Strawberry Trifle with White Chocolate & Saffron Ganache

s8An afternoon spent by the lake? For me, that is sadly a rare occasion. The hours in the day are simply not enough and my ‘to-do’ list keeps growing longer and longer. It’s easy to bury yourself in work, doing things that seem important but, in the grand scheme of things, it might not make a big difference whether they get done today or another day. s1

Your own self being on the other hand, well, that is important. There’s only one of you. Take care of yourself. Spoil yourself once in a while by giving yourself time – even if it’s not there. Find it, and do something you really want to do. 

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I felt I needed a ‘me’ day. Well, a half ‘me’ day anyway. I got up early, did some painting on the house to make sure I had accomplished something productive, then, after lunch, I exhaled and smiled. It was time to go. s2

On a sunny day, spending it by the water is what I enjoy the most. There is nothing more tranquil and relaxing. Soothing for your soul. I interact with a lot of people every week, so for me this is a great way to zen out. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget about the rest of the world, when all you hear is the waves making their final crescendo against the shore.

I was still able to hunt down some county strawberries, so a fresh strawberry trifle was a marvellous addition to a sun filled afternoon by the water. For this recipe I replaced the vanilla custard, which is usually used, with a white chocolate ganache with saffron. 

Have you ever had strawberries and saffron before? I hadn’t but sure will again!s5

White Cake:

3 egg

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup cold milk

Ganache:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 pinch saffron strands

200g white chocolate

2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups cream, whipped

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a blender, whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and add slowly to the egg mixture. Add vanilla and milk and mix on low until just blended.

Pour into a greased springform pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 min, or until golden and centre of the cake is set. Leave in pan while cooling. 

Ganache:

While the cake is in the oven, make the ganache. 

In a medium sauce pan, bring cream and saffron to a boil. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Stir until melted. Let cool.

Assembly:

In a large glass bowls or 6 individual glasses, repeat layers of cake, ganache, strawberries and cream. Finish off with a layer of whipped cream and a drizzle of ganache. 

Can be made a few hours in advance if kept in the fridge.

*Before assembling, taste the ganache to know the level of saffron. Remember it’s fairly pungent, so add the ganache accordingly.s7s6s3

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Oregano and Strawberries

t3Tabbouleh. Don’t you just love that word? Such a great name for a beautiful, summery and fresh bowl of deliciousness. It’s the type of dish where you feel healthier with each bite. 

This middle eastern classic is originally made with bulgur, however, I have to admit I prefer it made with quinoa, which is also fairly common. I find it is lighter and fluffier. But two each their own. 

The other morning I was enjoying a coffee on the back stairs and was admiring the huge patch of wild oregano growing in the middle of the lawn. Surprised it had survived the lawnmower, I wondered where it came from and how I could use as much of it as possible.

To this end, a simple bbq was planned for lunch. Tabbouleh would be the perfect side dish and I thought, why not throw in some freshly picked oregano? A bowl of recently picked strawberries joined the salad bowl as well. How much summer is that?

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1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 1/2 cup chopped parsley

4-6 green onions

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup chopped oregano

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1/2 cucumber

1 garlic clove

zest from 1 lemon

1 tbspwhite wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

3-4 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup lima beans, cooked and cooled

1 cup sliced strawberries

boston lettuce leaves

 

Thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cold water than add to a medium sauce pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until water is absorbed, about 20 min. 

In the meantime, finely chop the parsley, green onions, mint and oregano. Thinly slice the tomatoes and finely dice the cucumber. 

Press the garlic clove and zest the lemon.

Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat, then gently fluff it with a fork. Let cool for 5 min, then add the mint, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir well.

Once cool, add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Cover and let sit in the fridge for an hour before serving

Serve on a boston lettuce leaf.t2t4t5

Chocolate Balls – For all ages

c7Once in a while, the sweet tooth aces for attention and I suddenly feel the urge to whip up something sweet and tasty. When ever this phenomena occurred growing up, these chocolate balls was an often recurring star. It takes minutes to throw together and is made with ingredients already often found at home. 

You might think it’s more of a kid’s treat than an adult’s but I beg to differ. I am pretty sure my parents ate as many of these as my sisters and I did. They might absolutely, totally and 100% disagree, but who would you believe anyway? 

As a great addition to a kid’s party, roll them in colourful sprinkles and sparkles. For the adult party, add a splash of your favourite rum or cognac, and cover them in the traditional coconut flakes or pearl sugar, or why not try chopped pistachios? 

For those of you who still think this is not for me, well, listen to your inner child. Don’t deny it, we all have them. Listen carefully. I think it’s time to give him or her a treat! 

Jens

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100g butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup oats

3 tbsp cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp cold coffee

shredded coconut or pearl sugar as garnish

In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar. When well mixed, add the cocoa, vanilla and coffee. Blend until smooth. Stir in the oats.

Roll into small 1″ balls, and roll in shredded coconut or pearl sugar.

Makes 15-20

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