Valentine’s Day: Fraisier Strawberry Cake Recipe

Seasonal Berries Strawberry Fraisier cake Recipe Valentine's Day

Wow the special person in your life with this impressive looking cake, this classic French Fraisier Strawberry Cake Recipe has a few short cuts, so you don’t need to be a master baker to make this version!

Seasonal Berries Strawberry Fraisier cake Recipe Valentine's Day

Cuts into 10 slices
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:
225g (8oz) soft margarine
225g (8oz) caster sugar
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated rind of 2 lemons
4 medium eggs
6 tablespoons limoncello liqueur

Filling
400g (14oz) strawberries, hulled
3 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
150ml (1/4 pint) double cream
500g (1lb 2oz) carton luxury vanilla custard

Topping
2 tablespoons apricot glaze or apricot jam minus the pieces of fruit
250g (9oz) ready made marzipan
Little icing sugar
Few small strawberries
Few chocolate hearts

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan) Gas 3. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) heart shaped
springform tin with a little oil then line the base with a piece of non-stick baking paper.
2. Add the margarine, sugar and flour to a large bowl, electric mixer or food processor. Add the
baking powder, lemon rind and eggs and beat together until smooth.
3. Spoon into the lined tin, level the surface and bake for about 35-40 minutes until well risen,golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly when inserted into the centre of the cake.
4. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then loosen the edge, remove the tin and lining paper and cool
on a wire rack.
5. When the cake is cold, cut into two thinner rounds, trimming the top level if it is a little
domed, then spoon the limoncello over the cut sides. Wash the cake tin and line the base
and sides with two strips of clingfilm. Put one of the cake halves in the tin and pull up the
clingfilm if needed so that it slightly overhangs the top of the tin.
6. Sort through the strawberries, reserve the medium sized ones for the side of the cake and
the larger ones for slicing. Cut the medium sized ones in half and arrange in a ring around
the outside of the cake in the tin so that the cut edge is pressed against the clingfilm. Slice
the rest and arrange as an even layer to cover the base cake.
7. Add the water to a small heatproof bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine powder and leave to
soak for 5 minutes then stand the bowl in a saucepan of just simmering water and heat until
the gelatine has dissolved and become a clear liquid.
8. Whisk the cream until it forms soft swirls in a bowl then fold in the custard. Gradually fold in the dissolved gelatine in a thin steady stream then pour the custard mix over the
strawberries in the tin and chill for 10 minutes until just setting.
9. Add the second cake half to the tin and press lightly into the custard. Gently spread the
apricot glaze or jam over the top of the cake. Knead and roll out the marzipan on a piece of
non-stick baking paper then cut into a heart, using the cake tin as a guide. Lift over the top of the cake and press into place with fingertips dusted with icing sugar. Chill for at least 4
hours.
10. When ready to serve, unclip the sides of the tin, peel away the clingfilm, then carefully lift the cake off and transfer to a plate. Decorate the top with the small strawberries and piped chocolate hearts, if desired.

Top Tip
If you’re not a fan of marzipan then simply leave it out and spread the top of the cake with melted chocolate or simply dust with sifted icing sugar instead.

To make chocolate hearts, melt 50g (2oz) dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of very gently simmering water. Spoon into a piping bag made of non-stick baking paper, snip off the tip then pipe heart shapes over a sheet of non-stick baking paper set on a baking tray. Chill until set then peel off the paper and add to the top of the cake when ready to serve.

Recipe and images courtesy of Seasonal Berries.

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Sponsored Post: Old el Paso Breakfast Burritos Recipe

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

Celebrate National Breakfast Week with a Full English Breakfast Burrito!

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day but mornings leave me with very little time to eat properly. With a little inspiration from Old El Paso I’ve found a way to spice up my breakfast on the go!

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

My mornings are often a rush even on weekends, but there’s nothing I love more when I have the time than to make a full English fry-up for breakfast with a mug of piping hot coffee and a glass of juice on the side. Don’t get me wrong, I love cereal and toast as much as the next person, but a full English is pretty much a staple breakfast for a lot of families in the UK, for me it makes it a great treat. The great British fry-up typically consists of sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, toast or fried bread and black pudding. Throw in some brown sauce or ketchup and you’ve got yourself a winning combination, but have you ever thought of adding something a little different to spice things up a bit? Old El Paso challenged me to turn an English breakfast into ‘The Brexican’ – using Mexican inspired flavours and ingredients.

Knowing time is never on my side in the mornings, I wanted a dish I could prepare quickly and eat on the go!

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

Creating the Recipe

I thought about what my favourite ingredients were – sausages, bacon, eggs and beans being top of my list – and then thought about how I could make the breakfast portable. Old El Paso Soft Flour Tortillas seemed the perfect ingredient and meant I could turn my Brexican into a burrito! I also swapped baked beans for Old El Paso refried beans, scrambled the eggs with some Old El Paso Spice Mix for Roasted Tomato and Pepper Fajitas to add seasoning, and layered them up in a tortilla with crispy bacon and meaty sausages topped with chunky tomato salsa. It was a total experiment but it tasted great! To save time (and washing up) I baked most of the ingredients in the oven, then assembled, wrapped, rolled and away I went. For mornings when you have more time, I would also recommend serving the Breakfast Burritos with giant mushrooms topped with more salsa.

