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WTSIM – the berried treasures round-up

Berried treasures indeed.  Judging by the length of time this Waiter, There’s Something in My… roundup took, some of you probably thought I’d buried them and then forgotten where they were buried!  But never fear, all your entries are safe and sound and I haven’t lost my treasure map. 


As I’d hoped, this month’s berry theme was not only perfectly seasonal (for this hemisphere, anyway…), but also lent itself very well to various levels of complexity.  From simple berries and yoghurt, to far more elaborate berry creations – everything looked and sounded wonderful. So without further ado, grab a shovel and let’s go looking for berried treasure!


When I first went over to read my friend Nic’s entry at Cherrpeno, I wrote in the comments “I’m sorry, my brain stopped functioning when I read ‘white chocolate custard cream’” – and I wasn’t joking because I then proceeded to forget to include her divine entry in the roundup!  So as a gesture of recompense I’ve added it right at the top where everyone can see her picture-perfect summer berry millefeuille.  Apologies, Nic!


First off the mark, shortly after I announced the theme was one of my favourite bloggers – Susan of Food Blogga in San Diego, California.  She was also one of only three brave souls who attempted a savoury berry dish – bravo!  She wowed me not only with her pictures but also with the innovative recipe for pork tenderloin with a strawberry & mango salsa.  How can anybody resist that?


On the other side of the world, Johanna of the Green Gourmet Giraffe in Melbourne kept it simple and made a smoothie.  But not this any smoothie… this one has a surprise vegetable ingredient.  Raspberry, apricot and pumpkin smoothies, anyone?  As Johanna says, suspend your disbelief till you try one – it really works!


I love a good clafoutis, I do… and apparently, so does The Budding Cook over in the USA.  After a trip to the farmers’ market left her with a glut of blueberries, she decided on a blueberry clafoutis. A very berry clafoutis – wonderful!  And knowing how healthy blueberries are, you can almost convince yourself that this is health food…!


Like me, Mansi of Food and Fun in California was pretty sceptical the first time she heard of strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper.  But, like me, she was won over as soon as she tasted them.  And now she has even used them to give a new twist to an old favourite as she prepares vanilla pannacotta with balsamic strawberries.  And just see her adorable heart-shaped panacottas!


In the northern parts of Europe, strawberry season isn’t going to last forever so Ulrike of Kuechenlatein in Germany is making the most of the local berries while they’re available.  She keeps things really simple with strawberries on yoghurt – all the better to taste those little treasures!  And check out the martini glass presentation 🙂


Talk about blogging beyond the call of duty… Although Kit of Food and Family lives just outside Cape Town, she was so devastated that the WTSIM berry theme was out of sync with South Africa’s seasons that she arranged a family trip to the UK especially so she coudl make somethign with fresh berries 😉  And what she makes is probably the all-time classic English berry dessert:  summer pudding.  Who would have thought that stale white bread and berries could taste so damn good?


Moving over to Vienna, we meet up with Astrid of Paulchens Foodblog.  Apparently, it’s been hotter there than it has been here because she’s been craving a frozen dessert.  She creates a strawberry-raspberry frozen yoghurt that not only tastes fab, but just look at the beautiful mould she’s made it in.  I’d say it looks good enough to eat 🙂


You’ve probably all heard of some variation of rhubarb & strawberry pie, but Mickey of Kitchen Inferno in St Louis, Missouri decides to ring the changes and presents us with a rhubarb and blackberry pie instead.  I agree with her that theflavours and colours are more interesting than pies using strawberries and I like the crumble she puts on top of the pie – I can convince myself it’s a healthy dish 🙂


I do love a twist on a classic dish… and apparently, so does Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen in Melbourne, Australia.  You’ve all had lemon meringue pie – a great combination of sweet and tart flavours – so why not try a berry meringue pie instead? Cakelaw had cleverly frozen a couple of punnets of berries when they were in season and they worked beautifully as a pie filling.  Clever!


Up next is another of my favourite bloggers, fellow South African Inge of Vanielje Kitchen in Somerset, UK.  She subscribes to the same belief as I do, namely that the best dishes take 30 minutes in the kitchen, but look and taste as if they took 3 hours.  She wows her friends and family with strawberry & raspberry feuilletées – she describes it as summer on a plate and who am I to argue?


