Lemon & Berry Tiramisu

Lemon & Berry Tiramisu
Tiramisu, Italy’s version of English Trifle, is usually flavoured with coffee and chocolate however I have taken a fruity approach to create a summery dessert to suit our Southern Hemisphere climate. I made a Lemon & Raspberry version however the Lemon & Mixed Berry version is more suitable if you have a berry patch out the back like I do.  I have all sorts of berries ripening but usually just a handful or two of each – not 2 1/2 cups worth (yet – maybe next year).  I have used blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries (red, ebony (black) and ivory (white)), as well as all the different hybrid berries we are growing (loganberries, tayberries, berry delight, ranui berries and aurora berries).  The larger berries I have cut in half or smaller so they don’t poke up out of the sabayon too much.
Home-grown Berries
I have also made this tiramisu with both stale trifle sponge and the Savoiardi.  I prefer the sponge finger biscuits as they hold their shape a little better for longer.  I haven’t yet attempted to make my own sponge finger biscuits but only because I was a little pushed for time.  Having made 6 tiramisu in the last couple of weeks, I would like to try making my own sponge finger biscuits so I don’t have to keep traipsing down to the store to buy yet another packet of sponge finger biscuits.  To use a trifle sponge – leave it out set on a cake rack so it dries out.  This will help it disintegrating into a pile of Limoncello flavoured mush.
Sponge Finger Biscuits (Saviordi)
Use any remaining Limoncello tea syrup to make a delicious punch or add some gelatine and set it into a shallow dish.  I added an extra teaspoon of gelatine so it is a firm set then cut the jelly into squares and store it in the fridge – Mr L likes to have one or two squares with his morning tea snack.

As this dessert has fresh berries, it is best eaten on the day it is prepared and any leftovers cleaned up the following day.
Lemon & Berry Tiramisu

Lemon & Berry Tiramisu

Ingredients

  • 125 ml (½ cup) water
  • Juice and zest of 1 medium sized lemon (results in about 1 T lemon zest and ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 55 g (¼ cup) white sugar
  • 1 lemon-flavoured black tea bag
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Limoncello
  • 6 medium egg yolks
  • 85 g (6 T) vanilla sugar
  • 90 ml (6 T) Limoncello
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cream
  • 200 g mascarpone
  • 200 g Savoiardi biscuits
  • 3-4 cups of mixed fresh berries
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup grated white chocolate

Instructions

  • Heat the water, lemon zest, juice and white sugar together over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, boil for five minutes then remove from the heat. Add the tea bag and set aside to cool. Remove the tea bag and stir in the first measure of Limoncello. Set aside until required. Makes about 1 cup.
  • Whisk egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl. Set over a bain-marie or double boiler. While whisking (with an electric hand mixer) add sugar and Limoncello gradually, beating all the while making sure the water is on a very low heat (a bare simmer). Beat until the mixture is thick, foamy and a pale lemon colour (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and place in a cold-water bath and continue beating until the mixture is cool. Whip the cream until soft peaks form in a clean bowl. Gently fold the cream and the mascarpone into the egg mixture. Once all incorporated, cover and chill until required.
  • Soak the Savoiardi or stale sponge pieces in the Limoncello tea syrup for a couple of seconds then place in a single layer in a 20 x 15 cm serving dish, trimming biscuits if needed. Add 1 ½ cups of fresh berries. Spoon over half the custard (about 2 ½ cups). Place another layer of soaked Savoiardi then repeat with another 1 ½ cups berries and custard. Cover and chill until ready to serve. To serve, garnish with crumbled remaining Savoiardi biscuits, extra fresh berries, sliced almonds and finely grated white chocolate.
  • Serves 6-8
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Note: in attempt to reduce the dairy content of the Tiramisu, I also made a version that used whipped egg whites instead of the whipped cream.  To do this, reduce the amount of sugar whisked into the egg yolks by 1/4 and set it aside.  Once the egg yolks and sugar are whisked together and cooled, whisk in the drained yoghurt (see below).  In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then whisk in the sugar set aside when making the egg yolk mixture.  Fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, gently incorporating the two mixtures until combined.  Cover and store in the fridge until required.  Occasionally, the sabayon may separate a little – just fold together gently again before layering up the dessert.

