Summer Strawberries, Cordial With Passionfruit And Ice Lollies

Strawberry, Passionfruit And Honey Yogurt Lolly

Strawberry, Passionfruit And Honey Yogurt Lolly

Crouching over emerald green bushes, stuffing the perfect warm summer ripeness of strawberries into my mouth, two for me, one for the punnet.  This was my summer as a child, the excitement of the start of the PYO season.  Piling into the car to make the journey out of London and into the green fields of Surrey and the strawberry farms.

Strawberries And Passionfruit

Strawberries And Passionfruit

This sweetest of fruit, that went from dearth to glut in a matter of a few sun filled days had to be picked and preserved.  The truggs were shared out, filled and another grabbed, then the fruit carefully weighed and paid for.  I’d hand over my ample collection watching the weighing, red mouthed and sticky. Then it was time to preserve the delicate fruit for the remainder of the year, producing glorious jams, tarts, cordials and if we were lucky ice lollies.  Prolonging the wonderful British summer fragrance and sweetness.

RECIPE

Strawberry And Passionfruit Cordial

Strawberry And Passionfruit Cordial

Strawberry And Passionfruit Cordial

Makes 1 and 1/2 litres, Just over 3 US pints

  • 1kg (10 cups) strawberries
  • 900g (5 cups) caster sugar
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 80g (6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) citric acid
  • Pulp and seeds from 8 passionfruit

Method

  • Remove the stalk and slice the strawberries in half
  • Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 250g of the sugar and place in the fridge over night
  • The following day, place the remainder of the sugar in a pan with 1 litre of water, bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has melted, remove from the heat
  • Place the lemon, citric acid and the passion fruit in the bowl with the strawberries, pour over the sugar syrup and stir
  • Leave to cool, then cover and place somewhere cool and dark for 3 days
  • Taste the cordial to see if it is strong enough, if not leave for a further day, then sieve into a clean jug, using a nylon sieve lined with muslin
  • Pour into sterilised bottles, seal and place in the fridge, it should keep refrigerated for up to 6 months

RECIPE

Strawberry, Passionfruit And Honey Yoghurt Ice Lolly

Strawberry, Passionfruit And Honey Yoghurt Ice Lolly

Strawberry And Passionfruit Cordial And Yogurt Ice Lolly

Makes 6 Ice Lollies

  • 2 large strawberries, sliced
  • 400ml strawberry and passionfruit cordial or bought cordial cordial
  • 200 ml of water to dilute cordial
  • 300g plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey

Method

  • Turn the freezer to the coldest setting, the faster the lollies freeze the smaller the ice crystals and the smoother the lollies
  • Place 1 slice of strawberry in each mould as close to one side as you can get it to stay
  • Dilute the cordial and fill the mould 1/3 of the way up, place in the freezer for 30 minutes  to 1 hour until slightly frozen
  • Mix the yogurt and honey together, remove the lollies from the freezer and place a wooden stick (if using) into each one, into the partly frozen mixture
  • Fill a further third of the way with the honey yogurt, place back in the freezer for an hour or so
  • Finally, fill the remainder of the mould, leaving a gap for expansion when it freezes, with the remainder of the cordial. Replace in the freezer overnight
  • To remove from the lolly moulds dip into hot water for a minute and then ease the lolly out, if stuck repeat

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Eating Rio – Part One

Selaron Self Portrait As A Pregnant Woman

Selaron Self Portrait As A Pregnant Woman

Staring at the pregnant Man/Woman on the tiled steps in Lapa made me understand the diversity of Rio and of the food to be found there.  We were half way through our food tour and the brightly coloured steps, all the work of Escadaria Selaron, (the pregnant man/woman in the tiled self portrait) were mobbed with tourists and locals alike.

Selaron Steps

Selaron Steps

The guy strumming his weathered, scratched guitar good naturedly offered his leite de onça (cachaça with condensed milk) from a re-used water bottle.  Students scrambled up the side plinths and posed for Selfies and children ran up and down the stairs, red faced and panting by a third of the way up.  A constant samba beats an accompaniment to the rise and fall of the multilingual crowd, while the Carioca (Rio locals) simply used the steps to get from Lapa to Santa Theresa.