A newcomer, both to blogging and top WTSIM is the lovely Dawnielle of Exceeding the Speed Limit.  She and I have been chatting on e-mail since long before she started her blog and I’m thrilled that she has taken the plunge 🙂  She combines the sweetness of peaches with the tartness of raspberries to create a delicious looking rustic raspberry peach galette – and the secret is… vodka in the crust.  Now that’s my kind of baking :o) 


And as if that wasn’t enough, Dawnielle also created a second entry for this momth’s WTSIM!  She because the second participant along with FoodBlogga to try a savoury berry-based dish as she brings us an intriguing raspberry chipotle Zinfandel marinade.  WIth those flavours, how can yo go wrong, and just look at the vibrant colour.


From there, we head over to Amman, Jordan to visit Zita of Simplicious.  She is one of those brave and crazy bloggers that make up the Daring Bakers, and she found that she had some praline left after this month’s challenge.  She transforsm it by building an entirely new dish around it: praline strawberry tarts with sour cream filling.  Gorgeous!


Down in Sydney, Australia, Anna of Morsels & Musings shows us that you don’t have to think summery desserts when you think of berries.  Oh no – she pictures chilly Victorian familes huddled around their table in England to ooh and aah as the steamed pudding is ummoulded. Her version consists of individual steamed blueberry puddings, and I’m sure there are oohs and aahs all round!


One of the best things about food blog events like WTSIM is that you get to discover new blogs – like Jude’s Apple Pie, Patis and Pate in Chicago, Illinois which I had not visited before.  Jude wowed me with an unusual berry dessert – raspberry lambic sorbet, made with rasberry lambic beer!  Simple and brilliant – I’ll be back 🙂


I think everyone has dishes that they have an unreasonable phobia of making. For me, it’s jam… but Karen of Bake my Day in the Netherlands has no such qualms!  She gives a great step-by-step explanation of how to make strawberry jam, including the sterlilization of the jars.  And I love the addition of black pepper to the recipe!


We’re staying with strawberries but heading over to visit Faith of Blog Appetit in San Francisco next.  She has that rarest of assets – a husband who voluntarily stops the car to shop at farmstalls (unlike mine!) – and as a result she had more berries than she knew what to do with.  So she makes strawberry sorbet with a berried treasure inside – literally! 


It seems that frozen desserts were a big hit this month as we head over to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit Bhags of Crazy Curry.  Bhags gives us a beautiful post, all about memories of the monsoon in India – I was ready to book my flight by the time I’d fininshed reading it!  And the post finishes on a high note with David Lebovitz’s frozen blueberry yoghurt. Yummy!


Up next is one of my favourite recipes this month. The lovely Deeba of Passionate About Baking… & Beyond near Delhi, India gets my attention by using some wonderful quotes from Erma Bombeck, but I really sat up and started listening when I got to the recipe for chocolate cinnamon mousse with cherries.  Can you think of a better combinatio of tastes?  Nope, me neither 🙂 


If you’re in England and you have stale white bread and berries, you make summer pudding.  But if you’re first-time WTSIMer Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures in Chicago, Illinois you make… strawberry bread & butter pudding!  I love playng around with the basic bread & butter pudding recipe, and this seems like an inspired take on the original.


Slightly north and across the border, we pop in to visit Kevin of Closet Cooking in Toronto, Canada.  He’s another brave soul who attempted a savoury dish as he finds himself with more strawberries than he knows what to do with.  The rest of us might have made jam… but Kevin dreamed up cod with a strawberry and balsamic salsa!  I’m intrigued – and I’m sure you will be too!


