Weekend Bites: Strawberry fields forever
Summer and strawberries go hand-in-hand - here's some of the best recipes to get you in the mood
Summer Berry Mille Feuille
250g strong plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250g butter (room temperature)
150ml cold water
100g strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, all halved
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter into small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely.
2. Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm, rough dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until three times the width, about 20x50cm. Keep the edges straight and even.
4. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling to use.
5. Roll out the pastry for use and, using a pizza cutter, form rows and columns so that you end up with a couple dozen rectangles, roughly the same size.
6. Preheat the oven to 200°C, line a tray with baking paper and place the pastry rectangles on individually, allowing some space between them.
7. Bake the pastry squares for 10-15 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a baking tray.
8. To serve, stack the three rectangles on top of each other with a layer of whipped cream and summer berries in between.
4 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
300g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ punnet raspberries
½ punnet strawberries
1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1, line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. Put the egg whites into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt before whisking with an electric beater until the eggs have formed soft peaks.
3. Begin to add the caster sugar to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, whisking on a high speed between each tablespoon. Once the sugar has been added, whisk the mixture on a high speed for a further three minutes or until it is glossy and forms stiff peaks.
4. Gently fold in the vanilla extract with a large metal spoon. Use a tablespoon to scoop the
meringues onto the prepared baking trays.
5. For the ripple colour effect, dip a cocktail stick into the red food colouring and swirl it through your meringues.
6. Now bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there to cool completely, with the oven door slightly open.
7. Cut the raspberries and strawberries in half. Spoon a small amount of the coulis into the bottom of each of four tall glasses. Crush the cooled meringues and sprinkle them over the coulis, followed by some fruit.
8. Add another spoonful of the coulis on top and continue to layer the ingredients until the glass is almost full. Pour a dollop of cream over the mixture, allowing it to indulgently coat the fruit and meringues.
Ask the expert: What seasonal Irish produce should we be cooking with now?
Brian Walsh - chef and co-proprietor of The Pigeon House, Clontarf
This time of year, I’m using Irish wild garlic. It’s very versatile. We use it in our home-made pesto and we also use it wilted down as a flavour garnish with meats. It can be foraged easily, once you know what you are looking for, but it’s available to pick up in good green grocers too.
Now is also the time for the first of the Irish strawberries. At the Pigeon House, we serve a delicious dish that makes the most of the berries’ sharp sweetness, which we pepper and pair with a creamy buttermilk pannacotta and milk crumble.
We’ll soon start to see Irish peas and broad beans. Fresh Irish peas are such a treat every year and work in many dishes and salads. It’s surprising what a big taste these tiny vegetables pack.
The Pigeon House, Vernon Ave, Clontarf, is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving brunch Saturday and Sunday. See