Giant Strawberry Mivvi

Stawberry Mivvi

Remember Lyons Maid ice lollies?  The Orange Maid, a belter of orange cordial flavoured ice, lasted ages, always good value.  The Cider Quench which made us giggle and pretend to be drunk.  The Zoom, the Fab and of course the Cornish Strawberry Mivvi.  Treats from childhood years along with those brick like blocks of ice cream the perfect shape to slice and put between oblong wafers or into those funny rectangular cones (is that a geometric impossibility?).

The Strawberry Mivvi in particular required a certain skill to pick off the strawberry ice outer shell leaving a heart of vanilla ice cream to be licked quickly before it melted.  I liked the strawberry layer and I liked the ice cream but it was the combination of the two that makes the Mivvi excel, that British classic Strawberries and Cream – on a stick.

Not content to leave this alone I decided a giant version was required, a Mivvi bombe surprise, a family size spectacular, a Mighty Mivvi if you will.  This strawberry sorbet is one I’ve made many times over the years, the pure fragrance of the berries sings and you can easily dispense with the rest of this recipe and eat it as it is.  I sometimes make vanilla ice cream but on this occasion have used 2 tubs of a good store bought one.

You need to make this a day or so before you want to eat which of course is only a bonus as it sits happily in the freezer until you are ready.  Before you start however, make sure you have a good amount of free space on a freezer shelf, I didn’t take this early precaution and had to do a ridiculous amount of moving and rearranging to accommodate the bowl.  Learn from my mistakes!

Giant Strawberry Mivvi

500g strawberries

150g caster sugar

500ml water

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 x 500ml tubs good vanilla ice cream

Dissolve the sugar in a little of the 500ml of water over a low heat then cool.  Whizz the strawberries with the lemon juice and then mix with the sugar syrup and remaining water.  Sieve and then freeze in an ice cream maker or put in a tub in the freezer and mix regularly to break down the ice crystals.  Once you have sorbet by either route transfer it to a 2 litre bowl, then take a 1 litre bowl with a layer of cling film on the outside and push it gently into the larger bowl thus squishing the sorbet up the sides – this sounds more complicated than it is.  Put in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.  Half an hour before the time is up take your 2 tubs of vanilla ice cream out of the freezer to soften.  Then remove the smaller bowl, and the cling film from the sorbet (you may need to put a little warm water inside the smaller bowl to encourage its release) and then fill up the cavity with the vanilla ice cream, easily done it its softened state.  Put it back into the freezer for at least an hour to firm up until you want it.  Then (conversely) you will need to leave the whole thing out of the freezer for 15-20 minutes before you want to cut it, this too may need sitting in warm water to encourage it to part company with the bowl.  Serves 8, with aplomb.

Stawberry Mivvi 2

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Feta

Green Bean Salad

I am very keen on the whole family eating together and of course eating the same thing,  I might have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of “kid’s food” and who needs it. Be adventurous, there are so many delicious things to try and honestly who wants the headache of cooking lots of different dishes?  That said, it is not always plain sailing to keep the customers happy.  One of my children is currently off pasta, rice (except Paella – how does that work?) and sausages, neither like mashed potato and the other doesn’t really go a bundle on many vegetables.  I am nothing if not determined however and this salad suits everyone.

The crisp beans with sweet tomatoes and salty feta go together unbelievably well. I can’t quite say perfect marriage, too many contenders but that sort of thing.   My daughter loves the beans because of the garlicky dressing and the feta (but not the tomatoes), my son loves the beans and tomatoes (but not the feta) and I love it because the bowl is always empty.  I often serve this with roast chicken or lamb and it is one of the sides I am most likely to make to go with a barbecue.   It is a perfect solitary lunch or supper, quick, easy (so simple I am almost embarrassed to put it up as a recipe) and cheap too.

A twist on this and particularly good with chicken or fish is to lose the feta and have loads of garlic, lemon (zest and juice) and parsley or dill along with some black olives.  I do alter the components depending on who is eating the salad and would usually add olives the version you see in the photograph.

I served this, as you can see in the picture, with some focaccia which is simply the wild garlic one I wrote about in May but now that the wild garlic is over I use a regular good olive oil on its own but you could easily whizz up some other herbs if you like.

Green Bean Salad 4


Green Beans with Tomatoes and Feta

250-300g green beans, topped and tailed

A large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

75g feta, cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed

Cook the beans until just tender.  Mix the oil, vinegar and garlic in a bowl with a little salt (remember the feta is salty) and pepper then add the beans and turn them well in the dressing, put in the tomatoes and feta and mix gently until just coated.  Taste, you may want to add a little more seasoning.  Serves 4.

Bridport Food Fair

B biscuits

Come and make some biscuits with me at Bridport Food Fair this Saturday, 14th June.  I will be in the Children’s Marquee at 3.00pm where you can make, bake and then eat your own biscuits.  There will be other free, hands-on cookery and food related fun to be had.  The fair takes place in Askers Meadow (next to Morrisons car park) from 9.30am to 5.00pm and there will be masses of food stalls, cooking demonstrations, farmers’ market, beer/cider tent and music.   Check out

B biscuits 2

Roast Asparagus with Parmesan, and Banting

Asparagus with parmesan

Are you Banting?  No I’m not being weird or misspelling, it refers to HFLC –  the high fat, low carb way of eating.  When we were in South Africa recently everyone was talking about Tim Noakes and his Real Meal Revolution book.  The night we arrived we had supper with friends, a fabulous carb free supper incidentally and were introduced to the idea, among others, of avocado, anchovies and cream cheese for breakfast.  I tried it, totally delicious and not as peculiar as you might think.  This way of eating is all the rage there, tout le monde was either talking about it or doing it and by the way, losing weight on it.   To the point that the book was sold out in most places and I was lucky to find a copy.  The day we flew out I saw a new magazine based on the philosophy at the airport – this is big over there.

Fundamentally you eat fats in their original, purest form i.e. regular milk or yogurt rather than messed around with low fat versions.  Good fats fill you up so you can eat less of them, what you need to keep a beady eye on are those carbs as that sugar can play havoc.  Chicken to be eaten with its delicious, crispy skin, bacon, avocados, cheese…. and you can lose weight.  Sounds like a dream no? It isn’t a pink ticket to go crazy though, vegetables are a huge part of the regime and the recipe section of the book is sensational.

Whilst I can’t tell you I am following this idea, I am interested in something that has gained such a huge following and I will read the book cover to cover.  In the spirit of it however, this weeks’ recipe is something I cook every year when asparagus is in season.  The roasting intensifies the asparagus flavour and the parmesan adds a gorgeous, salty savoury finish.   Quick, make it before the asparagus is over for another year.

Roast Asparagus with Parmesan

1 bunch of asparagus

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Parmesan, grated – as much as you would like

Preheat the oven to 200.  Trim the bottom of the asparagus, either just snap them off where they ‘give’ or peel the bottom third.  Put them on a baking tray, pour over a little olive oil and turn the spears in it.  Season well with salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes until just singeing at the edges.  Grate some parmesan over them and return to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes until the cheese has just melted and then tuck in.  I sometimes have this for lunch on my own or it could serve two as a light starter (or just do two bunches for a proper size starter!)   A drop of good balsamic is a nice finishing touch.