Summer Bruschetta


Blueberry and avocado brusettaIt’s the end of August, it’s cloudy and feeling more like autumn, but it’s still summer, right? These bruschetta will definitely give you that summer feeling, even though the weather is not helping!

The fresh flavours, vibrant colours and the satisfying crunch of the bread, tick all the boxes for my ideal lunch (or starter). The combination of ingredients in this dish, may look a little strange, but trust me, it really works. The creamy avocado contrasts with the juiciness of the blueberries, and the lime zest brings the two together. The saltiness of the feta adds another dimension to the flavour. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

Avocado, Blueberry and Feta Bruschetta

(Waitrose Kitchen magazine, May, 2014)


(Serves 2-4)

1 avocado diced

200g blueberries

Bunch of coriander

Bunch of parsley

½ green chilli finely diced

1 lime, zest and juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 slices crusty bread

1 clove of garlic, halved

100g feta cheese


  • Mix the avocado , herbs, blueberries, chilli, lime zest and juice and oil in a bowl. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
  • Toast or chargrill the bread, then rub both sides with the halved garlic.
  • Pile the avocado mixture on the toasts and sprinkle over the feta cheese. Drizzle with more oil before serving. DSC01593

Summer Pudding

Summer puddingThis classic summer pudding is perfect for this time of year when berries are in abundance. It’s very easy to make and I just love the colours that seep into the bread. You can serve it with cream, ice cream, yoghurt, or have it just as it is…simply delicious!


Adapted from Good Food Magazine (June 2104)

350g mixed berries

(I used fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries)

2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

Zest 1 lemon

Sunflower oil for greasing

3-4 slices of slightly stale white bread


  • Tip the berries (apart from the strawberries) into a saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and stir. Set over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has begun to release its juices. Increase the heat to boil and then simmer for 2 minutes until the fruit is soft and there is a lot of red juice.
  • Quarter the strawberries and add to the saucepan along with the lemon zest. Remove from heat.
  • Strain the fruit, reserving the juice.
  • Lightly oil 2 ramekins and line with cling film with enough over the edge to cover the top of the pudding.
  • Using a pastry cutter, cut out 2 small pieces of bread to line the bottom of the ramekins. Dip one side of the bread in the juice and place juice side down in the ramekins.
  • Then cut strips of bread long and tall enough to cover the sides of the ramekin. Dip them in the juice then line the ramekins.
  • Pack the strained fruit into the bread lined ramekins. (Leave some for decorating).
  • Cut out two slightly larger circles of bread, dip them in the juice then push down on top of the fruit to seal the pudding.
  • Cover with the cling film and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to serve, turn the puddings out of the ramekins onto plates, decorate with the remaining fruit and pour over the remaining juices.


Summer Berry Tarts


Whenever I go out for coffee, I like to treat myself to something sweet. Fruit tarts of any kind are a firm favourite of mine. However, I’m always slightly disappointed when the pastry cases are just filled with cream. The crème pat with the mascarpone in this recipe is delicious, certainly not disappointing. For these tarts, I chose strawberries that were quite small so that I could keep them whole. Some of the blackberries were outrageously large, which I just loved. For the pastry, I followed Eric Lanlard’s recipe from his book Tart it Up! This is the best pastry I’ve tasted and it works every time. I now only ever use his pastry recipes. Of course, if you’re short of time, you can always buy it.

Adapted from Waitrose Early Summer Harvest, 2014

375g sweet shortcrust pastry
250g strawberries
150g raspberries
150g blackberries
150g blueberries
2 tablespoons apricot jam

For the crème pâtissière
3 medium egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
350ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
250g mascarpone

Eric Lanlard’s Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
(This makes 500g, you only need 375 for the berry tarts, but the pastry freezes well for 6 weeks)
200g plain flour
4 tablespoons golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl.
  • Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Use fingertips to mix and ingredients and make a dough.
  • Turn pastry out onto a floured surface and gather into a ball.
  • Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.


Blind Baking

  • Preheat oven to 180°c /fan 160°c/ Gas Mark 4
  • Roll pastry out onto buttered mini tart tins.
  • Prick the pastry and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  • Place a large piece of grease proof pastry over the case and fill it with baking beads, (or in my case dried split peas).
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes until the pastry is dry and crisp and the top edges of the tarts are golden.


  • Preheat oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ Gas Mark 4.
  • Make the crème pâtissière by whisking together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a heatproof bowl.
  • Pour milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla and bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat, strain through a sieve onto the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Return to the pan and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  • Transfer to a bowl, press a sheet of cling film onto the surface (this will prevent a skin forming) and leave to cool.
  • Once the crème pâtissière has cooled completely, beat in the mascarpone then spoon or pipe the mixture into the pastry cases and top with berries.
  • Heat the jam in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Pass through a sieve then use a pastry brush to paint the glaze onto the fruit.
  • Transfer to the fridge to chill for 1 hour before serving.