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Summer in a cake

It’s not all fruit eating here in Fruit Towers. On occasion, we like to mix fruit with cake. So when our friend, Donal Skehan, sent us his recipe for Strawberry and Elderflower Cake, we knew we had to share it. You can now find elderflower in our new juice. It’s delicious.

Over to Donal for the recipe:

Although elderflower has a short season, elderflower cordial is a perfect pantry ingredient that bottles summer and allows you to savour the flavour long after the last flower has fallen. Strawberries are a quintessential summer ingredient and this strawberry and elderflower cake is a wonderful dessert to savour the last of the summer.

Serves 8

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 3tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • About 3 tablespoons of milk to loosen batter
  • 6tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 1 jar of good quality strawberry jam
  • 250ml double cream

To Finish:

  • Dusting of icing sugar
  • A good handful of fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 180°c the grease and line 2 21cm spring form tins. In a standalone mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one by one before adding the vanilla extract. Using a spatula, fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture. Use a little bit of the milk if you need to loosen the mixture. You want the mixture to be a bit loose. Divide the mixture into the two spring form tins, flatten the top with a spatula if needed. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until it's nice and golden. When the bases are cooked, take them out and let cool for a few minutes before you take it out of the tin to cool completely. Pierce the top of each sponge with a stick and pour over half the elderflower cordial on each sponge and let it sit and soak. While the bases are cooling prepare the filling by whipping the double cream and elderflower cordial together. To assemble the cake, spread some strawberry jam on one of the bases before topping with cream, then add the second base and sprinkle with icing sugar and top with some strawberries.

Donal Skehan Cake

breaking news: fruit is good for you

Sugar is on everyone’s lips (not literally). There’s been a lot written in the press lately about how we can all be healthier, about things like the link between obesity and sugar consumption. We’d like to reassure you that our drinks never, ever contain any more sugar than the fruit that goes into them. And fruit is – exactly as it always has been – natural, delicious and healthy. 

innocent was started with the aim of making it easier for people to do themselves some good. Our purpose as a company is to make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people live well and die old. Health is a priority for everyone, and it’s extremely important to us. So, we welcome the debate. The more conversations about how we can look after our bodies and get a healthy, balanced diet, the better.

Getting more fruit and veg into people of all ages is a key public health priority, and we’re proud that our products are a handy and tasty way to help people towards their 5-a-day.

And to reiterate, all of our pure fruit juices and pure fruit smoothies are made from fruit. Just fruit. innocent smoothies and juices naturally contain the same amount of sugar that fruit does; no more, no less. What’s more, our juices and smoothies have a low GI level, meaning that the sugar from the fruit is absorbed slowly.

Our smoothies also contain fibre and vitamins just like whole fruit does. When you eat whole fruit, it gets chewed up before it reaches your gut. We’re just doing that squashing for you. (Not chewing. That would be weird.) Test results prove that the fibre in the fruit remains intact after it’s been crushed and blended into a smoothie, so it does the same job as it would in the whole fruit. A 250ml innocent smoothie gives you 13% of your daily requirement of fibre, and 28% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, and just one 150ml glass of an innocent juice gives you 36% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

We are exceptionally proud of the positive contribution that our products make to a healthy, balanced diet.  

We agree that lots of people (including some of us here in Fruit Towers) would benefit from consuming less sugar. We believe it makes sense that you would cut down your biscuit, cake and pastry intake, start reading ingredients labels more carefully, and keep trying to get your 5 portions of fruit and veg each day. Government guidelines confirm that a glass of juice or one of our smoothies each day can count towards your 5-a-day. That all sounds sensible to us, both professionally and also personally.

Smoothies and juices are good for us. Water’s very important too, and so is whole fruit. We’re big fans of all of these things. Our drinks are made from good, healthy stuff, and we promise they always will be.

smoothies and juices and other lovely tasty things

The innocent and GIY Sow & Grow

This year for the third year we teamed up with GIY Ireland to get children all over Ireland sowing and growing their own seeds in the classroom, to show just how easy it is to grow your own plants and vegetables. Teachers and school children from all over the country got involved and got their hands dirty with a bit of gardening fun. This year over 20,000 kids around Ireland were growing their own in their classrooms.

Hundreds of schools signed up for a free growing pack which included all they needed to grow in their classrooms (cups, seeds, soil and growing guides). We had three top prizes up for grabs:

1st prize: The winning school will win a trip the Bloom gardening festival in May, along with €500 worth of gardening equipment and one year’s mentorship from a GIY gardener in their area. The winning class will have their grand prize presented by the home cook and food writer Donal Skehan. To top it all off, we’ll take your class to Dublin Zoo for a tour and some tasty lunch.

