Daily Archives: 18 July 2011

British strawberries are the best

Strawberries have been great this year, haven’t they?

British strawberries are the bestThat wonderful aroma makes them irresistible – in fact, they often smell better than they taste, but this year they’re full of flavour.

Apparently, we have the lovely weather earlier in the year to thank for that, all that glorious sunshine bringing on the English fruit and so not so many imports. And strawberries are so versatile. I love them just as they are, or with cream or yoghurt (or in a Pimms!) but you can make smoothies, tarts, cakes – jam if you’re very dedicated and have a glut.

I’ve come across a great idea in the New Dairy Cookbook – free-form pie. The idea is that you don’t have to worry too much about quantities, or rolling out the pastry to a precise shape. Music to my ears! The recipe uses rhubarb, apple and strawberries, and includes semolina or polenta to soak up the juices a bit and stop the bottom of the pie getting soggy. Why didn’t I think of that before?! This one’s definitely on the to do list.

Summer Pudding
A very British recipe is the simply stunning Summer Pudding – taken from the 2012 edition of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, available in the autumn – easy to prepare and bursting with sunny goodness.

Apparently, centuries ago, an abbess decreed that strawberries were poisonous because they grow so close to the ground – how could they not be contaminated?

Actually, they’re really good for you – full of vitamin C and iodine and a natural remedy to help relieve inflammatory pain.

Thanks heavens we’ve seen the light!

Dairy Diary Team

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Summer Pudding

A simply stunning dessert packed with summer goodness

Summer PuddingServes 4–6
Preparation 25 min s plus chilling
Cooking 10 mins
Per portion 306 kcals,
1g fat (0.2g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

9 large slices of bread, crusts removed
110g (4oz) sugar
680g (1½lb) soft summer fruits (rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, stoned cherries, black or redcurrants, or a mixture of fruits)
Fruit and a sprig of mint to decorate

1 Cut bread into neat fingers.

2 Put sugar and 5 tbsp water into a saucepan and heat slowly until sugar melts, stirring. Add fruit and simmer gently for about 7–10 minutes (gooseberries and blackcurrants may take a few minutes longer).

3 Reserve a few spoonfuls of the juice.

4 Line base and sides of a 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basin with bread fingers. Add half the hot fruit mixture. Cover with more bread fingers. Pour in remaining fruit mixture and top with remaining bread fingers.

5 Trim any excess. Cover with a saucer or plate. Place a heavy weight on top. Chill overnight.

6 Turn out on to a plate. If there are any white patches, spoon reserved juice over them. Decorate with fruit and mint.

Variation: Autumn Pudding
Follow recipe and method for Summer Pudding. In place of soft summer fruits, use 680g (1½lb) prepared mixed autumn fruit such as blackberries, apples, pears and plums.

Recipe taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, 2012 edition.

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