Nova Capela, White coated Waiters And Neon Chope Sign

Nova Capela, White coated Waiters And Neon Chopp Sign

We’d begun in a very traditional bar in Lapa, a Boteco.  This bastion of the sixties had changed very little since then, either inside or out, but it was to be our first introduction to the real city away from our indulgent hotel and an opportunity to see the edgy, street art and food heart of Rio

Brazilian cod balls

Bolinho De Bacalhau

Four golden breadcrumbed balls of Bolinho De Bacalhau, with little flecks of green were served on a plate with a Choppé each (pronounced shoppie) a tall glass of very cold beer with the essential foamy head.  Typical Boteco food, crispy coated Norwegian salt cod mixed with potato, coriander and a little onion.  In the cool, dimly lit bar, served by white coat clad waiters, we were introduced to the others on the food tour and the plans for tasting the real Brazil.

Rio Street Art, Including A Piece By Selaron On The World Cup

Rio Street Art, Including A Piece By Selaron On The World Cup

We’d been told that graffiti was everywhere in Rio.  Whilst that’s true, most of it is as far from the careless tags we see daubed here, as you can get.  This is genuine street art, often with a political and social undercurrent but always bold, expressive and super-sized.  A short walk from the Boteco led us past streets of amazing activist work, commentary on the Favelas, the World Cup and religion.  Until we came to the ultimate in graffiti and those steps I mentioned.

The banana Seller In The Rio Market

The banana Seller In The Rio Market

We arrived at the market crossing the narrow street between candy coloured houses.  Sturdy upturned wooden and plastic crates crossed with rough planks made up the stalls. The fish stacked high on a bright blue and white cloth, the seaside look belying the fishy stench.  This is not a world of iced meat and fish, this is stack it and sell it.  But the turn over was brisk with money changing hands as fast as the hawkers could move the goods.

Stacked Fish; Spice grinder; Chillies To Choose From

Stacked Fish; Spice grinder; Chillies To Choose From

Markets abroad are always treasure troves of colour and new produce to discover.  Rio had so much to offer, swathes of brightly coloured chillies from the hot to the blindingly unbearable.  Red, orange and brilliant green, laid out in perfect rows.  Then, lines of purple striped garlic, the outer skin peeled to reveal fat cloves clustered around the central core.  The stalls seemed to specialise.  On one, varieties of frothy green lettuces, another bright tomatoes in every size and colour. Yet another, tiny bananas, oozing sap and sweetness.  I was astonished that the grapefruit, large and yellow splodged with green, turned out to be passion fruit.  Very much larger and more yielding than the ones we see in the UK, but so very sweet and tart.

Making Tapioca pancakes

Making Tapioca pancakes

After tasting some of the fruit we moved on to the Manioc pancake stand, tapioca to most of us, which is a staple in Rio for both savoury and sweet dishes.  Dry tapioca is thrown into smoking iron pans over portable burners.  As it heats up the tapioca melds together creating a white crepe, this is spread with a surprisingly prosaic choice of fillings, mine was cheese and tomato and then flipped in half and served.  Delicious but with a distinctive nobbly texture.

Spices; Bananas; Frothy Lettuces; Persimmons

Spices; Bananas; Frothy Lettuces; Persimmons

The next stall held brightly coloured piles of ground spices peeping from plastic carrier bags wedged tightly together.  Beige, sunshine yellow, bright red, jet black, ochre and dusky brown, like a palette of children’s powder paints.  The aroma sweet and peppery.   An old fashioned hand grinder, precariously clamped to an unsteady looking crate was ready to grind to order whole spices.

Pouring sugar cane juice

Pouring Sugar Cane Juice

The noise from the crowd grew louder competing with the grind of a portable machine in the corner as the road took a sharp left turn.  Awnings threw into deep shade the spitting vats that were being used to cook the empanadas. In the back of a van sugar cane was being forced into a whining, clanking machine to produce a semi opaque green tinged drink. Neat Sugar  in a glass.  With the addition of a squeeze of lime it was drinkable but not by the half pint glasses it was being served in.

Toffee covered condensed milk sweets

Toffee covered condensed milk sweets

Wafting up the street from the end of the market, was the distinctive sweet smell of boiling sugar.  Laid out in front of large shallow toffee making pans were polythene bags of condensed milk balls covered in crispy toffee, like golden Maltesers.  Grabbing a bag of these wonderful treats we made our way back to the main road and into the bright Rio sunshine.

Tom from Eat Rio is a consummate foodie with a great knowledge of Rio life, politics and the underbelly of conspiracy theories.  We had a fab day with him and I would strongly recommend his tour.  It was a lucky find on Google.

