Blackberry Eton mess with honey and cardamom roasted oats

blackberry Eton mess 1

About a year ago I had just come home from my 3 weeks long trip to Cornwall, Devon and London, and I was completely absorbed with my new passion for British food, and for wanting to give it a better reputation. I started this blog in order to learn more about traditional English, Welsh, Scottish and northern Irish dishes, and to experiment with making them more healthy in some way. Maybe I got water over my head, for some reason or another I haven’t been as active with my posting as I wanted to. It doesn’t mean that I have stopped thinking about, or cooking British food. Some times to a higher degree, sometimes not as much. These couple of days I have been thinking a lot about my trip and how much I loved it. I have been longing for the dramatic Cornwall coastline, the green hills and just all that atmosphere that I love so much. And the blackberries. Walking in the UK countryside this time of the year basically means free access to as much blackberries you can eat. They are everywhere! In Malmö, south Sweden where I live you have to know the secret spots, get there before everyone else and be equipped with full coverage against the evil thorns. It is much more of a hustle to get your hands on blackberries here. Anyway. Since I started this blog with a recipe containing blackberries, I would like to add another now, one year later. And with that comes a hope (I wont promise) that this year there will be more activity here on the blog.

Eton mess is a typical summer desert, with meringues, cream and usually strawberries. It originates from Eton collage where it is served at the annual cricket game. In Sweden we have something similar called meringue swiss, but that has ice-cream, banana and chocolate sauce in it as well. Very scrumptious, but Eton mess feels like a lighter and less sinful version.

Blackberry Eton mess 2

This desert turned out to be one of the best I have ever eaten, if I may say so myself. It is like a mix between Eton mess and a trifle, which are booth very good things. It is not very much more healthy then the original thing, I just switched some of the cream for sour cream. It gives it a nice, slightly zingy touch that goes really well with the sweet meringue. The oats brings a bit of sweetness and some extra crunchiness, almost as if there where pieces of little, super quickly baked oat and cardamom biscuits in there. The cardamom goes really well with the juicy, somehow earthy blackberries. It is a super easy desert/pudding to make, with pre- picked or bought blackberries and already made meringues you put it together in 5 minutes while your friends digest their dinner. Just try it!

Blackberry Eton mess with honey and caramom roasted oats

Blackberries (as much as you like)

Meringue (as much as you like)

1, 5 decilitre whipped cream

0,5 decilitre sour cream

1 decilitre rolled oats

½ tsp grounded cardamom

1 tbsp honey

If the blackberries are frozen, take them out of the freezer to defrost a couple of hours before you are serving.

Roast the rolled oats lightly in a dry pan. Add the grounded cardamom. Take from heat and stir in the honey. Let cool.

Whip the cream and stir in the sour cream.

Crush the meringues and divide in 4 glasses or the bottom of a big bowl. Add the cream over the meringues. Add the blackberries and finish with the roasted oats. Serve.blackberry Eton mess 3


Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack 1

When I lived in London I used to buy a flapjack at Holland & Barret almost every day on my lunch break. They were only a pound or so, and there were so many different kinds to choose from that I never got tierd of it.  After moving back to Sweden I forgot about them for some years, but recently they have been on my mind again. A flapjack is such a great snack! Crunchy and still soft, with that great oat flavour and the additional spices, chocolate or dried fruit to give it a bit more excitement. They might not be so healthy as we want to think, but they can easily be made with less sugar or with more natural sweeteners if one prefer. And it is really easy to make it vegan or gluten free, just use vegan butter and oats that are free of gluten.

For this Christmas season I have been experimenting with some traditional Swedish christmas flavours in my flapjacks. I made one that taste of “glögg” (mulled wine) and are planning a saffron one. But I think the one I like best so far is the gingerbread version, with some added pumpkin. The pumpkin gives it some floral and fruity flavours, that mixes up nicely with the warmth of spices like ginger, cinnamon and clove.

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

(6 pieces)

50 grams butter

3 decilitre rolled oats

½ decilitre golden syrup

1 decilitre pumkin pure (the meat of about ¼ small pumpkin, boiled and mashed)

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

6-7 cloves

1 pinch of ground black pepper

(1 tsp black treacle or molasses)

Heat the oven to 200 C.

Melt the butter and let it brown a bit, until it smells slightly nutty. Let it cool for a moment.

Mix oats, syrup, pumpkin pure and spices. Add the butter and mix well until a sticky dough is formed.

Press the dough in to a tray in a 1 cm thick layer. Packing it tightly helps keeping the dough together during the baking.

Bake for 10- 15 minutes, until the surface feels crispy and has turned golden.

Let cool and cut into squares. Spread melted chocolate or any other preferred topping on the surface.

gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack 3

It feels as if flapjacks are the everyday snack for the brits. Not anything fancy, but still much loved. Not many contestants in the GBBO has been trying to impress Paul and Mary with flapjacks for example, although I was happy to see Howard have a go at it this season.

Trying to research the origin of the flapjack didn’t give me much, and no clues about where the name comes from. It seems to originate all the way back to the 17th century, but then it meant a flat tart or even pancake and is believed to come from the Middle East. Shakespeare speaks of flapjacks in his play Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

“Come, thou shant go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.”

I wonder if he preferred them with yoghurt or chocolate at the top?

1935 was the first time that the word flapjack meant a cake made out of oats (thank you Wikipedia).

If anyone has more information about the history of flapjacks please share it!

With this recipe I will for the first time take part of the Cooking with herbs blogchallenge at Lavender and Lovage, who this month has added christmas spices to the ingredient list.

Cooking with Herbs