Up next is one of my favourite entries this month from one of my favourite bloggers – Ilva of Lucullian Delights in Italy.  Not only does she say the most outrageously nice things about me, she also posts a spectacular mixed berry and ginger tart with a rosemary crust.  Berries + ginger + rosemary can only = absolutely fabulous – and just look at her exquisite photos…


Back to Canada, and this time we’re off to visit my old friend Elizabeth from Blog from OUR kitchen. Like me, Elizabeth always seems to have more things to do than there are hours in a day but this month she comfortably makes the deadline.  Her dish is a delicious strawberry shortcake, but it’s quite different to how I always imagined it – go and take a look for yourself 🙂


It seems strawberries were a big hit this month on both sides of the Atlantic.  Back here in the UK in Bristol, Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar tries something a little more adventurous with hers than the usual strawberries and cream.  Just have a look at her spiced strawberry soup with honey frozen yoghurt and strawberry granita – not only is it beautiful (look at the intense colour of that soup!) but it sounds mouthwateringly delicious too.


From the relatively complex to the deliciously simple – let’s see that Becke of Columbus Foodie in Columbus, Ohio is up to.  She seems to have a treasure chest of assorted fresh berries at her fingertips and sticks to a beautifully simple dish to let the ingredients shine through: mixed berries with lemon quark.  Just look at that tempting picture!


As I mentioned earlier, one of the great things about hosting this event is discovering new blogs and another new discovery for me this month is Munchkin Mail, here in Warwickshire, UK.  First time WTSIMer Lysy wows me with another simply delicious recipe for strawberries – grilled strawberries with Pimms.  Now can you think of anything more symbolic of an English summer menu?


From the simple to the more complex, and from the UK to The Hague in the Netherlands to visit Linda of Make Life Sweeter.  She was asked to make something for a charity fundraiser and just look at these little redcurrant & blackcurrant mini cakes she made – little jewelled berry beauties!  No wonder they sold out before she got a taste.


Back across the channel in Derbyshire, UK, I can’t resist popping into Jules’ kitchen at Domestic Goddess in Training.  After a visit to a pick-your-own berry farm, she just has to make a classc English pudding – but she grabs my attention by miniaturising the portions to give us adorable individual summer puddings.  Gorgeous!


On the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia it’s the middle of winter and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the antipodean bloggers would struggle with this month’s theme.  Not the lovely Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once!  You see, she froze some blueberries in the summer when they were plentiful and now she has no trouble whipping up a brioche and blueberry pudding – a rather sexy take on bread and butter pudding.  Inspired.


Probably the most unusual berries I came across this round arrived courtesy of Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook in New York.  You’ve all seen raspberries, in their day-glo red colour.  But how many of you have seen yellow raspberries?  I know I haven’t…  Susan gives them extra special treatment, first by cooking the fruit in a spiced syrup and then baking them in a rosemary-spiked yellow raspberry crisp.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 


Now we’ve had all sorts of baked goods this month, but not really that many cakes.  However, Paula from Dragon’s Kitchen in Ontario, Canada aims ro redress that imbalance.   She makes a cake – but oh what a cake.  One look at the beautiful photo, and the fabulous inclusion of Limoncello in the recipe will tell you that this lemon blueberry cake is something special 🙂 


And right here in England we meet up with the lovely I-Ling from Feed Me!  I’m Hungry!  She’s also been travelling, but still manages to squeeze in a gorgeous entry for this month’s WTSIM – it’s a baked raspberry and nectarine (pan)cake.  Think colourful clafoutis and you wouldn’t be far wide of the mark – too lovely!


Co-founder of this event, Andrew of Spittoon, has been travelling more than ME lately!  Geneva, Berlin… it’s allright for some!  Just before he set off on his travels he made the most of some berried in his freezer and cream in the fridge to counjour up the simply delicious mixed berry mousse.


After returning home from his travels, Andrew of SpittoonExtra managed to squeeze in a second entry – and this one’s a goodie.  It may be simple, but his chocolate croissants with strawberries and ice cream looks mind-bogglingly good – and easy enough to make on the spur of the moment.


And last but not least, there’s my own entry – those deliciously sinful dark chocolate and raspberry cupcakes.  One bite and you’ll be doomed to eternal (but delicious!) chocolatey damnation ;-).


Phew!  A huge thank you to everyone who went to so much trouble to take part and create wonderful berry-based dishes.  It’s been a pleasure browsing through all your wonderful blogs 🙂 Next month, it’s Johanna‘s turn to host WTSIM and I hear a rumour that the theme may involve sumer picnics… Do check her site to see when she announces the theme!