It might sound a bit weird, but strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a classic combination. There is something about the tartness of balsamic vinegar that plays off the sweetness of the strawberries and brings out the best in both.
Roasting the strawberries and balsamic intensifies the deliciousness of this combination even more, and layering them with your favourite granola (ahem…) with rich creamy yogurt will definitely up your breakfast game.
The recipe works well with the delicious local strawberries that are in season right now, but can also elevate horrible, white cored super market specimens to something sublime. Either way, this is a special breakfast treat which would be lovely to serve to guests, or quickly snarf in the privacy of your own company.
Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Granola Parfaits
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
- 1 punnet of strawberries, halved (approximately 450g)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar (you might want to use less if your berries are very sweet and ripe. Other types of sugar – eg. coconut – would also be delicious, but might change the colour of your sauce – if that type of thing matters to you.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss strawberries with balsamic and sugar of your choice. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 8 – 10 minutes. Let cool. Put cooled berries in your food processor, reserving a few to garnish your parfaits, and blend into a sauce.
- Your favourite granola (not naming any names, but I can think of a good one!)
- Your favourite yogurt – plain or vanilla would work best
- Roasted strawberry balsamic sauce
- Reserved strawberries for garnish
- Mason jars, martini glasses, parfait cups – whatever vessel you’d like to serve your parfaits in!
Layer ingredients – I like to start with yogurt, and then sauce, and then granola – and repeat. End with yogurt, and then top with a sprinkle of granola and garnish with reserved strawberries. I’m not giving exact amounts because it can really vary on the size of your serving vessel, and the personal preferences of the parfait maker/eaters. Some people love more yogurt, others enjoy the crunch of a big layer of granola. And, you can never have too much of this sauce! These are best eaten within a few hours of making, but are also fine the next day – the granola just loses a bit of it’s crunch. If you have any sauce left, it can be refrigerated and kept for about a week. It goes really well with ice cream – but I can also imagine a zillion other uses – on top of a piece of plain pound cake with whipped cream, swirled through yogurt, or even added to your favourite libation to make a delicious cocktail.
First, I’ll just preface this by saying this is in no means a definitive guide to New York – it’s just a bunch of places that I visited and enjoyed. I will also say that all my trips are pretty much focussed on eating and drinking. While we are eating one meal, we are planning the next. So, here it is – New York – Honeyspoon style!
-The best meal of the trip was at Dovetail. They have a Meatless Monday tasting menu that was absolutely amazing. Beautiful food and service – I would definitely recommend this place to veggie folks looking for a fine dining experience – it’s got a Michelin star y’all! This video will give you an idea of the type of food and presentation you can expect. Very nice.
-Another meal we really enjoyed was at Buvette (above) in the West Village. It’s the cutest little French restaurant tucked away on a charming little street. I was a bit worried about there not being enough veggie food on the menu, but there was lots and it was all fantastic! I would describe the style of dining here as French tapas – lots of yummy little dishes to share, and the atmosphere was great. The chef, Jody Williams, just released a cookbook that looks great – and she was selling a special edition at the shop that came in a block printed canvas bag. I didn’t get one = huge regret.
-After all these wonderful meals, I needed to eat something a bit less decadent. I checked out Dimes in Chinatown for breakfast, and it really fit the bill. Lots of healthy juices, acai bowls and the like. Needless to say, I skipped right past those and ordered the big breakfast with a side of avocado. It was still delicious and healthy, and I was on vacation after all!
-For the first few days of our trip, we stayed at the Refinery Hotel, and each morning, we grabbed a coffee and light breakfast at Culture Espresso (above) before hitting the streets. The coffee and atmosphere were great, and it was nice to find an independent cafe amongst all the chains in Midtown Manhattan.
-Homesick Aussies will appreciate the food and coffee (oh the coffee!) at Bluestone Lane. You can order classics like Jaffles and avocado toast and real flat whites! I had the avocado toast (GF option available!) and I swear it had a whole avocado on it. Delicious!
-Speaking of the Refinery, the drinks and view at their rooftop bar were great. All together, the hotel was really cozy and comfy and I would most definitely stay there again.
Although we had a week in New York, the time went by much too fast! There were so many great things to see and do – other highlights were strolling the high line, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring the West Village, and visiting the Met, MOMA and Natural History Museum. There were so many more things I wanted to do and places I wanted to visit – but I know I’ll be back soon!
It all started with a little bottle of Neilsen Massey Coffee Extract. It was just sitting there on the shelf with it’s adorably nostalgic packaging, and I knew it was coming home with me. I built this whole recipe around the contents of that little bottle. What could go together better than moist chocolate cake and creamy coffee? I can’t think of anything. At all.
The moistness of these little cakes comes from the addition of almond flour and whole milk yogurt. Definitely don’t use the low fat stuff – it’s often full of artificial sweeteners and weird stabilizers. For baking – and noshing – I really like the Liberte Mediterranee Plain Yogurt.
And the icing – if you are looking for something quick, tasty and not too sweet – I don’t think you can beat a cream cheese icing. The addition of the coffee extract just makes it that bit more yummy.
