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Michael Weldon’s tips on berries

Coles ambassador Michael Weldon shares his unexpected flavour matches and top cooking tips with in-season berries.

Michael Weldon in the ktichen

Michael Weldon loves to incorporate berries into his sweet and savoury dishes.

My favourite ways to cook with berries...

  • Fresh, straight out of the punnet, is best.
  • Jams and preserves. My tip is to add extra flavour to your favourite jam or preserve recipe: Try vanilla, lemon zest or orange for a little extra flavour. You can get even more creative by adding black pepper, balsamic vinegar and even chillies.
  • Sprinkle with sugar and macerate to make berries extra sweet and juicy.

My easiest recipe with berries…

Blueberry and custard crumble: Take a packet of vanilla custard and mix with a punnet or two of blueberries, top with crumble and bake until golden. It doesn’t get much easier or more delicious.

Ice creams and sorbets are perfect with berries. For raspberry sorbet, blend raspberries into a juice then combine with a little vanilla, lemon zest, glucose and sugar. Chill and churn for a tart, sweet and juicy frozen treat that is perfect on its own or as part of a dessert.

Strawberry salad with feta: I love strawberries paired with savoury flavours. For me strawberry and feta salad is a summer favourite. Slice strawberries into rounds and mix with crumbled feta, thinly sliced shallots, baby spinach and a mustard vinaigrette with loads of cracked black pepper.

My perfect flavour matches…

Berries have classic flavour matches: Strawberries and cream, raspberry and white chocolate, blackberry with apple. Here are some less common flavour matches, just as good as the classics but even more exciting:

Strawberry and black pepper. Sounds weird but tastes so good. The bright sweet berries are elevated to another level when served with black pepper, with the warmth and slight heat making the berries even more exciting.

Blueberries and bacon. The first time I tried this was adding bacon to blueberry pancakes and, wow, did it work! The bright sweet berry flavour works with the salty, fatty bacon to produce a perfect partnership.

Raspberry and lime. Although both are very bright and acidic I love the pairing. Limes accentuate the flavour of raspberries, the juice and zest making the raspberries taste even better. This pairing goes well in baking with white chocolate or is perfect turned to a summery granita.