Monday, 15 August 2011

Colleen's Fresh Berry Parfait and Strawberries in Lavender Syrup

Kitchen Play List:  Skin ~ Skin Album 

Yesterday I was cooking and baking for My Love and our pals as they helped tame the jungle that had once been our veggie and fruit garden! All went well and although I think my lovely friends will all be feeling very sore today, it was a great success and My Loves smile speaks volumes. 

I promised them refreshments and meals galore and all was enjoyed. Here is the

On arrival:  Steaming hots mugs of New York Blend freshly brewed coffee

Lunch:   Toasted Panini Lemon-Basil Pesto with roasted peppers, courgettes & red onion slices.  Fresh salad bowl of mixed baby leaves, sliced yellow peppers & cucumber.  Tomato Salad; red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt and black pepper. (Gluten Free Bread was used for my GF pals) Fresh Berry Parfaits for dessert. Served with Elderflower Cordial with sparkling water. Followed by more coffee. 

Afternoon Tea:  Gluten Free Mixed Jewel Berry Scones & Strawberry and Orange Zest Scones served with Greengage and Hedgerow Conserves. Various different blends of tea. 

Dinner:  Old Fashioned Lentil Loaf  served with steamed new potatoes, carrots, green beans, tender steam broccoli, sprouts and a vegan gravy. Strawberries in Lavender Syrup for dessert. Served with chilled sparkling mineral water. 

So, I pay good rates here for a days garden I was told by one of our friends that I had spoilt them all...nope..just appreciated their help! 

One thing in this life I know for sure is that My Love and my friends love dessert. And I could have happily created sweet treats for them all day long but I knew that they would all need to sleep them off and this is why I turned to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's wonderful cook books The Vegan Table and The Vegan Table 

I wanted a simple dessert for the lunch and I remembered seeing the Fresh Berry Parfait recipe from The Vegan Table whilst reacquainting myself with the Old Fashioned Lentil Loaf recipe. It was almost too simple to make and the only hard part was trying not to eat the berries as I prepped them! lol. I didn't have vanilla yoghurt so I added vanilla extract to natural yoghurt and left it to sit for a while. I also didn't have sliced almonds so I sprinkled ground almonds over the top and it worked just fine. Everyone enjoyed these parfaits..the sweetness of the berries, sharp tang from the yoghurt and the comfort from the almonds and agave nectar. Lovely simple dessert and didn't make my work force slump! lol 

The dessert choice for our evening meal was harder as I wanted to spoil them with treats for their hard work but as we were having afternoon tea I knew I shouldn't do that. So I wanted something special and decadent without being heavy. I love fresh berries as do my friends so I knew I could get away with another berry recipe. lol. Phew! I had looked at this recipe so many times in C.P-D's Colour Me Vegan but hadn't been able to make it because I couldn't find any culinary lavender. During a recent from My Loves family we visited a Lavender Farm so now I have a bag of the smelly stuff! lol. So when I saw this recipe again, it just fell into place. Now this recipe is great. It's simple. It's delicious and decadent. But I really must warn you....when you are cooking your syrup you will be bowled over by the smell of fish! Nope I haven't lost my marbles..pals D & B and My Love all smelt it too! But as the syrup comes to the end of the cooking period it is replaced with Lavender. It was a very strange moment in the Everyone loved this recipe and B particularly liked the Lemon Sugar for sprinkling over it. Unfortunately the photo for this dessert isn't that special as it was taken at the table as everyone was tucking in...thanks to D who reminded me to take a photo! lol. 

I have to say I was going to blog the Old Fashioned Lentil Loaf but when I remembered to take one...80% of the loaf was being That's twice now...oh well one day. Or you could by C.P-D's books as they are worth every penny! Thanks to C.P-D for fantastic recipes.

Fresh Berry Parfait ~ layers of fresh berries, zing from lemon zest and tangy yoghurt and comforting almonds to top. Light and delicious.

Fresh Berry Parfait Made 7 servings
(Recipe from The Vegan Table/Patrick-Gourdreau)

1 punnet of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 punnet of blueberries
1 punnet of raspberries
juice from 1 small lemon and the zest
1 6oz container of plain or vanilla non-dairy yoghurt
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
sliced almonds to garnish (I used ground and sprinkled them ~R~)

Divide strawberries among 6 or 7 fluted wine glasses (I used plastic glasses as it was a working Drizzle a small amount of the lemon juice over and a micro amount of the zest. Then cover with a spoonful of the yoghurt. Then repeat this process with the blueberries and raspberries. Finishing with a good spoonful of the yoghurt then sprinkle with the almonds of choice.  (I adapted C.P-G's instructions slightly as the original recipe suggested that you put all the fruits in together and topped with the yoghurt...choice is yours my friend! lol) 

Serve and enjoy! 

Strawberries in Lavender Syrup...OK OK I know this isn't my best work..please believe me when I tell you these succulent slices of strawberries are indeed covered in a silky sweet lavender syrup and then sprinkled with a wonderful lemon sugar. Promise!
Strawberries in Lavender Syrup Serves 6
(Recipe from Colour Me Vegan/Patrick-Goudreau) 

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup  (165g) caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup (120ml) water
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp dried culinary lavender  
3 pints (870g) strawberries, sliced
5 mint leaves, minced (I didn't use this ingredient)

Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in the bowl of a small lidded container. Stir well, cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve. 

In a small saucepan add the remaining sugar, agave nectar, lavender and water, over a med-high heat bring to the boil whilst stirring. Reduce the heat and continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved. (Beware of the fishy smell...stay with it!) After a few minutes the fragrance of the lavender will come through and is a relief! lol. Remove from the heat. 

Strain the syrup to remove the lavender and store the syrup in a lidded container until ready to serve. 

In a large serving bowl place the sliced strawberries and reheat the syrup. Pour it over the strawberry slices and stir to coat. (I served ours with chilled syrup as it had been a warm day and it was refreshing~R~) Divide them between the serving dishes. Sprinkle with the lemon sugar and serve immediately.

I took the leftover syrup and the bowl of lemon sugar to the table and let everyone serve themselves...and it worked well.  ~R~

Yorkshire Lavender from the Yorkshire Lavender Farm, Terrington, Near Caslte Howard, York. They have an online shop now too! Marvelous!