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strawberry recipes

Food & Drink

Mixed Fruit Pavlova Recipe

August 16, 2015

Mixed fruit pavlova recipeIf you can grow one thing make it soft fruit

Do grow fruit in your garden, allotment or community garden? Do you use it? I must admit, for years I was shy about growing soft fruit bushes. Prune this bit, train that bit, the experts gave me all the information but it sounded so confusing it put me off. However, if you grow food in the vegetable garden it’s difficult to avoid growing fruit as a) friends and neighbours will try to offload raspberry canes every spring as they shoot up in uninvited places and b) you’ll soon want to grow your own strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, loganberries or jostaberries, as it makes such economic sense.

Once you grow your own fruit you’ll save more money than growing any other type of veg as you’ll have the opportunity to make your own jams, cordials, smoothies, juices, jams, jellies or any number of strawberry recipes or mixed fruit desserts.

Fruit bushes are easy to grow as they pretty much look after themselves. They can be planted straight into soil that’s had lots of well-rotted organic matter added to it, or in containers using a John Innes No 3 compost if you can get hold of it locally (see this article for more information about growing vegetables in containers).

pavlova recipe

Ripening Redcurrents

The first thing we learnt about growing our own fruit is that it’s very forgiving. If you don’t prune, you’ll still get berries but the bushes will just become unruly and untidy and you mightn’t harvest as much. I found my fruit bushes were the perfect place to practice my pruning techniques as I snipped and cut, safe in the knowledge that if I made a mistake, it wouldn’t matter too much as they’d grow back the next year. However, if you take the opportunity to follow the pruning guidelines, it will pay off.

This post isn’t going to be full of the how to’s and where for’s about growing fruit as there’s several in depth guides available online, in particular this one on growing loganberries and jostaberries, two of our favourite fruits this year. I’ve also written posts on growing blueberries and looking after strawberry beds. Instead I’m sharing a Pavlova recipe using mixed fruit gathered in the garden, inspired by one of my favourite cookbooks, Good Housekeeping. This is just one of many easy puddings you could be making regularly if you grow your own fruit (well perhaps not too regularly if you’re watching your weight!)

Strawberry Pavlova Recipe from greensideup.ieSimple Pavlova Recipe

Ingredients for Strawberry or Mixed Fruit Pavlova

A bowl or a punnet or two of soft fruits, approx 450g
284ml carton double cream
200g half-fat crème fraîche

Ready made Pavlova base, mini meringues or home-made Pavlova base, see below

Ingredients and Method for Pavlova Base

4 egg whites
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflower
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 130ºC. Place the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl and whisk until they’re stiff. You can test this by turning the bowl upside down – if they slide around at all keep whisking. Continue to whisk, adding a tablespoon of sugar at a time, until the mixture is shiny and very stiff. Fold in the vinegar, cornflower and vanilla extract.

Place some baking paper on a baking tray and mark a circle, approx 9cm onto it. Turn the paper over and pile the meringue mixture into the marked circle, hollowing the middle out slightly. Bake in the oven for approx 1¼ hours, more if necessary, until the edges of the meringue are firm and the inside slightly soft. Allow to cool.

To Make the Pavlova Mix

Whisk the cream until soft peaks start to form and it holds its shape. Gently fold in the crème fraîche  until thoroughly mixed then add half of your berries to the mixture until evenly combined.

Pile the cream mix onto your Pavlova base then scatter the remaining berries on top to decorate.

If you like the idea of growing soft fruit, head out to your garden centre and have a look at the many varieties on offer. The horticulturists will be able to recommend the best plants for your circumstance and garden.

Food & Drink

In Season: Easy, No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

July 10, 2015

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe  Greenside UpAre you a fan of strawberries? We were given a dozen or so plants a few years ago and ever since, we’ve been carefully minding our strawberry patch. As a result, we’ve been picking ripe berries in the polytunnel for the past month or so, enjoying the deliciously sweet berries on our breakfast cereal. Following some sunshine and rain the berries outside are finally ripening and it’s a race between us and the slugs.

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe | greensideup.ieStrawberries are so easy to grow in the ground or in containers. If, like us, you’re a fan of this sweet, summer fruit it’s madness not to give them a go.

Once you begin to harvest strawberries, apart from eating them au natural, it can be a treat to try out a few naughty but nice recipes. The following strawberry cheesecake recipe ricochets to the top of the naughty scale but is very easy to make and a perfect, in season desert to impress friends or family.

If you’d like to find out more about growing strawberries, you might find this archive post helpful.

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe by Greenside UpStrawberry Cheesecake Recipe


225g (8oz) digestive biscuits
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 leaves gelatine
150ml (5 fl oz) single cream
300g (10½ oz) cream cheese
125g (4½ oz) caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes (or lemons, or one of each)
300g (10½ oz) ripe strawberries, hulled & chopped (or roughly whizzed in food processor)
150 ml (5 fl oz) whipped cream
1 egg white


1. Crush the biscuits finely (a food processor’s great for this) and stir in the melted butter. Mix together so the crumbs are soaked in butter then press into a loose-bottomed flan tin. (I made the mistake of putting mine into a pretty, china flan dish once and it stuck solid, despite greasing it well with butter).

2. Pour some cold water into a dish and place the gelatine leaves into it, submerging them completely. Leave them to soak and soften for 5 minutes or so.

3. Bring the single cream to the boil and remove from the heat. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and add one by one to the warm cream. They dissolve straight away. Leave to cool while you’re preparing the topping.

4. Put the cream cheese into a bowl with the sugar, half the lime (or lemon) zest and all the juice. Beat together until smooth and creamy.

5. Mix in the cream and gelatine mixture and then the chopped strawberries, then fold in the whipped cream.

6. Whisk the egg white in a scrupulously clean bowl until it forms stiff peaks (you should be able to hold the bowl above your head without getting covered). Fold the egg white into the cheesecake mixture.

7. Pour the mixture into the tart tin and smooth down. Chill until set and decorate with the remaining zest and extra strawberries if you have them.

Tip: It’s worth buying good quality ingredients and don’t be tempted to swap the cheese or cream for low-fat versions. Every time I’ve tried to make this and cut corners, the cheesecake has failed to set. This strawberry cheesecake recipe needs to be a full on calorific, once in a while treat, with every mouthful slowly savoured.

Are you growing your own strawberries yet? How do you like to eat them?