Drained Yoghurt

I also replaced the mascarpone with drained yoghurt (or yoghurt cheese as it is sometimes called).  As my dairy-intolerant daughter can tolerate yoghurt, I just used a natural unsweetened yoghurt however if all dairy is an issue – I suggest draining a non-dairy yoghurt such as coconut milk yoghurt.  To drain yoghurt, place a sieve over a bowl.  Rinse a clean cheesecloth and place it in the sieve.  Scoop the yoghurt out into the sieve, cover it with a loose cover or a second cheesecloth.  Set aside and leave to drain for about 4-5 hours (it can be placed in the refrigerator to drain also).  Once the yoghurt is thick and of a consistency similar to cream cheese or mascarpone, it is ready to use as you would either of those products.  The liquid that has drained out is whey and can be used in baking.

Beets & Beans Salad

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This recipe was partly inspired by a recipe for a beetroot, carrot and bean slow cooker casserole from Sara Lewis’ Ultimate Slow Cooker cookbook. The remaining “inspiration” was more like desperation when I needed to come up with some sort of dish to take to a pot luck dinner and the fridge was fairly bare apart from plenty of beetroot and carrots.  A salad was thrown together and turned out to be one that the family voted a ‘make again’.  It has been through several tweaks and trials and each has been a success with a different member of the family.  So it can be changed according to what you have available: use brown onions instead of red and green or savoy instead of red cabbage.  The cabbage can be lightly steamed instead of raw and the green beans left out completely or swapped for another green vegetable such as broad beans or broccoli.  The amount of dressing is enough to coat the vegetables and it can be incorporated before serving. Omit the garlic aioli if desired (or use mayonnaise instead) although I like the slight tang it adds to the dressing.  The salad is filling enough to be served as a main course and any left overs are perfect for lunch the next day.
2017-10-03 18.10.03

Beets & Beans Salad

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Salad
  • 1 x large red onion
  • 6 x medium beetroot
  • 6 x medium carrots
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ of a red cabbage
  • 2 x 425 g tins mixed beans
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 2 spring onions
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • Dressing:
  • 75 g goat feta
  • 65g natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • 100g cucumber and mint yoghurt dip
  • 2 T garlic aioli (optional)

Instructions

  • Peel the red onion and cut in half width-wise, then cut each half into 8 wedges. Peel or scrub the beetroot and cut into bite sized pieces. Peel or scrub the carrots and cut into bite sized pieces (the cut vegetables should all roughly be the same size). There should be about 3 cups of beetroot and 3 cups of carrot.
  • Place the prepared vegetables into a large roasting dish – to keep the beetroot from colouring all the carrots, place the beetroot at one end, the carrots at the other and the red onion in between. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then drizzle over the olive oil. Give the pan a shake to settle the vegetables into an even layer then roast at 200C for 30 minutes. Stir (adding a little more oil if required), then roast again for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the remaining ingredients. Finely slice the cabbage, as if cutting for coleslaw (there should be about 3 cups). Rinse the tinned beans and drain well. Lightly steam the green beans until just cooked. Slice the spring onions and mint leaves finely.
  • To make the dressing: mash the feta with a fork. Scrape it into a bowl, add the yoghurt and whip the ingredients together with a fork. Add the dip and aioli (if using) and stir to mix the ingredients together well.
  • Pile the cabbage and beans onto a large serving platter. Add the roasted vegetables and lightly toss the ingredients together. Sprinkle with the spring onions and mint leaves. Serve the dressing alongside.
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Christmas Trifle with Chianti & Berry Sago

A trifle can be as time-consuming or quick as time permits.  If, as I used to be, you have all day to create, cook and enjoy time in the kitchen then make each element of this dessert yourself. I haven’t provided recipes for sponge cake, custard or meringues as mostly likely you’ll have a go-to recipe tucked away.  And if, as I am now, you work full time and try to squeeze as much in to the time before work and the time after work, then the quick option is just as good. Continue reading

The joy of baking: Rhubarb & Rosewater Purée

In the latest Australian Women’s Weekly issue (New Zealand edition (November 2015)), Nigella speaks about the therapy of baking.  I don’t often buy the AWW as I have to limit my magazine purchases in order to keep to my assigned budget but occasionally something on the cover calls out to me.  Most often it is a kiwi food writer or chef and I always buy the December issue because I LOVE the recipes.  In my experience, AWW recipes are very good and so they should be, triple tested and all.  I triple test my own recipes because I want them to be as “good” and fail-safe (and because the piglets in my house eat all the baking as I’ve forgotten I need to take photo’s.  I still haven’t posted my Apple Caramel Slice recipe because as soon as I make it, it is demolished).
Rhubarb & Rosewater Purée

