News November 2019

Blue Strawberry’s Perfect Party Food Workshops at Spirit of Christmas

We are thrilled to have been invited to present Perfect Party Food workshops at this year’s Spirit of Christmas Fair. Blue Strawberry’s accomplished chefs will be demonstrating the creation of three festive treats, with opportunities for attendees to sample each item for themselves.

Spirit of Christmas
The Spirit of Christmas Fair offers visitors an unparalleled festive experience with over 900 independent boutique retailers and designer-makers exhibiting at London’s Olympia. It is an ideal opportunity to find original gifts for friends and family. Artisans and retailers are hand-picked by an expert team and approved by House & Garden for their stylish designs.

Winter workshops
Alongside the chance to browse thousands of items including home décor, clothing, jewellery and gifts for all ages, visitors may opt to attend a number of interactive workshops. These expert-led sessions include festive floral creations, edible gift making and cocktail masterclasses in addition to festive party food ideas, such as our workshop.

Perfect party food
Our engaging workshops will take place on 7th/8th November and will include a playful party canapé which is a twist on a classic guilty pleasure – ‘Pineapple & Cheese’ – Salt baked pineapple, anise and whipped ricotta (pictured above) – accompanied by a chilled flute of fizz of course!

Workshop delegates will then learn how to supercharge their Christmas dinner leftovers with Boxing Day fritters served with Lincolnshire Poacher and Boxing Day mustard. Our talented chefs will then create a lesser-known Christmas classic with an interesting story – Historic Banbury Cake – served with Stilton.

The recipes
Get into the Spirit of Christmas at home by trying out our perfect party food recipes!

‘Pineapple & Cheese’ – Salt baked pineapple, anise and ricotta
Ingredients (for 15 bites)
1 x super sweet pineapple – leaves removed; 6 x star anise; bronze fennel or dill; 100g of caster sugar; 200g white wine vinegar; 100g ricotta; 2kg of table salt; 2 large egg whites.

Spoon the ricotta into a fine sieve, and place over a bowl and refrigerate overnight – allowing the whey to separate from the solids. In a bowl mix the vinegar, sugar and star anise until the sugar has dissolved, then place in the fridge.

For the crust, place the salt and egg whites into a mixing bowl and mix on high speed until the mixture becomes paste-like. Take care not to over-mix as the mixture needs to be solid enough to coat the pineapple (add more salt if necessary).

Coat the pineapple with the salt mixture, pressing firmly to ensure adhesion. Place the pineapple on a baking tray in the oven at 230˚c for 1.5 hours. Remove the pineapple from the oven and allow to cool. Carefully break the salt crust open (you will need to use a rolling pin or similar and break over a bin) and remove the pineapple, discarding the salt. Using a serrated knife, cut the skin off the pineapple then cut into 1 inch cubes. Once cut, place into a container with the vinegar and leave overnight or for at least 6 hours.

The next day, discard the whey that has separated from the ricotta. Season the ricotta with salt, mix thoroughly, and return to the fridge. When you are ready to serve, assemble the cubes of pineapple on a tray or a platter, top with a teaspoon of ricotta and garnish with a sprig of fennel or dill.

Boxing Day Fritters
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
250g of cooked and finely chopped leftover vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin etc. (optionally, you can include leftover cooked meat, but no more than 200g); 500g mashed potatoes or mashed roast potatoes; flour as needed; salt and black pepper; oil for frying; 2 duck eggs; a block of good salty hard cheese (such as Wensleydale, Parmesan or Lincolnshire Poacher).

Place the vegetables, potatoes and flour into a large mixing bowl, and mix well. If it is too dry, crack a normal egg into the mix – it should be of such a consistency that it doesn’t fall apart when squeezed in your hand. Season the mixture well with salt and plenty of black pepper, and taste it to check.

Mould the mixture into patties no more than 150g in weight and dust with a small amount of flour to avoid sticking in the pan when frying. Place the frying pan over a medium heat with a glug of oil and start frying the patties. Once the fritters are golden on both sides, place on a tray and pop into an oven for 10 minutes at 160°c to heat through.

Meanwhile fry the duck eggs on a low heat with a knob of butter – they should be ready by the time the patties have finished in the oven. Place the patties on a plate, slide the egg on top, then (using a peeler) shave lots of cheese over the top and serve with Boxing Day mustard.

Historic Banbury Cake 
320g ready to roll puff pastry; 1 egg yolk; dry mix: 200g hazelnuts, 200g almonds, 200g chopped dates, 200g dried cherries or cranberries, 200g chopped dried apricots, zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange; syrup: 100g Madeira, 100g medium sherry, 100g maple syrup, 100g sherry vinegar, 150g unsalted butter, a teaspoon of salt, 200g caster sugar, 30g mixed spice, juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange.

Place all the dry mix ingredients into a large bowl, stir and set aside. Place all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil until the butter has dissolved, then take the pan off the heat and pour over the dry mix. Keep stirring every so often until the mixture reaches room temperature. Cover the the bowl and leave to develop overnight.

The next day, unroll a sheet of puff pastry 0.5cm. Starting 5cm in, spoon the Banbury mix down one side (as if making a sausage roll). Brush the end of the pastry with egg yolk and roll over to stick. Place the roll onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and the top with a beaten egg yolk.

Taking a knife, score lines along the top through to the fruit and finally sprinkle with demerara sugar and a pinch of salt flakes. Bake in the oven at 180°c for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to rest for 30 minutes and then serve with your favourite Stilton and a glass of Port – or as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream.

More information
For further details on Spirit of Christmas, our perfect party food menus or our spectacular events, contact us on 020 7733 3151 or at