Mini Chocolate Yogurt Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
Makes approximately 40 mini cupcakes
Adapted from BBC Good Food website
- 115g gluten-free flour (I find this blend works pretty well. You could also use plain flour if you don’t need your cupcakes to be gluten free)
- 55g almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g unbleached cane sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 40g dutch process cocoa powder
- 60ml milk (just enough to loosen your batter – you may need a bit more if your mixture is very stiff)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your mini muffin tins with parchment paper cups. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but you could also use a hand held mixer.
While that’s happening, sift your dry ingredients together and set aside. Add your eggs, vanilla and yogurt to the creamed butter and sugar and mix to incorporate. Finally, fold in your dry ingredients, making sure not to overmix. Spoon or scoop your batter into your prepared muffin pan, and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until muffins are puffed and a tester comes out fairly clean. Let cool in pan on a rack before icing.
Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
- 125g butter, very soft
- 200g cream cheese, also very soft
- 150 – 200g icing sugar, to taste
- 2 – 3 tsp coffee extract, to taste
Both your butter and cream cheese should be very soft before beginning, otherwise – you will end up with a lumpy icing. You can speed up the softening process by putting your butter and/or cheese in the microwave for a few seconds, or – if you are from ancient times like me and don’t have a microwave – take out of packaging and place over a bowl of hot water until sufficiently soft. You don’t want it melted, but when you touch it with your finger, it should yield easily. Put your butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high for five minutes. The butter should be very pale and fluffy at this point. Add your softened cream cheese in little chunks, and mix until just incorporated with the butter. Over mixing the cream cheese will result in a grainy and goopy icing – trust me, I’ve been there. Add your sifted icing sugar, mixing until well incorporated. Test for sweetness, and add additional sugar if necessary. Finally, add your coffee extract, again tasting and getting the amount that’s right for you.
Pipe or spoon a blob of icing on to each of your cooled cupcakes. I decorated these with just a bit of shaved dark chocolate, but they would also look nice dusted with cocoa, topped with a cacao nib, or – best of all – with a chocolate covered coffee bean from Cocoa and Honey. I am dreaming about these! If you can manage not eating all of these straight away, you can store refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days. Just bring up to room temperature before eating.
Wow – say that three times fast! Well, here it is folks, my first recipe on the blog! This is a great one to start with, because it’s one of my favourites, with the sweet/tart combination of raspberries and rhubarb, and the nutty crunch of the whole grain pastry sprinkled with demerara sugar, you can’t go wrong. It’s also infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit is in season.
Galettes – which are just free-form rustic tarts – are also a great entry into the world of pastry. There is no fiddling with tart cases – you just need to roll your pastry into a roughly circular shape (“rough being the operative word here) -and you’re good to go. And, since this pastry is gluten-free, you really can’t overwork it and cause it to shrink. Bonus!
I should mention here that I like to bake by weight. It’s more accurate, and also easier – no cups to wash – and most scales have a tare function that allows you to zero off, and then measure your next ingredient. You can get a scale for under $20, but I recently upgraded to an OXO Scale, and that’s nice too. And now, without further ado, a recipe for these delicious tarts! Enjoy – and leave a comment to let me know how they turn out!
Rustic Raspberry Rhubarb Galettes
This recipe makes approximately 6 individual galettes, or one large galette.
Pastry recipe adapted from La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life
Amaranth, Quinoa and Millet Pastry
- 50g amaranth flour
- 40g millet flour
- 30g quinoa flakes
- 40g corn starch
- 1.5 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 85g unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 egg
First, cut your butter into cubes and pop back in the fridge so it stays nice and chilled. Combine flours, sugar, salt and xanthan gum in the bowl of a stand mixer, and give them a good mix using the paddle blade. Add the butter cubes, and continue to mix until fine crumbles form. At this point, add your egg and vanilla. The pastry should begin to form a ball quite quickly, but if it doesn’t and seems a bit dry, add cold water by the tablespoon until it comes together. Form your pastry into 6 balls for individual galettes, or one large disk for a single galette and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to three days. This pastry can also be frozen for future use.
Raspberry Rhubarb Filling
- 40g cornstarch
- 400 – 500g rhubarb, sliced into pieces about 4cm thick
- 250 – 300g raspberries
- 130g unbleached cane sugar
- 3tbsp water
Dissolve cornstarch in water and set aside. Combine rhubarb, raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. The rhubarb will still look chunky – but that’s what we want. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- 1 egg, beaten
- Demerara (raw) sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If your pastry has been in the fridge overnight, let it rest on the counter for half an hour. Roll your pastry into six rough circles (or one large circle – approximately 30 cm), and brush with beaten egg. Mound approximately 3-4 tablespoons of filling in the centre of each circle and allow to spread slightly. For a large tart, you would use pretty much all of the filling. You should leave yourself a border of about 5 – 6 cm all around. Fold the edges of your dough over the filling, overlapping as needed. Brush crust all over with beaten egg – making sure to seal any cracks where filling might leak – and sprinkle with demerara sugar. At this point, you can pop your galettes in the oven straight away, or allow them to chill, covered lightly with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Chilling results in less leakage of your filling – but a bit of leakage is pretty much inevitable. Either way, bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool on baking sheet, then serve. These are great with whipped cream or ice cream, but I’ve eaten more than a few plain for breakfast, and they are delicious that way as well. They are best served on the day they are baked, but they can be stored airtight at room temperature for a few days. The crust won’t be quite as crispy, but whatever, it’s all good!