Berrily Cherrily I say to you

Summer time is often characterized by the abundance of bright sweet fruits like cherries and berries. When you think of strawberries and cream, you think of sun and Wimbledon. Cherries evoke thoughts of ooey gooey cherry pies….the truth is, I live in country where it is pretty much “summer” for at least 2/3 of the year so there is generally a glut of tropical fruits which I take great advantage of in my food lab. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries etc are usually imported and wield a hefty price tag.

This did not deter me one weekend when I went grocery shopping; I just craved something different and decided to splurge on some cherries. When I got home I stared at them and was loathe to eat them…..the portion was disproportionate to the price and I was beginning to query my decision to purchase them. I scoured all my resources for a recipe that would stretch these overpriced fruits and found something quite interesting! A healthy cherry pie muffin! And there was no fancy shmancy prep work involved! Now THAT really got my attention! I adapted my recipe from The Cheeky Kitchen

Ingredients for the Muffins
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 fresh cherries, pitted & halved

For the topping
1/4 cup almond flour. Read this post for an easy way to make your own almond flour.
2 Tbs rolled Oats
2 Tbs caster or icing sugar
1/2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs coconut oil

The “How To”
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

In a large bowl. beat together all muffin ingredients until well mixed. Spoon mixed batter into a muffin tin prepared with cupcake wrappers. If you don’t have cupcake wrappers you could use squares of parchment paper, pushed in gently into the muffin pan to form a “cup” for your batter. (Pitting the cherries with a knife was a little fiddley but doable).

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In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine all topping ingredients until you get a coarse crumb. Sprinkle it over the batter in each muffin tin (about 1 1/2 tsp for each), then bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes, or until the center of the muffins bounce back to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Top with fresh cherries…..if you have any left to spare 🙂

My family made quick work of this weekend treat which I served with cherry yoghurt, a slice of coconut banana bread and a smidgen of raspberry coulis.

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The tomato is an interesting, and not mention, versatile fruit (we all know that it is a fruit right? Not a vegetable :-)…..good). It’s great to eat raw on it’s own or in sandwiches and salads. It works well when puréed and cooked or used in a gazpacho and it is an amazing garnish.

It’s baby cousin, the cherry tomato, is just a cuter sweeter version of the fruit and I find them impossible to resist.

Here are two cheery cherry tomato inspired meals that are super simple to put together. I’m fact, one of them is a left over make over.

The first is a simple, light, stir fried spaghetti dish with a side of fish.

Ingredients
100 grams spaghetti
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tbs vegetable oil
Salt to taste

The “How To”
Cook spaghetti in salted water following packet instructions. Drain and reserve hot spaghetti water.

In pan heat vegetable oil and when it is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic and sautée for a minute, then add pepper and tomatoes for another minute. Add drained spaghetti and back pepper. Mix to ensure that the spaghetti is evenly coated. Add about 1-2 tbs of spaghetti liquid (depending on how dry your pan is). Serve immediately and enjoy.

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For the fish recipe and another great recipe using two types of berries in a dessert, read Flavour Infusion; Taste Explosion

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The second cherry tomato meal is a simple sandwich using left overs from the pork chop meal in this post. I call it the “Caveman sandwich”….for no particular reason other than I thought it was cute name for the sandwich….go figure….:-)

Essentially layer slices of bread with sliced pork chops, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers topped with wasabi and mayo until you have a decent stack. Top with cherry tomatoes for a fun garnish and voilà!

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All meals in this post were met with great enthusiasm and devoured with equal gusto. Throw some cherries and berries into your meals for a pretty delicious eating experience.

FFF Tip of the Day: Berries and tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin c and deliver a good dose of antioxidants to the body. Whenever possible eat them fresh to maximize their full benefits.

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