Yet another blog post on the English countryside – hope you don’t mind! Maybe I should change my blog name to Custard Creams & Countryside Dreams, as lately all I’ve wanted to do on these sunny weekends is explore more places outside of London. It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with London in the slightest, its just that there’s so much beauty outside the capital too and in the south of England that I’ve realised that London isn’t always where its at. Either that, or maybe I’m just getting old!
Last Sunday was spent at Mayfield Lavender Farm – a beautiful place to visit in July and August when the lavender are in full bloom. However if you’re allergic to bees or if you’re just a wuss like me, wear trousers, as let’s just say Winnie the Pooh would be in heaven at this place!
Dress – Chicwish
Ah, living in the outskirts of London. We may not have Deliveroo, sushi restaurants or any fancy bars or clubs but things are certainly hoppin’ on summer weekends here, at our Pick Your Own farms! This has been a traditional of mine since childhood, as every summer the family would hunt for the ripest, biggest strawberries and sample a few along the way (not much has changed there!)
Nothing beats British strawberries, right?! You can go to a supermarket, start sniffing each box to see which one is the most fragrant (I take my strawberry buying very seriously!) or you can just pick you own! I try to think up a recipe every summer, but usually the strawberries get consumed in the car and don’t even make it home. However this year I did my best to resist and decided on Eton Mess. Super simple, quick recipe and the best thing about it is the presentation – the messier, the better:
- 3 egg whites
- 150g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- double cream
- handful of strawberries
- Preheat your oven to 150 degrees (130 if fan assisted).
- Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites together with the salt until they become opaque and have soft peaks. (Making meringues can be tricky, so watch this to help you know when you have soft and stiff peaks!)
- Gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time and continue whisking until you have stiff peaks.
- Spoon or pipe onto a lined baking tray and bake for 30/40 minutes.
- While they’re cooling, whip the double cream, with the electric whisk, until thick. Layer the crushed meringue, strawberries and cream in a bowl, a bit like a trifle and enjoy!
Believe it or not, I only had my first ever churro a few of months ago (*cue gasps*!) and boy have I been missing out! Who wouldn’t love mini doughnut type sticks rolled in cinnamon powder & sugar, dipped in hot, melted chocolate? Now that I have your attention (and your mouth watering), let’s talk how to make these beauties…
Now these aren’t the traditional churros, which are fried, as my (failing) attempt at healthy eating self said to research some recipes that baked the churros instead of frying them. Half the guilt but double the consumption! I found a few recipes & combined them to make my own.
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees & heat the grill to 180 degrees
- In a medium saucepan, mix together 1 cup of water, the light brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and place over a medium heat. Heat until all the butter has melted and it starts to boil, then remove from heat.
- Add flour to the mixture and stir until it clumps together & no more flour can be seen.
- In a separate bowl mix together the eggs & vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, until it forms a dough-like texture.
- Transfer dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe churros onto baking trays lined with parchment paper.
- Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
- As these are baked, the churros may be less crispy than if they were fried, so to crisp them up, pop them under the grill for a couple of minutes.
- While they cook away, in a bowl mixture together sugar and cinnamon (to your taste) and roll them in this, while they are still hot.
- Consume with melted chocolate.