Watermelon and strawberry drink

Cooling and refreshing drink made with watermelon and strawberries.

I was six years old when my father took me on vacation to the Philippines for the first time and I was in watermelon heaven. Watermelon was not a common fruit in Norway in the seventies, even in season they were not in abundance. I can remember enjoying red watermelons and yellow watermelons, sitting outside in the sun with half a watermelon and a spoon or with a big tall glass with a watermelon drink.

There is a technique to find a nice ripe watermelon, my dad knew how, but I miss most of the time. When I unfortunately get a pinkish and not so tasty watermelon I usually make it drinkable or use it in salads. The watermelon as a refreshment has been so sacred that it is mostly eaten or drunk pure. But this watermelon was so pink that I thought it would look a little bland, so I added a little strawberries to make it a little brighter. I was a little skeptical trying this because I have not been very fond of watermelon blended with anything else, the flavour of the watermelon tends to be overpowered. To my surprise this was really good.

I used:

3 parts watermelon
1 part strawberries
1 part water
Sugar or some other sweetener
Mint for garnish.

Whizz everything in a blender, sweeten to taste and cool it in the fridge or serve it right away with some ice cubes.

Strawberry and vanilla cream puffs

For the family’s fastelavn treat this year, I am making choux pastry filled with fresh strawberries jam and vanilla cream.
2 ½ dl water
125 g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
150 g plain flour
4  medium sized eggs
For best results first I combine the butter, water and salt in a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, then bring to the boil.
As soon as the water boils, remove the pan from the heat and quickly tip in the flour all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients bind together into a dough.
Return the pan to a low heat and continue to beat until the dough is a smooth, dry ball in the centre of the pan.
Allow to cool for 2–3 minutes, then  I put the dough in a mixer and eat in the eggs one at the time to make a smooth, shiny paste.
You do not need to use a mixer, but i find it easier this way, it is quite heavy to beat the eggs in the beginning.
Use a scoop or a couple of spoons to place the batter on to a baking paper lined baking tray.
Bake in the middle of a preheated oven on 200 C for about 25-30 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven and turn the oven off. Using a skewer or a small knife, pierce the base or side of each pastry to release the steam. Return them to the oven and leave them for 15 minutes to dry out, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
These puffed up nicely

As filling I mixed whipped cream and vanilla custard, use ready-made custard or make your own. If you want you can just  whip up the cream with a little powdered sugar and the seeds of one vanilla bean.
Vanilla Cream
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
3 dl milk
The seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons corn starch
4 dl whipping cream
Combine everything in a saucepan except the cornstarch and whipping cream, stir and heat this up on medium heat untill everything is mixed together. In a little cold milk or water dissolve the corn starch and add to the egg mixture.

Turn the heat up and keep stirring, and just before it starts to bubble, take it off the heat and let it cool.

When the custard is cool, whip the cream and combine them together and fill the choux pastries.

Serve with fresh crushed strawberry with a little sugar and sift some powdered sugar on top.