So here’s the thing. I’m not a massive fan of salads – in fact, I’m not really a fan AT ALL. (Great start, I know…) I’m a big kid at heart, I need to be tricked into getting those greens; I’ll eat them, but there’s got to be a lil’ something-something tossed between the leaves to bring me to the table.
This (kind of Wimbledon-inspired!)Strawberry and Gruyere Summer Salad is really easy to make and really hits the spot served up for an al fresco lunch or alongside a barbecue. Fresh, sweet and creamy – with a sour, zingy edge thanks to the added raspberry vinaigrette – the strawberries really steal the show on this one, provided you pick the best the season has to offer. British strawberries really are in their peak season at the moment and these “Red Diamond Strawbs” from my friends at Marks and Spencer are quite possibly the juiciest I’ve ever tasted; their sweet scent filled my car on the short drive back from my local M&S Food and perfumed my fridge and kitchen all weekend! Get them while you can! 🙂
Strawberry and Gruyere Summer Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette (serves 2)
150g Strawberries, sliced
Italian Peppery Leaf Salad (spinach, lettuce, rocket)
50g Gruyere Cheese, shaved(use a potato peeler 😉 )
For the Vinaigrette:
150g raspberries (I used M&S’s Sapphire Raspberries)
25ml balsamic vinegar
100ml olive oil
1 tbsp honey
a handful of basil leaves
To make the vinaigrette, blitz together the raspberries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and basil until smooth.
Assemble your salad, then drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and sprinkle with the shaved gruyere. Easy!
Have a great week! 🍓🍓🍓
*This post contains gifted items from Marks and Spencer, to find out more about what that means click here to read my disclaimer.
I feel like baking’s been on the back seat for a lot of this year; I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that just getting dinner on the table (/my lap… TV’s just been too good) has been a struggle. I just haven’t had time to batter up and whip up something sweet. Last weekend though, I had a little window and instead of just scrolling or snoozing through it, I decided that I wanted to bake something fuss-free that would perk up my mid-morning cuppa come Monday – and this is what I came up with.
This Strawberry Picnic Cake is one of those bakes that looks super fancy but actually involves barely any effort – if you’re a dab hand with a wooden spoon and can slice a strawb, then you’ve got this. Texture-wise, it’s a cross between a brownie and an angel slice – with a gooey layer of fresh strawberries (and some raspberries thrown in for a sour edge) sandwiched between a soft, pink sponge. Once it’s sliced up and dusted with a little icing sugar, it makes for a cute little lunchbox pick-me-up, or would be the perfect treat to pack in your picnic basket (…along with a little tub of fresh cream, obviously!) – if the weather ever perks up… 🙂
Strawberry Picnic Cake
150g Ground Almonds
150g Salted Butter
100g Caster Sugar
150g Self Raising Flour
2 eggs (whisked)
300g Strawberries (sliced)
A few drops of pink food colouring
Icing Sugar to dust
Grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tray and set your oven to 180°C.
Grab a mixing bowl and pour in all the cake ingredients except the strawberries and raspberries – hold those back! Stir everything together to make a thick, lumpy, pink batter.
Pour half of the batter into your baking dish and spread it out into all the corners. Create a sandwich layer by topping the batter with the strawberries and raspberries, then smooth over the remaining batter.
Before you pop the cake in the oven, add a neat layer of evenly spaced sliced strawberries on top – one for each slice (I cut nine slices).
Bake for 30 minutes, then leave to cool before slicing.
Finish with a dusting of icing sugar and serve with cream. 🙂
I think this is the first year in a while where we’ve had a proper summer. So far, anyway! And because the weather has been so nice we’ve spent loads of time out in the garden scoffing barbecue food and just soaking in the sun like the little solar powered creatures we are. When we moved in to our house three years ago, the back garden didn’t really exist – it was just a muddy slope. Three years (and a lot of hard work) later and it’s finally looking good. I mean, it’s still a work in progress, but this is the first year that a lot of the plants we put in during those early days have blossomed. It’s definitely one of my favourite places to chill – and it’s one of Bungle’s favourite places too (although he can’t really be trusted on his own out there because he likes to dig!). 🙂
Against the back fences we planted a couple of climbing roses that finally seem to be growing! You know me, I love roses, and so I definitely wanted some in my garden. Luckily our soil is perfect for growing roses in, although they’re way more upkeep than I thought they’d be; they constantly need spraying to get rid of insects and fungus, and trimming back to encourage more roses.
For my birthday last year Sunny bought me these colourful hanging pots which I absolutely love! We filled them with pansies and geraniums and it nice having a bit of extra colour on an otherwise boring brown fence. 🙂
When I was kid shopping in Cardiff on a Saturday with my Mum, we’d always – at some point – end up in David Morgan’s (…anyone remember that place?) and specifically in the restaurant on the top floor (the one with all the Monet and Renoir paintings on the green walls?). Our pit-stop involved a drink (something fizzy for me – these were the days before I drank tea…) and sharing a variation of Mille Feuille, also known as a Custard Slice, which is, by the way, probably the worst cake in the world to share with someone because it’s darn impossible to cut without the custard slurping out the sides and… Anyway. I had some puff pastry hanging on in my fridge the other day and decided to experiment.