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

Old el Paso Breakfast Burritos Recipe

A Mexican inspired twist on the classic full English breakfast. These Brexican Burritos are made using Old El Paso Roasted Tomato and Pepper Fajita Seasoning Mix, Soft Flour Tortillas and stuffed full of scrambled egg, crispy bacon and meaty sausages – delicious!

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

Medium Pork
20 mins Serves 4

What you’ll need:
8 Rashers of Lean Smoked Bacon
8 Sausages
4 Large Mushrooms, e.g. Portobello
6 Large eggs
Old El Paso Roasted Tomato & Pepper Fajita Seasoning Mix
Old El Paso Refried Beans
Old El Paso 8 Super Soft Flour Regular Tortillas
Old El Paso Thick ‘N’ Chunky Salsa

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C.
  2. Spread the bacon, sausages and mushrooms out across 2 baking trays and place in the oven to bake for around 20 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the sausages and mushrooms are cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into the mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly before pouring into a saucepan and cooking on a low heat, until scrambled, stirring slowly throughout.
  4. In a second saucepan, gently heat the refried beans until hot. Using oven gloves remove the trays of bacon, sausage and mushroom from the oven.
  5. Finally, warm your tortillas in the microwave for 35-40 seconds.
  6. To assemble your Breakfast Burritos, spread the refried beans on the soft flour tortillas using a metal spoon, then top with a layer of bacon, sausage, scrambled egg sprinkled with fajita seasoning mix and a large spoonful of salsa.
  7. To wrap your burritos up – fold the bottom edges upwards, then the sides inwards to create a roll with one open end.

Tip: Try warming the flour tortillas through by simply microwaving for 30 seconds before serving.

For more recipes visit www.oldelpaso.co.uk/mexican-recipes.

Old El Paso Brexican Burrito Full English breakfast recipe National Breakfast Week

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Curb your Cravings – Christmas Slimming Tips

Christmas Slimming Tips

SPOT THE SUGAR THIS CHRISTMAS!

Temptation lurks around every corner at this time of the year! Supermarket shelves groan with ‘goodies’, special offers abound, everything from Brussels sprouts to bread rolls are presented in larger than normal ‘value for money’ packs and we are often blindly-led to fill the cupboards, fridge and freezer with ‘just in case’ stocks of party nibbles, drinks and festive treats that we don’t even consider from January to November!

Sadly, this bombardment of ‘fabulous festive fayre’ has danger written all over it when it comes to waistline management so how do you get through it without packing on the pounds and having to face the gruelling thought of a super-strict diet just days after the New Year celebrations? Check below for my top list of Christmas Slimming Tips!

Christmas - Tree Baubles

KEEP AN EYE ON THE SUGAR!

Stress levels can reach an all time high in the run up to Christmas with ‘to do’ lists that never seem to get any shorter no matter how organised you are so you likely don’t need the added stress of analysing every morsel or sip that passes your lips but body swerving sugar (particularly ‘added’ sugars) wherever and whenever possible will pay huge dividends.

Here are some top tips:

Find alternatives to fizzy soft drinks. They are loaded with sugar and the ‘diet’ and ‘zero’ versions are no better as the brain regards the artificial sugars in the same way, prompts the pancreas to release insulin so the extra ‘sugars’ in the bloodstream are removed and guess where it generally ends up? In the fat cells! If you need a bit of ‘fizz’, go for 50:50 soda or sparkling water with fresh fruit juice.

Walk past the tin of sweets. Only at Christmas will you find a big tin of sweets or chocolates on the reception desk at hairdressers, nail parlours, banks, building societies, print shops etc. Nice festive thought but no thanks! Mindless eating experiments suggest that every time we ‘see‘ something that is tasty and tempting (particularly sweet things), our taste buds start to tingle and we are faced with the difficult yes/no decision. And, the more often we are faced with that decision, the more likely we are to fall prey to the “well, just this once” response. Solution? Distract yourself however you can and as fast as you can!

Parcel Baked Fish

Recycle ‘sweet‘ gifts. When people arrive at your door bearing gifts of the sugary kind, be effusive in your thanks but unless you are super-disciplined and confident that you can just occasionally have a ‘wee treat‘ before putting them back in the cupboard/fridge – DON’T OPEN THEM! Either get someone to hide them where you are unlikely to find them or give them to your granny, auntie or to charity! It’s not a case of being ungrateful, it’s more a case of self and waistline preservation!

Hone your label detective skills. Anything you buy in packs, cartons, tins etc has to reveal the amount of sugar involved. Look at the ingredients – these are always listed on a ‘most first‘ basis so if sugar, syrup, molasses or anything ending in -ose (glucose etc) or -ol (sorbitol etc) is near the top, put it back on the shelf or regard it as a very occasional addition to your shopping basket.

Look at the nutrition panel. Focus on the ‘per 100g‘ and ‘Carbohydrates – of which sugars‘ section. 10g is high, 2g is low so aim for no more than 4-5g.

