In recent years there are a few buzz words associated with all the lovely fruits & vegetables available, that are used to tell us why we should eat them. The key phrases are super food, rich in antioxidants, & packed full of vitamins and so on. I feel that all food is good for us, consumed in the correct quantities and eaten on a regular basis. There has been much research that has been conducted on strawberries and the results suggest that it is rich in vitamin C, is filled with antioxidants that help fight cancer and heart disease, rich in folic acid and are also good at helping reduce tartar as well as maintaining healthy skin. With or without the title of super food, strawberries are a great tasting food which gives us an uplifting effect and can satisfy any sweet tooth.
This recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes was requested from my dear son for some months now. He asked my younger sister to make a strawberry chocolate cake, so she attempted it earlier this year. She adapted her normal recipe for eggless chocolate cake and added strawberry jam and syrup. This experiment did not quite work as the cake sank! I then had a go with the yoghurt cake recipe and added strawberry syrup and cocoa. It smelt great but the taste was not there. Then at a recent food festival, I had tried some strawberry cake/bread which was vegan. They had used a lot of chopped fresh fruit to get taste and texture. Then I also saw a few recipes which inspired me, there was this Blueberry coffee cake & Eggless Vanilla Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.
From all of that research and experimenting, I made the following recipe which was a good first attempt. The cup cakes were moist and had the correct balance of fruit and sugar. My husband said they were more like muffins than cupcakes, but all the same tasted great. I was glad that I took up the challenge and ventured into creating this recipe.
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Each year as the mango season is upon us we enjoy eating it just as it is meant to be – plain and simple. The other favourite is to have mango pulp (ras) with our meal (it is great served with puri and any curry). Just so as we can prolong the taste and enjoy them well after the season has ended, it is always a good idea to freeze the pulp.
In the Indian culture mangoes are considered to be the king of all fruits, a place which is rightly deserved as the taste, aroma and juice of the fruit are all beyond comparison. In recent times it has become quite the trend to label the food that we eat as super foods or foods that are good for us. In my opinion all food if eaten in the correct quantity is a super food as it is all good for us, some may have qualities that other fruits don’t but that does not mean we eat any less of it. Having said that mangoes are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and dietary minerals & fibre, hence qualifying as a ideal superfruit.
When I made these ice lollies last year, with my son, they were with just plain mango. So this year I thought I will do two batches, one with just mango and the other with some other fruit mixed in. So I thought of the 5 a day campaign and tried to incorporate as many fruits as I had at the time. Four out of five is not bad and considering they are all rich in vitamin C, A & E and in potassium, phytochemicals, and nutrients. This is one of the main reasons why I like to make these kind of foods at home as I know that it is 100% fruit, not from concentrate and not ladled with sugar and addatives. I know exactly what goes into the lollies and I control the content of fruit and sugar. This is exactly how it was when we young, as there were no sell by dates on the food we ate nor did it give us any allergies or side effects. The fact that it is so quick and easy to make should be the other deciding factor in making these lollies.
Coincidently when we made the lollies, my son was learning about freezing water to make ice, so this was a perfect way of teaching him the process of creating something that he enjoys eating. He was very excited as a result to see the process, however was quite anxious as the waiting time was too long (freezing time).
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It has become a kind of tradition for our family for the past few years to go strawberry picking during the season. Especially since my son and nieces have arrived, it is so much fun watching them enjoy themselves, picking and eating the strawberries. When my son was one and a half years old, he went for the first time, he had such a good time, eating the juicy red sweet strawberries, his face was covered and he smelled sweet for the rest of the day. This year we made a family day out as both my brother in-law and husband joined us, as a result we picked so many strawberries and decided to make a few things with them. So the first thing was to make ice cream with the children, combining their love of the fruit and everyone’s favourite – ice cream. All three children had their share of helping prepare the ingredients and then mixing them in the machine and felt important that they had a part in making it. Doing such an activity is a great way to teach them how things grow and how they are made into the end product which they enjoy so much.
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I have lots of fond memories of Easter when I was young because we would go away for short breaks to lake Malawi. Then when we moved to Birmingham from Malawi, Easter would mean coming over to London to visit relatives. All of us getting together, keeping in touch and having wonderful food, with lots of chocolate of course!! So exchanging easter eggs became a new tradition for us. After the initial binging on the easter eggs we would find creative ways of using the remaining chocolate.
Recently we went visiting relatives and in a conversation we were having, as the children were given easter eggs, was – “how much we pay for a hollow egg – just chocolate ! It should be filled ??!!”. My cousin (Raju) and I were talking about it and she mentioned a conversation she had with her son Rushil about how to make a filled easter egg. So this recipe is his patent idea! I loved his idea of making pistachio barfi and then coating it with chocolate. As I got thinking about it more, I thought let me give his idea a go and this year give everyone home made easter eggs. So I made orange flavoured barfi then coated them with chocolate and placed them on crunchy nests made with chocolate covered cornflakes. The result – wonderful fun thing to do with children over easter and the taste match made in heaven – orange and chocolate 🙂
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