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Bumper crop of Strawberries!

Bumper crop of Strawberries!

What a glorious summer we have had!  Sunny, warm days (maybe even described as hot?!), with just a hint of a breeze. We love it!  In the five years we’ve lived in Ireland, this is definitely the best stretch of weather we’ve experienced.  Our strawberries seem to be quite happy in the heat.   W.O.W.!  We have had tons of them! (only slight exaggeration)

Our two strawberry beds.

Our two strawberry beds.

Last year was our first year growing strawberries and it didn’t go well.  We had too many plants, too close together, and the netting was impossible to get on and off easily.  It didn’t help that it was a horrible year for slugs, and a very wet season!  So we made some changes this year, and we even got lucky with the weather.  We have less plants and more space to get in and around to pick berries and to weed.  The netting is easier to manage this year too, so even the kids can take it off and cover it up again without hassle.  It is just so lovely to have fresh berries!  For us, this is definitely becoming one of our “tastes of summer”!

A ceramic bunny helping to keep the birds away ;-)

A ceramic bunny helping to keep the birds away 😉

Seeing red.

Seeing red.

It really is great to be able to go into the garden and pick your own strawberries.  In America, we used to enjoy going to farms to pick strawberries.  But I have to say that this is something else.  What I’ve learned this year is that the older plants should be replaced with the newer ones.  So later in the season we’ll be planting and replacing and hoping for the best for next year!

My two girls with their haul of strawberries one sunny morning.

My two girls with their haul of strawberries one sunny morning.

Super fresh!

Super fresh!

Given the nice weather, and the abundance of strawberries, I decided to make some Angel food cake.  I have a recipe that I love that calls for raspberries, so it was an easy switch for the strawberries.  We actually made the cake twice in the last week; once using the Amaretto, which is an Italian almond liqueur for the sauce, and once without.  Either way is delicious!

10 egg whites...

10 egg whites…

Given the warm days, I was glad for a rather quick and simple recipe.  It gets even easier for me since my daughter is a super help in the kitchen.  We’re about at the stage where I’m just the “helper”!

Cut up strawberries for inside the angel food cake.

Cut up strawberries for inside the angel food cake.

Pure fluffiness!

Pure fluffiness!

The strawberry sauce.

The strawberry sauce was so easy to make!

This isn't a proper tall angel food cake pan, but it did the trick.

This isn’t a proper tall angel food cake pan, but it did the trick.

Yum!  I have a couple of recipes that I use this with.

Yum! I have a couple of recipes that I use this with.  I just realized that the bottle doesn’t actually say “Amaretto” on it!  But the box does…

Yeah, I snuck  some flowers into the pic! (I had to look up "snuck"!  It is actually used in the US & Canada, but not here.

Yeah, I snuck some flowers into the pic! (I had to look up the term “snuck”! It is actually used in the US & Canada, but not here.)

We were quite happy with the results!

We were quite happy with the results!

I hope you are enjoying some lovely weather where ever you are, and with something tasty to eat too!

Dana

Angel food cake with raspberry Amaretto sauce

The New Basics Cookbook
Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

10 egg whites at room temp
1 ¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup cake flour (2 tblsp corn starch in 1 cup plain flour measure)
1 cup fresh raspberries
Raspberry Amaretto Sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. (176 C)

  1. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large glass bowl (not metal) with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.  Then gradually add the sugar, beating until the whites are stiff, but not dry, and shiny.
  2. Sift the flour onto the egg whites and sprinkle the raspberries over the top. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and raspberries.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 10 inch nonstick tube pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 40 minutes.
  4. Invert the pan onto a cake rack and let it cool completely without removing the cake from the pan.
  5. When the cake is cool, invert the pan onto a serving platter.  Remove the pan carefully, loosening the cake slightly around the edges if necessary, and serve with raspberry sauce.

 Raspberry Amaretto Sauce

 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed if frozen
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup amaretto liqueur

  1. Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and amaretto, and continue to process until smooth.
  2. Strain the sauce to remove the seeds, and serve.
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