2nd prize: €400 of gardening equipment/plants and a visit from one of the GIY team to give advice on spending the money wisely and make your school even greener.

3rd prize: €300 of gardening equipment/plants and a visit from one of the GIY team to advise on spending the money wisely to help your school on its way to becoming even greener.

To be in with a chance of winning, schools needed to upload a growing diary to show their fantastic growing progress. We were overwhelmed with the creative blogs from all schools, showing amazing growing, video news reports, fantastic artwork and lots of really hard work. After reading through hundreds of diaries, we picked our winners:

1st prize: Cloghans Hill NS, Tuam, Co Galway.

Cloghans Hill

2nd prize: 2nd Class, St Joseph’s Boys’ Primary School, Gorey, Co Wexford.

St Josephs

3rd prize: 5th Class, Athenry Boys’ School, Galway.

Cloghans Hill were deserving winners. The class grew cress, peas and beetroot, which were all part of the Sow & Grow pack, but also took to growing an array of other vegetables and growing diaries to track their fantastic progress.

Teacher Iseult Mangan says, The children involved loved sow and grow from day one, from taking ownership and responsibility of their little tiny seeds to caring for and protecting their growing seedlings. They get to see where the fruit and veg that they eat comes from and how easy it is to grow your own food. I would recommend each and every school get involved in sowing and growing their own school garden.” 

Cloghans Hill NS travelled up from Tuam to Bloom in the Pheonix Park to accept their prize. Food Blogger & TV Presenter, Donal Skehan, presented the Sow & Grow trophy.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow winners

Donal Skehan says, “This project has enabled kids all over the country to get growing and learn where their food comes from, it has been a delicious and fulfilling journey for all involved!”

We want to thank all the schools and groups who got involved in this year’s Sow & Grow. Have a fantastic summer and happy growing.

Grow your own

We’ve just finished another year of our fantastic innocent and GIY Sow & Grow. It was another great year with over 20,000 kids around Ireland growing their own in their classrooms. You can find out more about the winners here.

Michael Kelly of GIY wants to get the nation growing their own. It’s good for you and good for the planet so give it a go. Here are Michael’s top tips for getting started:

  1. Start Small.  If you’re anything like us, when you make a decision to grow your own food you will probably want to grow ALL your own food.  Fight that temptation.   No matter how fired up you are, it’s never a good idea to dig up your entire garden. Our advice to people starting off on their growing journey can be summed up in these two words: start small!  
  2. Start Easy.  Think carefully about WHAT you're going to grow.  Some vegetables are very easy to grow (like onions for example) while others require regular attention (take a bow, tomatoes).  Some veg take a long time to grow (e.g. peppers), while others are very quick growing (e.g. salad leaves, rocket, radish etc).  Think about how much space and time you have.  In a space-constrained garden or apartment balcony you probably won’t want to be growing globe artichokes (big plant, little food).  Focus instead on things that give a high return for a small amount of space, like salad leaves or herbs. What do you like to eat?  It sounds obvious but seriously, if you hate celery, you probably won't love it any more when it's home-grown.
  3. Start Growing.  The most important thing is to just get started.  Do it this weekend.  Don't worry if you make mistakes.  Food growing is a journey, as well as a destination.  Share the journey with other GIYers, and have fun.  Stick your hands in the soil.  Smile.

Get more GIY joy at www.giyinternational.org.

Sow & Grow

 

Sow & Grow winners

This year the innocent and GIY Sow & Grow got 20,000 kids around Ireland growing their own in their classrooms. We sent out free growing packs with seeds, cups, soil and growing tips and the kids got to work. With some great prizes, the little growers had to upload growing diaries for a chance to win.

We were overwhelmed with the brilliant growing from all the schools but after reading through hundreds of fantastic growing diaries, we picked our winners:

1st prize: Cloghans Hill NS, Tuam, Co Galway. Read their diary here.

2nd prize: 2nd Class, St Joseph’s Boys’ Primary School, Gorey, Co Wexford. Read their diary here.

3rd prize: 5th Class, Athenry Boys’ School, Galway. Read their diary here.

Last week Cloghans Hill NS travelled up from Tuam to Bloom in the Pheonix Park to accept their prize. Food Blogger & TV Presenter, Donal Skehan, presented the Sow & Grow trophy.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow winners

Even The President popped over to say hello.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow

After the excitement of Bloom, the school headed off to the Zoo for lunch and some animal spotting. Cloghans Hill also receive €500 worth of gardening equipment and one year’s mentorship from a GIY gardener in their area.

A huge thank you to all who took part in this year’s innocent and GIY Sow & Grow. Happy growing.