Keep it simple on no-party days. The most frustrating thing about sugar is that the more we have the more we want and as the body adapts rather too quickly and eagerly to a sugar-laden diet it doesn’t take kindly to what it regards as ‘slim pickings’. This unhealthy, biochemical reality is largely why waistlines are increasing globally at such a pace and we are seeing such an alarming, annual increase in cases of type 2 diabetes. To stop the rot and ensure you don’t become a sugar-head or worse still, a case study, the kindest thing you can do for your body is have at least 4 sugar-free days a week. So, whilst some prefer to believe that every day is party time at this time of year, make a determined effort to eat ‘fresh and light’ all day when there are no social engagements in the diary or if possible simply graze on fresh fruits and vegetables and light fish or chicken broths and sip herb teas and water for 24 hours. Your liver will love you for it!

Don’t forget soup. It is no secret that I am a big soup fan and for good reason when it comes to keeping an eagle eye on sugar consumption. A good soup, bursting with vegetables, protein and a few herbs and spices seriously dulls cravings for sweet things and makes it a great deal easier to say “no” to the mince pies and other sweet pastries that appear in the office on an all-too-regular basis as we all get into the ‘Christmas spirit’. If you haven’t already got one, goad Santa into coming early and treat yourself to a wide-necked flask, make a batch of our light, delicious and immune-boosting Chinese Little Gem & Chicken/Tofu Soup and take it to the office or when you are out and about and need a bit of comfort and nourishment.

Roasted Vegetables

Deal with sugar snack attacks. When stress levels are high and time is not on your side, your body biochemistry gets skewed and sugar demands can spiral out of control. You probably know at which times of the day these mind-altering incidents are most likely to occur so plan ahead and ensure you have a few ‘saviours‘ in your handbag, briefcase, desk drawer or fridge and have a small snack before the sugar monster has a chance to wake up. A couple of pieces of fresh fruit, a small bag of fresh nuts and seeds, a selection of raw vegetable ‘sticks’, a few mini oatcakes, a small tub of hummus or cottage cheese, a small bar (35g) of dark, 70% cocoa solids chocolate, a cold boiled egg or a jar of Bovril to make a quick, nutritious and warming brew.

Eat before you party. You have likely read this piece of advice before but it bears repeating! Party time invariably involves alcohol, alcohol prompts the ‘munchies‘ and a lessening of resolve and before you know it you have hoovered your way through every delectable bite on offer (both savoury and sweet). It’s much like going to the supermarket when you are hungry – the ‘see food and want it’ scenario can all-too-easily predominate. Don’t risk it – have a protein-rich meal or snack before you go out or if time is really tight, have some sliced cold meat or poultry and a chunk of cheese or a slice of rye toast with peanut butter while you are getting ready.

And, while we’re on the subject of alcohol! Let’s not beat about the bush – alcohol provides very little in the way of nourishment and some ‘favourite combos’ are loaded with sugar. However, if we are in good health, don’t go totally overboard, remember to slurp plenty of water between drinks and have a good few days per week alcohol-free over the festive season, there is evidence that some alcoholic beverages offer good levels of heart-protective plant chemicals and a tipple or two may help to reduce stress which can seriously undermine our health over time. So, at this time of year a little of what we fancy may not do too much damage. Best choices to keep sugar consumption down are rich and fruity red wines, dry white wines, champagne, spirits on the rocks or with soda and/or fresh fruit juices and worst choices are anything with ‘mixers‘ (even the ‘diet‘ varieties), beers, ciders, sherry, port, liqueurs and the majority of cocktails unless they are super sharp and dry with no added sugar or syrups.

Cook ahead for Christmas Day. The main culprits on the sugar front in a fairly classic Christmas lunch or dinner when you buy ‘off the shelf’ are the gravy, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the bread sauce, the roasted root vegetables, the Christmas pudding, the brandy butter and the Christmas cake. Most ready-made products, other than those prepared by small companies, passionate about keeping their products as natural as possible are fairly high in sugar thanks to its amazing preservative qualities which means they have a longer shelf life. Most of the above can be made ahead of time and frozen and when you make them yourself you know just exactly how much sugar is involved!

Parsley Soup with Chicken Nuggets

Play clever with starches. It is vital to remember that starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta, noodles, rice and other grains, beans, lentils, potatoes and root vegetables are mainly networks of ‘bound sugars‘ so when eaten, the digestive system breaks them down into single sugars before releasing them into the bloodstream to feed our hungry body cells and create energy. However, if your day is largely sedentary you may not need too many of these sugars and if they are not needed, they are stored for later use – as fat! So, to prevent this happening and allow you to keep a grip on overall sugar consumption, go low on the above unless your day is physically demanding and/or work to my ‘seesaw strategy‘ where you only include them in your diet every 4th day. Just make sure that your diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, protein and good fats which will provide plenty of energy and body swerve processed foods and sugar wherever possible.

What are your top tips for staying slim at Christmas? Or do you think it’s best to let your hair down as it’s only once a year? Leave me your thoughts!

Thanks for Reading,

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If you love baking check out my new book ‘How to Start a Successful Cake Business‘ – now available on Etsy and Amazon Kindle Store