Browsing all articles tagged with berries

Blackberry, Basil and Wild Rice Salad

What you’ll need…

2 cups cooked wild rice

1 cup yellow string beans (trimmed, 1″ chopped and blanched)

2/3 cup cow’s feta (loosely chopped or crumbled)

1/2 cup cucumber (halved, thinly sliced)

1/2 cup zucchini squash (halved, thinly sliced)

1/2 cup blackberries (halved)

1/2 cup fresh basil (loosely chopped or torn)

1/3 cup green onions (finely chopped)

4 artichoke hearts (quartered)

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP honey

2 TSP soy sauce

salt and pepper

Continuing with my newfound (and we’ll assume fleeting) love of healthy salads, I present to you what is, quite possibly, the healthiest dish I have put on this site so far this summer. Healthy or not, this is summer in a bowl. For sure.

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Vanilla Blueberry ‘Cheat’ Jam

What you’ll need…

1 pint fresh blueberries (approx. 2 cups)

1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

1/2 cup apple juice

1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract

2 TBSP corn starch


This is going to be easier than, well, I don’t know…most things in life? The reason I’ll call it ‘cheat’ jam, for lack of a better term, is the fact that there is no pectin, nor jarring required. Not that I’m knocking preserving at all. I just think it’s best left to the autumn months. Not to mention, it makes a superb grandson-grandmother bonding activity.

Super simple. Combine the first four ingredients in a small pot. Stir a few times to combine, and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Now, reduce to medium heat and let the mixture bubble away for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, the berries will have broken down and the sauce should have a nice blue colour to it (we are using blueberries after all…).

Now, to thicken things up a bit…In a small bowl, whisk together 2 TBSP of corn starch and a 1/4 cup of water. Pour into the pot, stirring until the combo has been completely absorbed into the mix. Within about a minute, the sauce should thicken up considerably. If it’s still a bit runny, just add a bit more corn starch/water to the equation. Problem solved.

Remove the pot from heat and let cool. Transfer to an air-tight container and into the fridge. This ‘cheat’ jam will last up to two weeks. Keep ‘er covered.

Now, shall we toast to the jam?

Yields 2 1/2 cups of jam

Total cook time…20 min


Berry, It’s Cold Outside (Cake)

What you’ll need…


3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 TBSP cinnamon

1 TSP ground cloves

1 TBSP baking powder

1/4 TSP salt

1 cup softened butter (or vegan margarine)

2 eggs (or egg-replacer equivalent)

3/4 cup milk (soy if vegan)

a handful (or so) of the berries listed below…


1 cup brewed MarketSpice tea (water will do if cooking with tea scares you)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries

1/2 cup white sugar

This one is for all of those people who pull the ‘I really can’t stay’. No buts, baby, you’re going to stay and have some god damn delicious dessert. This should, perhaps, be titled ‘Rustic Berry Cake‘, but due to our current holiday season I felt as though a Christmas song title should be referenced.

This will be a cake walk…(officially my best joke. ever.) First off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, on low setting, combine all cake dry ingredients. Now, add the softened butter, and let mix until crumbly. Finally, add-in the milk, eggs, and that handful of berries (I favour blackberries, so my handful leans towards those, but a mixed handful is encouraged). Mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Press the dough into a prepared 8″ round cake pan and let bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick poke comes back clean!

Moving on…take all of the sauce ingredients and place them into a medium-sized pot. Give the mixture a few good stirs until the sugar dissolves. Turn to medium-high heat until the pot starts to bubble then reduce to low heat and let simmer for 25 minutes, or until the sauce reduces by 2/3s. Remember to stir occasionally.

Once the cake is out of the oven and the sauce is ready and warm dish it out to your girlfriend/boyfriend/friends/cat/family/whomever you are eating with…Remember to be nice and generous with the sauce. It’s the best part.

** Note: I did let the cake cool, then sliced in half so I could put the berry mixture in the middle and on top. Double down.

Serves 5-6

Total cook time…40 min


Balsamic Blueberry Risotto

What you’ll need…

1 cup fresh blueberries

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

4 1/2 cups chicken stock (or veggie to keep things vegan)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

3 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups brown mushrooms

2 shallots

1 TSP dried oregano

1 TBSP dried thyme

3 TBSP fresh thyme

salt & pepper

Don’t fear the reaper…whoops, I mean risotto! If you’ve decided to take the time and make risotto, might as well do it with a twist right? This balsamic blueberry reduction gives this risotto a beautiful colour and a one-of-a-kind taste! Just remember to stir, stir, stir!

Start by getting 1 cup of (washed) blueberries, balsamic vinegar, garlic cloves, and 1/2 cup of broth into a small pot and to a boil. Then, let simmer on medium heat until the mixture has reduced by two thirds. That’s going to be approximately 20-25 minutes. Since you have some time on your hands, quarter the mushrooms, mince the shallots, chop your fresh thyme and set aside.

Once the mixture has reduced by two thirds, fish out the garlic cloves (they’ve done their job!) and remove from heat. This should yield about 1 1/4 cups of the blueberry balsamic reduction.

Place the risotto and 2 1/4 cups of broth into  a large pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Now, this is when you should become stir crazy…in a good way. Stir the rice faithfully until the broth is absorbed. Now, start adding more liquid by alternating 1/2 cups of the reduction and the remaining broth. Constantly stirring.

After about 10 minutes of stirring mix in the mushrooms, shallots, and dried spices. Over the next 10-15 minutes continue to slowly add more liquid (and stir, stir, stir!) until it’s been fully absorbed. Right at the very end fold in the fresh thyme, saving a bit to top your risotto. Finally, salt & pepper to taste (depending on the type of broth used, you should need very little salt).

If you don’t want to stir something again for awhile, I don’t blame you, but, for now, savour the rewards of a risotto stirred well!

Serves 4-5

Total cook time…50 minutes


Raspberry Rooibos Meringue Tarts

What you’ll need…

2 pints fresh raspberries

12 egg whites

2 cups brewed rooibos tea

2 TBSP honey

18 TBSP sugar (extra-fine)

20 tart shells (pre-baked)

Egg whites + sugar = neato! My favorite part is making sure the meringue is whipped enough by holding the bowl upside-down, if it falls onto my head then I did not whip it enough. I do not like meringue on my head, so…I whip it enough!

Wash the pints of raspberries and set 20 aside (for topping the tarts). Place the remainder of the raspberries in a small bowl, add the honey, and mash them up with a fork. Place the mixture along with the brewed rooibos tea into a large skillet on medium-high heat. Let it simmer away for about 15-20 minutes, until the tea has evaporated and your left with a thicker raspberry ‘jam.’ Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Now you can whip up your meringue.

Separate your egg whites by using an egg separator, or the old fashion way (over-top a bowl, crack the egg in half and pour the yolk back and forth into each side until the white has fallen away from the yolk into your bowl). Now whip away! Feel free to hand-whip if you want a good work out for your arms, but an electric mixer is much easier.

First off, whip the egg whites on medium until they get nice and foamy, then you can start adding in your sugar. With the mixer on high, slowly add in the 18 TBSP of sugar, over a period of about 6-8 minutes. The mixture will get white & shiny. Like I mentioned above, if you are confident in how well the meringue has been mixed, feel free to hold the bowl upside-down, and if it stays put then you’re good!

Fold in the (now cool) raspberry mixture until it is a nice, light pink colour. spoon some into each of your (pre-baked) tart shells, top with a fresh berry, and cook in a pre-heated oven of 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the meringue starts to brown.

Serves 20 tarts

Total cook time…45 min

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