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Strawberry and prosecco jam

Here in the UK seeing an abundance of plump strawberries doesn’t just mean summer is here, but that it’s Wimbledon. Did you know they get through more than 23 tonnes of strawberries every year at the tennis tournament?

Strawberries have been know in Europe since Roman times when they were used to help bad breath and labour pains. They have anti-inflammatory properties, are an excellent source of vitamin C and have a good amount of potassium. Do you need any other excuses to eat them?

Strawberries and Jam

Well, when I was sent a selection of recipes to try from Tate & Lyle, the first one that jumped out was strawberry and prosecco jam. How could that combination not be delicious?

I’d never made jam before but knew that some fruits, like strawberries, cherries and grapes, only have small amounts of pectin making it more difficult for the jam to gel. But Tate & Lyle have solved this issue with their Jam Sugar which has added pectin to ensure a perfect set.

I’ve discovered making jam is actually easy! And having a few jars of homemade jam on hand is great not only for lazy Sunday breakfasts but perfect to impress your guests for afternoon tea, either dolloped on scones or in a Victorian sponge.

Strawberry & Prosecco Jam -low

Being a novice jam-maker, I did rather a lot of reading about jam-making. There’s quite a lot of debate about how much sterilising is needed for the jam jars as well as how to seal them properly.

Whatever method you use, you do need to sterilise your jars properly, and it’s also important to put the jam into hot jars while the jam is still piping hot.

I boiled my filled jars of jam. Many people online say this isn’t necessary to properly seal the jars and that it’s enough to turn the jars upside down while they’re still hot and leave them this way until they’re completely cool. I wanted to make sure any bacteria that might have gotten into the jar while filling them was killed as well as ensuring a tight seal on the jars.

To boil your filled jars you just need to put them in a large pot, completely cover them with water, bring to the boil and then boil for 10 mins. Carefully take them out of their water bath and leave to cool. As they cool, you’ll hear pops as the air comes out and the jars completely seal.

Whichever method you use, check the seals on the jars when they’re cool and use any that haven’t sealed well first.

But how does this jam taste? Absolutely delicious! While the added prosecco is subtle, it gives the jam another layer of flavour. And the added bonus is you’re just going to have to drink the leftover alcohol – what a shame!

Strawberry and Prosecco Jam

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15-20 mins
Makes 5 x 450g jars

150ml prosecco
1kg Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
1kg strawberries, hulled

Put the prosecco, sugar and strawberries into a large heavy-based pot and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil steadily for 10 minutes, taking care to keep an eye on the jam to ensure that it doesn’t boil too rapidly.

Meanwhile, sterilize your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then placing them in a low oven at 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas Mark 2 for 10 minutes.

Test the jam for setting point. To check, remove the saucepan from the heat, spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and leave for 2 minutes – it should wrinkle softly when your finger is pushed over the surface. If this point has not been reached, return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Test as before until setting point is reached. (You may need to test several times, though be patient, as this testing is crucial to achieve the correct consistency).

Pour the hot jam into the warm sterilised jars. Leave to cool, then seal and label.

Store in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge.

StrawberryandProseccoJam

Tip: Chill a stack of small plates in the fridge, so that you have a few lined up for checking the setting point. You can also use a thermometer; the setting point for jam is 105c (220F).

More yummy Tate & Lyle recipes using their jam sugar can be found here.

Disclosure: I received a packet of Tate & Lyle’s Jam Sugar to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own. 

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Dairy-free strawberry bread

One of the foods that shouts ‘SUMMER!’ to me is strawberries and when I recently bought too many punnets of them at the supermarket (who can resist a ‘buy one get one free’ offer?), I thought I’d use some of them to bake a lovely sweet treat.

strawberry loaf

This recipe is an adaptation of my dairy-free banana bread although I’ve reduced the sugar content a little (you could reduce it even more if your strawberries are wonderfully sweet). Regular readers will know how much I love to decrease the sugar in recipes before my taste testers can tell the difference ;).

Perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert, enjoy a little taste of summer to make your day better (I guarantee it!).

DAIRY-FREE STRAWBERRY BREAD

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 40-45 mins
Makes 1 loaf
Freezable

175g self-raising flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Approx. 300g strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces
50g walnuts (or pecans), chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Take a couple of spoonfuls of flour from your 175g of self-raising flour and put into a small bowl. Lightly stir your strawberries through the small amount of flour (this will stop them sinking to the bottom of your bread while it cooks).

