Berries from heaven!

I think raspberries are at least the strawberry's equal and, in most cases, a superior summer fruit. In fact, they are probably one of my all-time favourite, top-five, couldn't-give-them-up ingredients, so it's time to give them their due as for some strange reason, i’ve never written about raspberries before. With an exquisite blend of acidity and sweetness, underpinned by that floral, rose-like aroma…let’s be honest, whats not to like?

They also combine really well with so many other wonderful ingredients and some of my favourite flavour profiles for fresh raspberries include beetroot, hibiscus, orange blossom, chocolate, coconut, tomatoes and fresh figs, although they also work really well with pistachios, lemon, mangoes, yoghurt, soft cheese and watermelon.

Raspberries should be handled very gently and eaten as soon as possible. They should be plump, dry, firm, well shaped and uniformly coloured. Avoid buying berries that are withered or crushed. Rich in vitamin C and high in anti-oxidants, fresh raspberries are not only a tasty way to start the day, but a healthy one too. Sprinkle over cereals, add sweetness to granola or treat yourself to a delicious breakfast smoothie. Why not transform homemade lemonade into a resfreshingly, thirst-quenching vivid pink vision with hibiscus and redcurrants?

I must admit that I also love to throw a few raspberries into my decadent, chocolate brownie mix, coupled with a few lightly crushed amaretti biscuits to create a little texture and rich, indulgent flavour sensation. For a slightly heathier option, try this gorgeous, light and pretty raspberry and yoghurt teacake.

Raspberry and yoghurt teacake

You can make small individual versions of this cake, but i’m using a simple loaf tin that can be sliced later.

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 65 mins

Ingredients serves 6

200g fresh raspberries

250g plain flour

25g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

120g soft butter

250g sugar

zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated

2 large eggs

100g full-fat plain yoghurt

1 tbsp white sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C./350ºF Grease a 23-centimetre loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor for five minutes until pale and fluffy, then beat in the lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the sifted flour with the second egg. Gently fold in the remaining flour and the yoghurt until the mixture is smooth, then fold in the ground almonds.

Spoon one-third of the cake mixture into a loaf tin and scatter with one-third of the raspberries. Repeat twice, finishing with a layer of raspberries.

Bake for 25 minutes until the cake is nicely browned, then cover loosely with foil and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven. Cool for five minutes and carefully remove the cake from the tin and put it on a wire rack to cool. Serve in thick slices.

Raspberry, redcurrant & hibiscus lemonade

Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins

Ingredients serves 4

180g fresh raspberries

Juice of 2 lemons

80g redcurrants

1tbsp hibiscus tea

2tbsp sugar

500ml sparkling water

A few raspberries & redcurrants to garnish

Bring to the boil 300ml water, remove from the heat and add the hibiscus tea.

Leave to infuse for 5 minutes and then strain the tea through a fine sieve.

Puree the raspberries with the tea and 2 teaspoons sugar in a liquidiser.

Divide the puree between 4 tall glasses and add ice. Pour over the sparkling water to top up the glasses and garnish with fresh raspberries & redcurrants. Serve immediately.


For the parfait

30ml water

100g caster sugar

6 egg yolks

300ml raspberries

25ml raspberry creme liqueur

250g double cream, whipped to soft peaks

1/2 lemon, juice only

For the chantilly cream

25g icing sugar

300g whipping cream

1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped out with a sharp knife

For the raspberry sauce

500g raspberries

icing sugar, to taste

To serve 12- 8 fresh raspberries

For the parfait: put the water and sugar in a pan and heat to 120C, using a thermometer to check the temperature.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl and pour the sugar and water mixture over the eggs. Whisk until the mixture cools.

Mix together the raspberry purée, liqueur and cream in a bowl. Fold the cream into the egg mixture. Fold in the lemon juice. Pour into deep flat tray, cover with cling film and freeze until set (ideally overnight).

For the chantilly cream: sift the icing sugar into the cream in a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla seeds. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl