Cooking on the radio you say? Well yes indeed! Last Friday morning I had the pleasure of the wonderful Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester being in my tiny kitchen at Wyldelight Cottage. I had been practicing the art of not swearing for 2 days and was still a bit nervous until it dawned on me in the middle of the night before that yes, I could practice not swearing, but the art of “not sounding like a total twat when nervous” has always eluded me. I’ve always done it at the most inopportune moments too, normally when in the vicinity of really handsome men (throw a uniform in there and I go from sounding a bit like a twat to talking full blown nonsensical rubbish!
Luckily we had a good half hour before we started recording just catching up and talking food, that ALWAYS relaxes me and puts me at ease. I wanted to keep the recipe really simple and decided to do something in real time so listeners could see just how easy it all was. I made my Melton Mess with Vanilla Sea Salted Caramel Sauce, it’s outrageously good too and the recipe will feature in this months Great Food Magazine which is out tomorrow. There is lots of cream, custard, strawberries, meringue and yes plenty of salted caramel sauce involved! There weren’t any disasters; I didn’t swear, I did get very excited about what I was making, I probably sounded like a bit of a twat but all in all it went really well and I will have a regular slot each month!
- About a dozen or more large strawberries
- 2 tblsp caster sugar
- 520ml double cream
- 1 large meringue base or 8 meringue “nests”
- 250ml good quality vanilla custard
- salted caramel sauce
- Slice about two thirds of your strawberries and put them in a bowl, sprinkle over the caster sugar, give them a stir and leave to macerate whilst you get on with the rest of the dish. Keep the remaining strawberries to one side for now.
- Using an electric mixer whip the cream until it’s firm, be careful though as it’s very easy to over whip double cream and it will start to separate (and you could accidentally end up with butter!).
- Crush your meringues into pieces, don’t make them too small, as you want different textures to run through the dessert, then stir them into the cream.
- Pour your custard and macerated strawberries and their juice on top of the whipped cream and very gently fold in. You don’t want it to be all mixed in completely, just folded carefully so you have pools of strawberries and custard amongst the cream.
- Carefully tip the mixture onto a big serving platter, scatter the strawberries you had set to one side over the top then drizzle liberally with the salted caramel sauce. Have the pot of caramel on the table so people can help themselves to more, I warn you though: this sauce is highly addictive!
Vanilla Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 120g soft light brown sugar
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 tblsp water
- 260ml double cream
- 2 tsp Halen Môn Vanilla sea salt flakes
- Put the butter, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until bubbling it’s important that you don’t stir it though just swirl the pan to combine.
- Once it’s all melted, let it bubble away for 3 minutes then whisk in your cream and remove from the heat. Add a teaspoon of salt flakes, taste to see if it needs any more (careful though it will be hot). It will seem very runny but it thickens as it cools so make several hours before if you want a firmer sauce and pop it in the fridge.
I sent Ben off with a goodie bag of amazing local foods that are really overlooked in Melton. There is such a big focus on the pork pies and stilton cheese that the other little known producers just get left behind. This weeks goodie bag is a selection of my favourite things that I buy in Melton and not a pork pie or slice of stilton anywhere!
- Blackberry vinegar from Bridget at Melton Sunday market
- Smoked sausages – Grasmere farm (Tuesday market)
- Smoked wild boar bacon – Paul aka The Roosterman (Melton Market Tues, Fri, Sun)
- Homemade butter – Maria (Tuesday market)
- Smoked middle bacon Derek Jones Butchers Melton (the BEST ever!) Plus a slice of their brawn
- various jams/chilli sauce/chutney from my good self as I was spoiling him!
The next goodie bag will be equally as good and I have no idea what I’m going to cook yet but I’m really excited already!