Sweet Summer Treats

shares her favourite summer dessert recipes for you to try during the hot weather…

In the aftermath of the exam period, it is rather tempting to continue the student tradition of living on takeaways and ready-made meals. Many of us just want to relax in the sun or catch up with our friends. However, with all the free time on our hands, there is no excuse not to try concocting something new in the kitchen.

One of the best fruits to eat during the summer holidays is the strawberry. Sweet, succulent and full of antioxidants, what is not to love? They are an excellent source of vitamins C and K and provide the body with fibre, folic acid and manganese.

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC

There are many things you can make using strawberries and here are just a few simple ideas:

1. Eton Mess
Serves 4

A classic British dessert, Eton Mess makes a great summer treat.

Ingredients:
– 4 ready-made meringues
– 350g strawberries
– 250ml double cream

Method:

1. Firstly, crush the ready-made meringues nests into small pieces.
2. Pour the cream into a bowl and then whisk by hand or with an electric whisk until whipped. 3. Wash, then chop the tops off of the strawberries and slice into quarters.
4. Finally, add the whipped cream and the strawberries to the crushed meringue and split between four dessert bowls.

Tip: Try adding a splash of elderflower cordial or even the juice of a freshly squeezed lime for a fruity twist. Grated white chocolate on top would be a great finishing touch.

2. Strawberry mousse
Serves 6

Ingredients:
– 300g strawberries
– 142ml cream
– 20g granulated sugar
– 30g icing sugar

Method:

1. Cut the strawberries into small slices and place in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.
2. Mix together and leave to set for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, whip the cream with 2 tbsps of icing sugar until soft peaks begin to form.
3. Blend the strawberries in a food processor or with a whisk until smooth and then fold gently into the cream.
4. Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours or until set. Serve in dessert glasses.

3. Barbecue cooked strawberries.
Serves 4

This may seem like a slightly strange concept but it is a delicious post-barbecue dessert.

Ingredients:
– 1 450g punnet strawberries
– 1-2 tbsp Cointreau

Method:

1. Chop the tops off the strawberries and cut in half.
2. Place the strawberries in some tinfoil and drizzle with cointreau or a similar liquor of your choice. Alternatively, you can substitute the liquor with honey for a non-alcoholic desert.
3. Loosely wrap the foil around the strawberries to create a package and then place on the grill of the barbecue for 5-10 minutes until the strawberries are very soft; they should now be a pale pink colour.
4. Serve immediately with cream or ice cream and enjoy!

For a slightly healthier alternative, try adding strawberries and blueberries to salad greens for a sweet lunch time snack.

For a refreshing beverage, try making lemonade with these 5 easy steps
Serves 5

Photo credit: brianwferry

Photo credit: brianwferry

Ingredients:

3 lemons (you may add more to enhance the flavour)
140g of sugar
1 litre tap water

Method:

1. Squeeze the lemons into a cup.
2. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan to make a syrup. Ensure that the sugar has dissolved completely without letting the mixture bubble vigorously.
3. Pour the syrup and lemon juice into a large pitcher.
4. Gradually add the water, continuing until the flavour is to your liking and then leave the pitcher to cool in the fridge for at least half an hour.
5. Serve with lots of ice and enjoy!

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