Continue reading

Roasted Pumpkin, Chickpea & Silverbeet Soup

Roasted Pumpkin, Chickpea & Silverbeet Soup
Soup is the perfect dinner for a cold wet raining winter’s night – it warms from the head to the toes and when served with fresh crusty rolls or scones, it is very filling.  This soup (which doesn’t have any apples in it) is a recipe I created for our local newspaper making use of fresh seasonal produce. Continue reading

Hot Juice: warm up with winter beverages

Citrus defences
Poverty Bay is known for great citrus so we’re lucky to have access to plenty of mandarins, oranges, tangelos, lemons & limes.  We have an overgrown tangelo tree out in the back yard – the fruit isn’t fully ripe until early Spring but we begin juicing them as soon as they are a decent size.  They’re quite sour but nothing a little honey won’t fix.  We also have oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes and grapefruit in various stages of production.

Our most recent additions to the back yard orchard are two easy-peel mandarins.  We planted a Silverhill & a Richard’s Special about 8-9 years ago and these produce plenty of very sweet flavoursome fruit.  However they are not easy to peel and they are very very seedy.  I end up buying bucket loads of the easy-peel seedless mandarins for school lunches so this year we decided to add two of these trees to our citrus bonanza (one is a Kawano and the other, well it’s too cold to go outside to check the label – I am sure there’s snow on the hills….brrrr). Continue reading

Cookbook Review: Recipes from my French Kitchen

Recipes from my French Kitchen – Allyson Gofton
Published by Penguin NZ
Recipes from My French Kitchen

NZ food writer Allyson Gofton and her husband Warwick relocate their children Jean-Luc & Olive-Rose to rural South-West France for a year.  The idea behind the move was to experience a different culture and help the children learn a second language.  Allyson has written an honest account of their year and shared the experience in Recipes from my French Kitchen.  The resulting book is more than a recipe book – it allows the reader to learn about the lifestyle of rural French villagers from Caixon – a small village nestled beneath the Pyrenees. Continue reading

Baking with Feijoas: Wholemeal Feijoa & Ginger Cake

Wholemeal Feijoa & Ginger Cake
Feijoa fruiting season is eagerly anticipated by most people in the New Zealand and many backyards have a tree or three that drop the green fruit in a thick carpet from the trunk to the drip line.  Feijoas drop when they are ripe although they can be picked to help prevent bruising. Feijoas are also known as pineapple guava and guavasteen – they are native to several countries in South America but grow extremely well here in the North Island of New Zealand. Continue reading

Planting time in the apple orchard

Golden Delicious
Here in New Zealand, we are smack in the middle of Autumn.  The mornings and evenings are cooling off but the days are fine with blue skies and warm rays of sunshine beaming down from above (well, this week anyhow).  Last week I had to put aside some other tasks in order to rearrange our sitting room to the winter setting – we no longer look out onto the chook-poop covered deck, instead we are cosily gathered around the fireplace. Continue reading

Peppered Zucchini Sausage Scrolls

Zucchini, courgette, marrow – whatever you like to call them – are very useful vegetables to have a surplus of. It is possible to serve zucchini every night of the week without really noticing that it’s zucchinis for supper again. Cooked simply as a vegetable side – grilled, barbecued, roasted – they are a tasty addition to any meal.
Peppered Zucchini Sausage Scroll
Grate them and add to all sorts of things – quiche, meatloaf, sausage rolls as well as cakes and muffins.  I don’t bother peeling the vegetables before grating them, however if I am using a ginormous zucchini (marrow), I cut them in half and scrape out the seeds. These are donated to the compost bin.  The grated flesh is then used just as you would grated zucchini.  It is a great way to dispose of marrows.  This year I have grated and dehydrated grated zucchini in two cup portions.  The idea is to rehydrate them whenever I need to bake or cook with zucchini.  I have also frozen about 10 lots of 2 cup portions to keep us going throughout the year.  The frozen idea came first then I read about dehydrating zucchini here and away I went. Continue reading