Categorized | Wrinkles

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Strawberry Fools

The season for English strawberries is short and sweet. The jewel in the crown of summer fruits needs to be treated with respect and devotion.

Probably one of the earliest packaged foods, sold in the 16th century in cone-shaped baskets, regarded in medieval times as an aphrodisiac and by the Romans as a cure for melancholy and bad breath, this is a fruit to be treasured.

Eaten freshly picked from your garden with lashings of clotted cream or liberally doused with black pepper to draw out their flavour, strawberry recipes that can lengthen the intensity of that first taste of summer are a must for a discerning cook.

Some of my favourites are: Strawberry curd, an excellent change from the more traditional lemon curd, Dried strawberries, a delicious reminder of summer on your winter breakfast cereal,Strawberry ice-cream, naughty but nice at any time of the year, and Strawberry vodka, bliss served at Christmas.

  • Strawberry Curd: preparation time 15 minutes; cooking time 35mins

    Makes approx. 650g.

    200g strawberries

    Finely grated zest of 1 orange

    Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

    250g castor sugar

    120g unsalted butter

    4 good quality eggs

    Wash dry and hull strawberries, puree fruit (sieve out pips optional).
    Put puree in the top of a ban-marie or in a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water. Add butter, orange and lemon and the sugar. Beat the eggs and add together the ingredients.
    Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves; continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens.
    Pour curd into warm sterile jars, cover with a cloth and leave until cold before sealing with lids.
    Curd will keep for a couple of months if kept refrigerated.

  • Dried Strawberries

    Use ripe undamaged fruit and cut the berries into even thickness slices, approx. 50mm.

    Place slices in a single layer without touching each other on lined baking trays. Dry in oven at lowest setting , works very well in coolest oven of an Aga, takes about 12 hours.
    When completely cool store in airtight containers in cool dark place. Warning make sure fruit is completely dried before storing.

  • Strawberry ice-cream

    Serves 6

    Ripe fruit full of flavour is essential for this recipe

    340g ripe strawberries hulled

    Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon

    170g castor sugar

    420ml whipping cream

    Rub berries through a sieve or process briefly in a blender or food processor and strain the puree.
    Combine puree with orange and lemon juice and sugar.
    Set mixture aside for about 2 hours to intensify the flavour
    Whip cream until it holds in soft peaks combine with puree whisking lightly together.

    Freeze in an ice-cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Strawberry vodka

    Hull enough strawberries to fill a preserving jar or wide necked bottle of your choice
    Chop fruit or prick berries with a darning needle and put in jar or bottle.
    Add enough castor sugar to cover about a third of the berries and top up with vodka.
    The sweetness of this liqueur is a matter of personal choice so experiment with quantities of sugar to fruit – enjoy.
    Close bottle and keep in cool dark spot for at least a month shaking from time to time to dissolve the sugar.
    Strain and rebottle and if you are feeling generous give away as Christmas presents as long as you keep a couple for yourself.

Compiled by Jackie Miller – Colliers Hill

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