measuring roughly 12" by 12" (30 x 30 cm). If you don't have a baking sheet that is the right size, you can cut the pastry into 3 strips and bake them on separate sheets.

Place the pastry onto a baking sheet and prick the surface all over with a fork. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 10-15 minutes until nicely browned.

Cut the pastry into 3 equal strips, you can take a couple of millimeters off the edges to make them neater if you want. Dust with icing sugar and caramelise the sugar under a hot grill, or use a kitchen blow torch as I did. Caramelise both sides. Store the pastry strips in an airtight container until ready to use.

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.

To Assemble The Mille Feuille
On your serving dish, place one strip of pastry (saving the best looking one for the top) and spread a quarter of the cream over it. Sprinkle with your choice of fruits, I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Spread with another quarter of the cream.

Lay another pastry sheet on top and repeat the cream/fruit filling. Top with the final sheet of pastry and dust heavily with icing sugar.
Place any leftover fruits around the edge and slice to serve.

(Printable Recipe)

Summer berry mille-feuille 3862

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