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A Persiana Tasting Lunch With Sabrina Gayhour

Sabrina Ghayour Signing Her Book Persiana

Sabrina Ghayour Signing Her Book Persiana

Sabrina Gayhour described herself as  “… not a chef, I’m the dorky events girl who liked food.”  She’s proof that sometimes being made redundant can be the best thing that happens to you.  I wonder, if she’d still been in events marketing, if she would’ve dug into her Persian heritage and set up her very successful, Sabrina’s Kitchen Supper Club? Or produced a wonderful cookery book, Persiana,  full of glorious Middle Eastern flavours? Continue reading

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Celebrate The World Cup! An Argentinian Parilla Style Steak And Chimichurri Sauce With Oxo Goodgrips

OXO Good Grips Instant Read Thermometer and Salad Dressing Shaker

OXO Good Grips Instant Read Thermometer and Salad Dressing Shaker

Reproducing food from a trip abroad can sometimes be challenging, especially when hard to find ingredients or complex ways of cooking are involved.  None of that when you cook Argentinian Parilla style, especially with the help of two great kitchen gadgets from OXO Good Grips. The new Salad Dressing Shaker allows you to fill to the measured marks and then shake all the ingredients together.  The easy pour and seal spout allows effortless serving and is great for storing  in the fridge.  The Instant Read Meat Thermometer really does take the guess work out of rare, medium, well done.  Just pop the end into the meat for an instant read out. Continue reading

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Nanaimo Bars For Canada Day

Canada Day

Celebrate Canada Day (Stock photo)

Imagine a refrigerator cake with a base of chocolate, nuts, butter, coconut and Digestives. Topped with a layer of vanilla buttercream, nostalgically flavoured with Bird’s custard  and then topped with chocolate ganache. Is it any wonder that the recipe for Nanaimo Bars, first recorded in the early 1950s in Nanaimo Canada, has barely changed?  Perfect for celebrating Canada Day on July 1st. Continue reading

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Wimbledon Inspired Strawberry Champagne Dessert

Rosé And Strawberry Champagne Jelly With Vanilla cheesecake Strawberries And Chantilly Cream

Rosé Champagne Jelly With Strawberries, Vanilla cheesecake And Chantilly Cream

Wimbledon holds a special place in the British summer even if you’re not a tennis fan.  Beforehand there’s much discussion, typically about the weather, with reminders of 1976 when the games were played in 90 degree heat.  Then there’s the boosting of any British players and the wishes that they’ll win, however likely or unlikely.  Talk of success, congratulations and dashed hopes and then there’s strawberries. Continue reading

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Picnic In The Park And Stuffed Roast Quail

Roasted Stuffed Quail With Salad

Roasted Stuffed Quail With Salad

I threw the blanket out in front of me, snapping it in the breath of wind, to make it lie flat on the freshly cut grass.  The mid summer day had been sticky and heavy, but a gentle evening breeze was cooling the London air.  At fourteen, this was the first open-air concert I’d been to at Kenwood House.  I knew nothing of the previous owner Lord Mansfield and his niece Dido who is now the Heroine of the film Belle. Continue reading

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Keeping A Travel Notebook

Keep Your Travel memories fresh

Keep Your Travel memories fresh

Do you go on trips, have an amazing time full of lots of new experience that you’re sure you’ll never forget and 6 months later, it’s all faded?  I got into the habit of carrying a note book when I studied fashion at Uni.  It was important to be sketching all the time and to remember what I saw when I was shopping, have somewhere to stick fabric swatches, bits of colour that were interesting and the business cards of contacts and suppliers. Continue reading

Dulce De Leche Banana Brownies

Dulche De Leche Banana Chocolate brownies

Dulche De Leche Banana Chocolate brownies

I love cooking with chocolate, although to be fair, I’m more of a fan of dark chocolate than any other.  Mr Glam and The Glam Teens/20 somethings all favour white chocolate and sometimes this causes a dilemma – to go over board sweet or dark and sultry.  Even I can’t eat a whole chocolate cake or dessert.  So the white chocolate usually wins out.  But I’ve discovered a mid way solution. Continue reading

Elderflower And Pomegranate Cordial

Elderflowers In The Hedgerow

Elderflowers In The Hedgerow

Campions and wild carrots are in full bloom in the long grass, daisies stride across our lawn and the wild cherries burst in brilliant red from the trees.  Dog roses bob gently in the breeze, curling in and out of the honeysuckle.  The gentle fragrance of elderflowers wafts up the lane as the warmth of the sun releases the scent of summer.  This is what you bottle when you make elderflower cordial. Continue reading