Viva strawberries were bred in the UK and are grown in the Huelva region of southern Spain and northern Morocco. They have an exceptionally sweet flavour and a juicy texture unlike many imported varieties. In season now, Viva are more akin to UK varieties than the traditional imported kind, which means you can enjoy delicious strawberries and their health benefits earlier than ever.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES
Viva strawberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven and are a healthier alternative to a bar of chocolate. They are the perfect treat for a special occasion, and even help you get your 5-a-day around Easter.
- Makes: 20 Viva strawberries
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 200g dark chocolate
- 20 Viva strawberries (approx.)
- 100g white chocolate buttons
- range of food colouring (optional)
- small cake decorations such as silver balls or hundreds and thousands (optional)
Start by melting the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Break the chocolate into small pieces and allow to melt slowly without stirring. While this is happening, lay a piece of parchment paper down.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Holding the Viva strawberry by the leaves dip the Viva strawberry completely into the chocolate, right up to top, so just the green is left. Hold the Viva strawberry up and allow the excess to drip off.
Carefully lay the Viva strawberry down onto the parchment paper and allow to cool completely. Continue with all the Viva strawberries.
Melt the white chocolate in the same way. Once melted, divide the chocolate into bowls and if using food colouring, colour the white chocolate with the different food colouring at this stage.
Pour the melted white chocolate into disposable piping bags. Snip a tiny hole in the end of the piping bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the Viva strawberries. You could do lines, dots or zigzags and alternate colours and designs. If you don’t have a piping bag, use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the Viva strawberries.
Attach decorations (if using) while the white chocolate is still melted and tacky. Use any remaining white chocolate to coat some extra Viva strawberries. Allow to set completely, and enjoy the same day.
Recipe video –
STRAWBERRY AND ALMOND MACAROONS
Macaroons are the perfect dessert to follow a romantic dinner and these Viva strawberry and almond macaroons are particularly light and fluffy, the perfect sweet treat for your loved one.
- Serves: 6 – 8
- Preparation time: 1 hour
- Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
- FOR THE MACAROONS
- 4 large egg whites
- 175g icing sugar
- 170g ground almonds
- 30ml water
- 170g caster sugar
- FOR THE FILLING
- 200g butter (at room temperature)
- 100g icing sugar
- 10 Viva strawberries hulled and sliced
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan/ 150°C. Place 2 of the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar and ground almonds and mix into a paste.
Place the water and caster sugar in a small pan, and bring to the boil. The syrup needs to reach 118°C. While the syrup is boiling, whisk the 2 remaining egg whites until stiff, ideally using an electric whisk. Pour the hot syrup slowly into the egg whites, whisking all the time. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick glossy and cool – the syrup will cook the eggs.
With a spatula, gently stir the syrup and egg whites mixture with the sugar, and almond paste until the two mixtures are combined.
Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe out equal rounds onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Don’t worry if all the mix doesn’t fit on the tray, you can cook it in batches.
Allow the macaroons to sit for 20-30 minutes so they can form a skin. Cook the macaroons for 15-20 minutes and then allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
For the filling, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Sandwich the macaroons together with two slices of Viva strawberries and a little buttercream.
VIVA STRAWBERRY AND SPINACH SALAD WITH HAM
Quickly sautéed spinach with meltingly soft Bayonne ham is topped with a black pepper dressing and juicy fresh Viva strawberries as well as some fresh baby spinach leaves for a bit of a crunch. This hot and cold salad is perfect as a starter for a romantic dinner or a weekend lunch for two.
- Serves: 2
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Cooking time: 5 minutes
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
- 1 tsp single cream
- 1 tsp runny honey
- ½ tsp freshly ground course black pepper
- FOR THE SALAD
- 1 x 225g bag of baby spinach leaves, washed
- 2 large slices of Bayonne ham, torn into small pieces
- 12 Viva strawberries, hulled and sliced
Make the dressing by putting all of the ingredients into a small bowl or jug, whisk them all together, adjust the seasoning if necessary and set aside.
In a large wok, place half of the spinach leaves into the pan and with a tablespoon of water, sauté over a high heat until just wilted.
Arrange the wilted spinach on a serving plate, or two individual plates and add the uncooked spinach leaves.
Place the pieces of Bayonne ham in and around the spinach leaves along with the sliced Viva strawberries and drizzle over the dressing just before serving.
STRAWBERRY KILNER JAR SALAD
The fresh black pepper and balsamic vinegar dressing complements the sweetness of the Viva strawberries in this salad designed to be assembled and enjoyed straight from the kilner jar.
- Serves: 1
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Cooking time: n/a
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100g chickpeas rinsed and drained
- handful of rocket
- 250g Viva Strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 100g feta cubed
- 1 tbsp shredded mint
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- You’ll need a 500g kilner jar or similar.
First pour the balsamic vinegar and olive oil into the jar, and season with a pinch of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Shake the jar to mix ingredients.
Then, beginning with the chickpeas layer up the ingredients within the jar, finishing with the feta and mint. It is important not to have the salad leaves next to the dressing as the vinegar will cause the leaves to wilt. Squeeze the lemon over the top of the salad, and seal the jar.
When ready to eat, shake the jar to coat the salad in the dressing and then enjoy straight from the jar. Store upright.
Recipe video –
Courtesy of www.vivastrawberry.co.uk