Summer conjures so many happy memories for me. Family picnics, fishing with my dad, bike trips to visit my cousins up the road, my granny’s ice cream floats, watching my neighbours baling hay and cold meat salads in our back garden.
I’m not going to talk about the compulsory trips to the bog (that’s another story for another day).
For me, all these beautiful nostalgic memories are linked to light and tasty summer food.
To dive deeper, when I think of summer and strawberries, my earliest memory would be begging my parents to stop at the small roadside strawberry stalls on the way to visit my relations on a Sunday.
It was a win-win for my dad – he got to tuck into delicious, sunblushed berries and also got a five-minute breather from me and my siblings (and our elbow wars in the back seat).
Whether it’s the smell of burgers on the barbecue, or the ice cream in the shade, I think we can all agree that everything tastes better when you’re outside.
Both recipes this week are a true taste of summer. First up, it’s my grown-up strawberry crumble ice cream, followed by my gorgeous, buttery open tomato and onion tart.
Both of these can be prepared in advance, giving you plenty of time to take a breath and, hopefully, soak up some summer sun.
Strawberry crumble ice cream
Serves six to eight
Strawberry crumble ice cream.
For the ice cream:
2 medium free-range eggs
6 free-range egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla essence
200g caster sugar
800ml single cream
250g diced Irish strawberries
Few drops red food colouring (optional)
For the crumble:
40g plain flour
15g porridge oats
75g caster sugar1 For the crumble, preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan.2 In a bowl, mix the flour, oats, sugar and butter and with your fingertips until a sandy texture is reached.3 Place this on a lined tray and into the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. You will need to stir the crumble mix throughout the baking process to ensure it cooks evenly.4 Set aside to cool.5 For the ice cream: whip the cream and place back into the fridge to keep cold.6 Pop the eggs, yolks, vanilla and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set this over a pot of gently simmering water. Whisk continuously until doubled in size, thick and glossy.7 Remove from the heat and whisk until cold.8 Fold through the whipped cream and, finally, the diced strawberries.9 At this point, if you want a richer colour, you can add two drops of red food colouring (this is completely optional).10 Spoon half the mix into a 2lb loaf tin and sprinkle on some crumble mix, cover this with the remaining ice cream mix and top with the remaining crumble.11 Pop this into the freezer overnight to firm up.12 To serve, remove the ie cream from the freezer about 20 minutes before you wish to serve.13 Scoop into chilled bowls and serve with some fresh strawberries.
This mix can be poured into lollipop moulds and served as strawberry Ice-pops also.
Tomato, caramelised onion & thyme galette
Tomato, caramelised onion & thyme galette.
For the pastry:
200g plain flour
pinch black pepper
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
120g butter, cold & diced
60ml cold water
For the filling:
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
6-8 medium Irish tomatoes
1 gherkin, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 medium free-range egg1 For the pastry: in a food processor, add the flour, salt, black pepper, thyme, and the cold butter.2 Pulse until you are left with a chunky breadcrumb consistency.3 To this, add the water and mix until a dough is formed.4 Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.5 For the filling: cook the sliced onions in a pan with some oil over a medium/low heat until soft. At this point, add the sugar and cook slowly until they begin to caramalise. Remove from the pan and chill.6 Slice the tomatoes, dice the gherkin and chop the fresh thyme.7 To assemble: preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan. 8 On a floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle with a diameter of 12 inches.9 Spoon the cold onions into the centre, keeping 2 inches around the edge free from food.10 Sprinkle on the chopped gherkin and layer the sliced tomatoes on top of them.11 Season with salt and pepper, and add the chopped thyme12 Once the centre of the galette is filled, fold up the border/edge of the pastry to cover the edge of the tomatoes. Pinch into pleats. 13 Whisk the egg and brush the pastry; sprinkle on the pine nuts and drizzle the tomatoes with rapeseed oil.14 Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are slightly charred.15 Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. This is delicious paired with a dressed side salad.
The pastry can be made and
frozen in advance to speed things
up, just take it out the day before
you need it and allow it to defrost
overnight in the fridge.