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Celebrate National Cherry Day with a summer fruit crumble

Article original posted July 16th, but those nasty little gremlins pinched it.

While it’s still summer, and we’ve had a few cherries on top of the icing on the cake at the Olympics – six golds in one day, yesterday; stunning or what? – why not celebrate with this stunning recipe for fruit crumble, starring my favourite fruit of them all, the humble British cherry.

Today is National Cherry Day, did you know? No, I didn’t know we had one, either, but hey-ho, there you go. In order that no one’s opportunity passes by to pop their cherry dish into either a crumble, clafoutis or bun in the oven, we’re going to bring you the second in our series of recipes here on cookerycourses.co.uk.

There is the opportunity to make a clafoutis on the Great British Chefs blog, but as this website is aimed at those wanting to learn to cook, I’ve got a good idea that the majority of people picking up on this post, if they’re ought like me, couldn’t find their way to making a stimulating clafoutis even if they had a map. There is, however, another decent little recipe for a summer fruit crumble, the star ingredient of which is indeed the Great British cherry. Hurrah!

The good thing about this recipe is that for sweetness, it draws mainly on the natural sugars found within the fruits themselves, contains fibre in the oats and wholemeal flour, protein in the hazelnuts and Chia seeds contain even more omega-3 per gram than salmon.  What’s more, all of the fruits are blessed with their own antioxidant qualities, helping to rejuvenate your skin and lower your ldl cholesterol. Bonus! Combine all of that with the essential fatty acids (mono- and polyunsaturates) that feature more heavily than the saturates and you have to ask: who said desserts couldn’t be delicious yet also be healthy eating? What’s more, its sooo simple to make, it’s child’s play.

A dessert healthy, tasty and good for you? Get away!

So, herewith, the ingredients. For the fruits, we have 400gm of cherries, 125gm each of blueberries and raspberries and 200gm of strawberries. Remember to wash them all well. The cherries need to be stoned and, quartered, the strawberries sliced similarly. The raspberries are to be halved and the blueberries left whole. This will make the base, along with one teaspoon of chia seeds and 100ml of water.

For the crumble, a 100gm of each of the following: porridge oats, wholemeal flour (sieved to retain the bran – we don’t need that), hazelnuts (coarsely chopped in a food processor) and melted butter. Also, 75gm of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of chia seeds.

In an 11″ flan dish (approx.), layer the fruit, squishing it down gently until something like level, but not entirely spirit-level flat. Add the water and then sprinkle the teaspoon of chia seeds across the top.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°c).

Everything else but the butter, tip into a mixing bowl. That’s the chopped hazelnuts, tsp of chia seeds, cinnamon, oats, sugar and flour. Mix together with hands, then pour over the melted butter. Grab yourself a wooden spoon and combine; you should have a mixture that looks like clusters, which you can then layer over the top of the fruit. Don’t worry if it doesn’t entirely cover the fruit – there should be chunks jutting through like a rocky desert landscape.

Place the flan dish on a baking tray in the middle of the preheated oven for about half an hour – the mixture should have begun to brown and the cherries and berries bubbling through the crumble by then – if not, leave a little while longer until they’ve done so.

The fruit will remain hot for some time, so be careful; custard is my fave with this dessert but you can temper the heat by serving it with ice-cream or – if you’re ultra-healthy – yoghurt will make a decent accompaniment, too.

So, now you can at least enjoy National Cherry Day, even if the summer has been a little bit of a let down, to date.

 

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Cookery Class News

Blue Elephant cookery course Far East or online

Wherever you are in the world, it seems that there’s a Blue Elephant Thai restaurant – well, in eleven cities in Bangkok or Phuket, London or Bahrain and seven other major cities in Europe and the Middle East, anyway. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling in either of the Thai cities, however, you can visit their esteemed cookery courses which invite you to either stand back and watch as the renowned chefs work their magic with local hebs and spices or dive in and give them a hand.

Chef Nooror, based in the Phuket eatery, has been recognised as one of Thailand’s most 65 influential people, thanks to her culinary expertise promoting Thai cooking to the world and infusing lessons she’s learnt from her globetrotting days into her own home-grown platters she learnt as a child growing up in Thailand.

It matters not at what level your cookery skills currently reside. Whether you are a fully-fledged cook or absolute beginner, you’ll be welcomed with open arms to learn the many aspects (and many courses) that make up a typical Thai menu. If you are in Asia ‘on business’ with the express intent of picking up Thai cooking tips to enhance your career and skill-level for use back at home in the UK you can arrange a private cookery course under the direct supervision of the top chefs from that branch of the chain.

Whether you are going for the 5-day professional induction or just walking in through the doors as a tourist looking to get to know the basics of Thai cooking you will not only leave with endearing memories but an ancient knowledge in food preparation that is passed down through these excellent cookery courses. Oh, and you mustn’t overlook the cooking set, commemorative apron and Blue Elephant Thai cookery course certificate that you get once you complete the class, of course.

The cookery classes, like many in the Far East, run either as a morning or afternoon/tea-time affair, giving you time to learn, prepare and cook your meals and then eat them for your lunch or tea. The Blue Elephant cookery course in Bangkok runs its classes similarly, but there are advantages for making the 8.45am morning class over the afternoon cooking lesson, which kicks off at 1.30pm.

The added extra for making the morning cooking class here is that you actually go along to the markets to choose the herbs, spices and vegetables that you and the afternoon session will use for your tutelage, travelling to and fro on the skytrain.

The cookery classes for the tourist run every day for the morning session and Monday to Saturday for the evening sessions. The menu for each is so varied, you could go every day and learn to cook something new, with each tourist session covering four courses in its own rite.

The professional 5-day courses are subject to the availabilities of the professional chefs but, with the combinations of numbers of courses and discounts for multiple cooking classes that are on offer to the tourist, as a passing curious chef there is plenty you can bring back home to impress your family and friends.

If you cannot make it all the way out to Bangkok or Phuket to partake in the classes, there are simple recipes downloadable from the site and you can always nip into the London outlet to see if the chefs cooking there is as good as you can cook at home.