Berry & Chocolate Tiered Pavlova

Pavlova is one of my favourtie desserts, it was even when I wasn’t a fan of fruity desserts (which is definitely no longer the case); it is also a favourite of many people I know including my dad, one of James’ sisters and his mum. There was no question of what to bake for James’ sister’s birthday in that case, which happened whilst we were staying up in Scotland with them. It was a week and a half of chilling out, eating, shopping, seeing friends and family and it was scrumptious.

Pavlova

I’ve been wanting to up my meringue game recently, having only stuck with egg whites and sugar in the past but having seen recipes with cornflour and white wine vinegar, I was eager to try out these tips. I decided to tweak the recipe I’d found by making the middle meringue a chocolate meringue. One meringue stuck slightly (I used baking paper, not greaseproof) and just wasn’t very pretty but thankfully that was the bottom layer! Phew.

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Berries and Cream Loaf

Another venture into the land of fruit themed dessert but there was never any doubt I’d love this cake, I’m a huge fan of anything containing the combination of berries and cream. I spotted something similar to this in a cafĂ© close to my house but heartbreakingly they didn’t bring it out until I’d already ordered my slice of cake. I vowed to make it myself and did so for a joint family birthday. It went down the best out of the three cakes I took with me and even converted someone who vows that they don’t eat fruit in desserts; it was a great moment. Even better is that it was gluten free and no one guessed!

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Summer Fruit & Basil Salad

The time finally came when the sun shone and it was a Sunday. We’ve been hoping to be able to get around to my mum’s place for a barbeque in their gorgeous garden and today was the day. I marinaded some chicken thighs, luckily already had a batch of roasted strawberry and basil sauce at the ready (to add to cloudy lemonade) and James and I popped to the shops to stock up on strawberries, watermelon and a pomegranate so that I could get creative with a fruit salad. We had (James had) fun carrying the watermelon home as it weighed a whopping 12 kg but was the smallest in the shop! We’ll be eating watermelon for that week I’d imagine. It is one of my favourite fruits, so I am definitely not complaining. I took along some homemade barbeque sauce too. We couldn’t resist getting some marshmallows for barbequing afterwards, everyone loved them, kiddies and parents alike.

Watermelon, strawberry, pomegranate and basil salad

I can’t resist adding basil to anything containing strawberries and this was no exception. I also got to use the basil salt I had made, it worked well but is optional, not everyone likes a hint of salt with their sweet.

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Basil Salt

The barbeque season has arrived and I cannot wait for the sun to shine one weekend soon, so that James and I can head over to my mum’s place and sit in their beautiful garden to spend the day soaking up the sun, drinking refreshing fruit coolers and eating delicious barbequed food.

I realised that despite being excited by all the recipes in Bryant Terry’s Afro-Vegan cook book, I was yet to make anything from it. This book however is completely perfect for summer food and he creates some sumptuous flavour combinations. Basil salt is one of those things. It is no secret that I love basil, when I make pizza you can’t see the pizza for the basil on top and do not get me started on pesto. Bryant suggests using this salt to top a refreshing watermelon and strawberry fruit salad and I could not agree more, I’ll definitely be bringing that dish to the family barbeques! Strawberry and basil is a timeless combination, a marriage in fact. I won’t give all his secrets away here but there are other dishes with basil salt and cayenne that I will most certainly be making too! Vegan or not, I implore that you buy this book, or at least pick it up in a book shop and look through it. It is so colourful, well thought out and every recipe is paired with a song. I love that, and as such I’m going to assign a song to this post. A song that I spent my Friday night cooking to on repeat because it was absolutely necessary.

Song of the day: Purple Rain – Prince

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Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I’ve always loved ice cream, it is my favourite dessert but I really can’t get enough of it recently. I don’t know what has happened to my will power but the supermarket has had to keep their hazelnut gelato stocked up, that’s for sure. I’ve also become addicted to making sundae’s for James, I think I just like creating all the layers with cake (banana muffins), berries and ice cream; that was until we ran out of ice cream and I decided I would attempt chocolate ice cream for the first time.

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