Whisk the sugar, eggs and oil together at a medium speed using a handheld beater or in an electric mixer. Whisk for a few minutes until it’s pale and fluffy.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix until combined using a low speed. Gently stir through the strawberries and walnuts.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Variations:

  • Make individual muffins instead of a loaf (easier to freeze if you’re not going to eat all of it)
  • Dust with icing sugar

Sugar-free berry bread pudding

I’m very lucky not to have a fussy eater. Nicholas not wanting to eat is usually a sign he’s not feeling well. However he has a mixed response to berries. Strawberries were amongst the first fruit he ate and he loved them (I read after that the recommendation is to introduce them to babies later), but after a few months he started spitting them out even when I mixed them in other things. I now mush them up as much as I can and put them in yogurt and he’s ok. He likes blueberries and loves squeezing blackberries. Is it just a boy-thing wanting to squeeze stuff? He grits his teeth and strains with the effort of testing his strength. Food is the most fun to squeeze because all the juice comes out down your hand and arm and papa’ says ‘Why are you making all that mess?! Don’t do that!’ It’s so much fun! 😉

Anyway, back to eating berries. I wanted to make Nicholas something with berries for dessert apart from just mushing them up into yogurt. I thought why not add them to a simple bread pudding; their sweetness plus some honey would mean I could leave out the sugar. And the great thing about bread pudding is that it can also be served cold, cut into fingers for a snack or even for breakfast. It also freezes well and it’s a great way to use up stale bread.

This really is a dessert for the whole family and you can use pretty much any fruit you have on hand. For babies, use fruit they’ve already been introduced to. Mashed banana or grated apple would work well. A grated sweet apple or some applesauce/apple puree adds more sweetness if you think the fruit you’re using isn’t sweet enough. Sultanas and raisins are also a great addition, but they need to be softened for babies (soak them in warm water for about half an hour before adding them).

I used a small casserole dish and cut my bread in half diagonally to spread it over the bottom of the dish a bit more. You could also make individual puddings in ovenproof ramekins. You need the bread to soak in the custard mixture to get all soft and gooey so choose a dish not much bigger than your bread slices.

SUGAR-FREE BERRY BREAD PUDDING

Prep time: 10 mins plus soaking time (30 mins or overnight)
Cook time: 30-40 mins
Makes 4 toddler servings (or 1 toddler and 2 adult servings)
Freezable

2 slices of bread, crusts removed
3/4 cup mixed berries, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp honey
Small piece of butter

Butter a small ovenproof dish and lay one slice of bread in the bottom. Sprinkle the berries over the bread and then sprinkle over the cinnamon. Top with the second slice of bread.

Lightly beat the egg, milk, vanilla and honey together. Slowly pour over the bread soaking it all over. Leave to rest for about 30 mins for the bread to soak up the liquid (or overnight).

Cook at 170C for 30-40 mins until the egg mixture has set (you’ll still have some liquid from the berries) and the top is a light golden brown.

Variations:

  • try different fruit such as mashed or sliced banana, grated or sliced apple, cubes of pear, etc.
  • add a grated sweet apple or some applesauce/apple puree for extra sweetness
  • add sultanas or raisins
  • try different types of bread (white, wholemeal, raisin bread, brioche etc.)
  • add a pinch of ground ginger or nutmeg
  • add some chopped chocolate to be more indulgent (and not sugar-free!)

Other uses:

  • cut into fingers and have cold for breakfast

Tip: use the leftover bread crusts for French toast skinny fingers or toast them to dip into hummus as a snack. If you’re not going to use the crusts immediately, just pop them in a bag and freeze them for later.

Frozen yogurt strawberries

A very quick post before we load up the car and spend the Jubilee long weekend abroad. Our spell of hot sunny weather has finished here in the UK, but hopefully it will soon return and this is another recipe that’s perfect for hot days, and not just for your munchkins.

I came across this simple idea on Pinterest (how I love Pinterest!) but unfortunately there was no link. It is, however, very easy to figure out. Use whole strawberries for adults and quartered strawberries for little ones. I’ve also seen (yes, still on Pinterest) blueberries pierced on bamboo skewers, so you have blueberry ‘kebabs’, dipped in yogurt and frozen. Yum! You could try sliced bananas, raspberries, let your imagination go wild!

FROZEN YOGURT STRAWBERRIES

Dip quartered strawberries into plain yogurt (the thicker set yogurt is best simply because you get a good coating).

Place on a tray lined with baking paper that you can fit in the freezer.

Put in the freezer for a few hours until the yogurt has frozen.

Eat!

How do you keep your little one cool in the hot weather?