Stewed Blueberries with Bay Custard and Gin

This is a pretty wicked Summer dessert, definitely for hot Summer days. The beauty of it is that the custard and blueberries can be prepared ahead of time – eg the day before – and then it takes but a few minutes for the dessert to come together.

As the title suggests, blueberries, slightly stewed, are served with icecream, a bay-flavoured custard, and savoiardi biscuits soaked in gin, rosewater and blueberry syrup. It sounds amazing, right? And it is (the gin-soaked biscuits are out of this world), but the title belies the ease with which this dish is created. Best to note that it is an adult dessert only!

Of course, it is an Ottolenghi dessert, from his book Plenty More which we are trying to cook all the way through. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit our preferences and what is available from our garden, fridge and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column. In the recipe below we have substituted a custard made with custard powder for the egg-based one, as we don’t cook with eggs. It sounds horrific, I know, but I assure you it tastes just as good. Feel free to use your favourite method.

Also, blackberries are originally used by Ottolenghi but they are notoriously difficult to find here, so we have used blueberries. It might be Ok to use frozen blackberries – but warm them through with the sugar rather than cook them.

Similar recipes include Strawberry and Black Pepper Icecream, Poached Oranges with Vanilla Ricotta, and Sweet Rhubarb with Cloves and Black Pepper.

Browse all of our Blueberry recipes and all of our Desserts. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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The Ultimate Cooler – Pineapple Juice with Strawberries, Coconut and Lime

Our weather this year has seen bees and koalas dying in the heat, and tiny fruit forming drop from the trees. It has been a wicked Summer. For the first time ever I am without coriander leaves as they have burnt to a crisp.

In the heat of the Summer one of our favourite coolers is a pineapple based drink with citrus and strawberries, finished off with cooling coconut milk. I like it in the evenings with a touch of alcohol too. We rarely drink alcohol, it is just our preference, but this is one drink that will tempt me on a 40C+ day.

Similar drinks include Nimbu Sherbet, Tamarind Summer Cooler, Roasted Green Mango Drink, and Ginger Cooler.

Browse all of our Coolers and all of our Drinks. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Gin Soaked Cumquats

These little balls of sour goodness, soaked in Gin, make a great sweet preserve.

How can you not love cumquats, those little balls of sour goodness. Hard to find in this part of the world in shops, you have to know the location of a tree or have a good (Italian) neighbour. I was lucky this year, finding 2 trees in public spaces, and as few people know the delights of these golden globes, they were not much in demand. I came home with a basket full. This year I made Cumquats in Gin, and Cumquat Chutney.

You might also like to try Divine Cumquat Marmalade or Pickled Cumquats, or try some other jam – Crabapple and Pomegranate Jelly with Rosebuds.

You can also browse all cumquat recipes here. Or explore our Preserves.

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Gin and Tonic with Chilli

Sometimes, a gal just needs a gin and tonic.

Tonight, for the first time in ages, I am sitting outside in a 30C lovely summer’s evening, on the balcony overlooking the hills, sipping a (Bombay) Gin and Tonic. But with a twist.

Did you know that a a piece of chilli added to a jug of cold water adds a refreshing taste without adding chilli heat? It does the same to a glass of Gin and Tonic.

So with the twist of lemon, add a twist of chilli. That’s it!

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