One afternoon back in March, I received a nice little package by mail from a fellow food blogger. It was a pretty little box labelled BerryFect Bilberry Powder and had 20 individually wrapped sachets.
I read through the box and leaflet and was intrigued that this berry powder was made from wild, organic blueberries, known as Bilberries. These super-foods Arctic berries are grown in the forests of Finland, under the beautiful northern light skies and midnight sun. They’re also highly rich in vitamins and antioxidants, omega-3’s and 6’s, and have no additives, preservatives or sugar.
I figured the easiest way to sample it was in a breakfast smoothie or parfait of some sort. So, I blended a frozen ripe banana with almond milk, added some chia seeds, and the bilberry powder. It created this nice thick smoothie that I topped with some toasted oats and a dollop of strawberry preserves. It was deliciously creamy, sweet and tangy and I could see so many ways that it could be used.
The following month, Bilberry and FoodeMag launched a recipe competition for the creative use of bilberry powder and/or blueberries. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with this superfood beyond simply adding it to my morning smoothies! Plus, with an amazing prize up for grabs, I knew I wanted to create something special 🙂
The taste of bilberry powder is on the sour and tart side. It reminded me of sumac, a tangy lemony spice that also comes from a berry. It’s used quite often in Persian and Arabic cuisine as it compliments kebab and meat dishes really well, and also brings a lovely tangy flavour to salads and dressings.
My mind wandered off to thoughts on a recipe that could really make use of both the bilberry powder and blueberries… something that was both on the sweet and savoury side, like a fusion of Middle-Eastern and European flavours and ingredients. A couple of trials and tastings later, I submitted my recipe:
The dish consisted of French-trimmed lamb chops marinated in a mix of Bilberry powder and Arabic 7-spice blend; grilled and encrusted with toasted pistachios and set on top of a velvety butternut squash purée. Blueberries were cooked down with caramelised shallots, balsamic vinegar, red wine, and sprigs of thyme to create a thick sweet sauce to glaze and pour over the succulent lamb.
With so many creative submissions popping on bilberry’s Instagram that month (from colourful and delicious looking smoothie bowls and cupcakes) I wasn’t sure if a meat-based dish was going to make the cut! A few curious weeks later, I woke up to a lovely message on Instagram from both Foodemag and Bilberry saying that my dish was the winning entry. They also wanted to feature the recipe on their blogs and do an interview. That really made my morning :).
The best part of all this for me was then being able to share the prize with some of my closest family and friends, as we enjoyed a wonderfully catered Scandinavian dinner prepared right at my home! Check out my interview on Bilberries website showcasing the Scandinavian dinner prize, and the feature on FoodeMag website.
Be sure to try the recipe out, as I would love to hear from you about it 🙂 x