Tag Archives: Blackberry

Leftover champagne? Say what?

Woah, 2013 needs to slow down.  I can’t quite believe that it’s already been a whole two weeks since Kat and I opened the fridge on New Year’s Day and were greeted by a rather astonishing sight: an unfinished bottle of champagne.  The concept of leftover champagne may well be foreign to you – indeed it’s an incredibly rare event when I’m involved (assuming it isn’t a case (badum-tschhhh!) of bad champagne…).  So.  What does one do with champagne leftovers?  Despite the teaspoon trick (popping a teaspoon handle down in the bottle which is magically supposed to keep most of the bubbles in, though I’m not sure how), it wasn’t in the bubbliest state so drinking it wasn’t going to be ideal.

This.  This is what you do with leftover champagne…

Baking with SpiritLuckily, the alcohol of choice for this month’s Baking with Spirit challenge is “champagne” – perfect, although that doesn’t really help in choose what exactly to make.  I feel a little guilty for missing last month’s Baking with Spirit challenge (here’s the round-up) since I went on holiday and generally ran out of time, so I wanted to make something awesome to make up for it, plus it’s also Janine’s birthday month.  That plan failed a little because after much deliberation, we settled on something not particularly original and which may seem a bit of a cop-out, but it’s so delicious that I do hope Janine will forgive me…

Oh look, a champagne cork crept into the photo and everything…

It is, of course, summer here in NZ, and summer means summer berries.  Yay!  Originally we wanted to honour the Kir Royale by poaching some blackcurrants in a champagne syrup (in case you’re not familiar with Kir Royale, it consists of crème de cassis – blackcurrant liqueur – and champagne).  However, we couldn’t find any blackcurrants – I wonder if they’re only available at farmers’ markets or at pick-your-owns.  So our idea morphed into poaching a combination of summer berries in a Kir Royale syrup.  Oh hey there decadence, how you doing?  The champagne is quite a subtle taste, coming through at the start and then turning into a deliciously fruity flavour.

Looks like decadence invited itself to this party

Simple and in SeasonI have a little confession though.  Even though summer berries are in season, we actually used a frozen summer berry mix.  Shock horror, I know, but let me explain.  For a start, I needed to create a bit of space in my freezer, but more importantly, not all of the summer berries in the mix are readily available to buy fresh – as well as the mysterious lack of blackcurrants, I’ve never seen fresh boysenberries, for example.  I’m not sure why that is because the berry mix is from a NZ farm, so they are definitely grown here.  Luckily this dessert works perfectly whether you use fresh or frozen berries.  I’m going to be cheeky and still submit this to Simple and in Season, hosted by Lavender and Lovage this month, since the berries are in season, and I’d have used fresh if I could find them all.  I might be bending the rules a little bit, so I’m just going to smile, wave and move on swiftly to the actual recipe.

Langues de chat make the perfect accompaniment for this general deliciousness

Kir Royale-poached summer berries

Serves 2
Recipe by Sharky Oven Gloves

You can use fresh or frozen berries for this dessert, but if using frozen berries, defrost them in advance and make sure to keep the juice.  You can use berries in whatever combination you like – although definitely make sure to try and get blackcurrants in there.  The dessert is best served with little biscuits to nibble on alongside (although it won’t necessarily be dairy-, egg- and gluten-free anymore) – langues de chat would work perfectly – and serving it in fancy glasses such as champagne saucers or martini glasses really dresses it up.  I sprinkled a bit of raw sugar crystals over the top but most of them ended up dissolving into the poaching liquid, so that ended up being a bit pointless.  If you have any leftover syrup, keep it in the fridge and use it to drizzle over icecream or sorbets.

Ingredients

250g mixed summer berries (blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
250g caster sugar
250ml champagne
1 tsp crème de cassis
Langues de chat or other little biscuits, to serve

Directions

1.  Add the sugar, champagne, crème de cassis and 350ml water to a medium saucepan (make sure that it’ll be large enough to fit all the fruit as well) and bring to the boil.

2.  Turn down the heat, and add the fruit (and any juice if using defrosted fruit).  Simmer for about 10-15 mins.

3.  Remove the fruit into a serving bowls or individual dishes or glasses.  Return the poaching liquid to the heat and simmer down until syrupy and reduced by half.  Spoon over the top of the fruit and serve with little biscuits on the side.

Enjoy!

Always a good sign.

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How NOT to reheat a summer fruits crumble…

We were invited to dinner at my Scottish grandma’s on Sunday, so we offered to bring dessert.  You might think we’re lovely people, but actually we just wanted to be sure that at least part of the meal would be edible (my grandma isn’t exactly renowned for her wonderful cooking).  We needed a dessert that could be made in advance and was easy to transport.  There are, of course, plenty of options, particularly with all the different fruit that are in season at the moment.  The last time we brought dessert (this is quite a regular occurrence), we’d made a rhubarb clafoutis and the time before was a tart of some description, so we decided to make a summer fruit crumble, which I’ll be submitting to this month’s Simple and in Season blog challenge.

This was an excellent occasion to make use of my awesome new Joseph Joseph mixing bowls that I won after the June Simple and in Season challenge (thanks again Ren!), and their colourfulness definitely brightened up the day.  I was actually feeling rather rotten on Sunday, and my mum did suggest that I just stay home, but I really wanted some of the delicious-looking crumble so I went along anyway (priorities and all that…).  Considering that I’ve spent most of the last three days stuck in bed with severe tonsillitis (and the reason it’s taken me so long to get this post up), that probably wasn’t the best plan, particularly considering the fate of the crumble…

We’d taken the crumble out of the oven about ten minutes or so before the end of cooking so that we could just heat it up gently once at my grandma’s and serve it warm.  What could possibly go wrong?  (Famous last words…)  About four minutes after going in the oven, a distinct smell of burning suddenly filled the air and the fire alarm went off.  Hardly a good sign.  My mum rapidly removed a heavily singed crumble from the oven and discovered that my grandma had accidentally managed to set the oven to the highest grill setting…  Not the ideal way to reheat a crumble.  Once the burnt bits were scraped off though, it still tasted delicious, so the plan to make sure that at least something was edible still worked.  For obvious reasons, I don’t have any photos of the fully singed cooked crumble, but I did take this one before we left, so just imagine it slightly more golden on top and that’s how it should have looked…

Summer fruit crumble

Serves 6
Adapted from one of my mum’s recipes

You can use any combination of fresh summer fruits depending on what is available.  Having said that, I seem to remember that we tried adding strawberries once and that didn’t actually work all that well.  I know of some people who make their crumble in a blender, but making it by hand is much better (and loads more fun!).  If you’re preparing this crumble in advance, remove it from the oven after about 20-25 mins and then just gently reheat it in the oven for about 10 mins, just before serving.

Ingredients

For the crumble:
125g unsalted butter, cubed
200g flour
125g granulated sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
200g fresh blackberries
200g fresh blueberries
200g fresh raspberries
175g fresh red currants
6-8 tbsp granulated sugar

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

2.  Cut the butter into small cubes and add to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the crumble ingredients and rub together with your fingers to form crumbs, making sure that the butter is properly broken down.

3.  Wash the fruit and pat dry.  In a large bowl, mix the fruit with the sugar until evenly coated, then transfer the fruit to an oven-proof dish (make sure the fruit come quite high up the sides of the dish).

4.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture (but don’t pat it down) and bake for 30 mins until golden.  Serve with pouring cream or ice-cream.

Enjoy!

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