England. June. What sums up Summer more than a fresh bowl of strawberries or a refreshing glass of Pimms?
I love both so I was delighted to find some new ideas for these seasonal treats.
Strawberries boast an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants; they are undeniably delicious, yet equally nutritious. The red fruit is a proven key ingredient in several traditional British recipes, yet few of us are aware of the humble strawberry’s versatility in the kitchen. If you want to expand your strawberry repertoire this summer, Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486 (the restaurant at London’s The Arch Hotel), has lent his top tips on how to make the most of the season and create unique strawberry-centric dishes at home.
Hot & Cold
Roasting strawberries can create tremendously tasty results, particularly when paired with a generous scoop of Cornish vanilla ice-cream. To make the most of the oven-baked fruit, ensure the stem is sliced off, cut into quarters and then whisk together with a dash of maple syrup. Presentation is important with this pretty summer dessert, so let the strawberry slices cool down slightly before scattering them neatly on top of the ice cream.
For a decadent breakfast treat, combine sliced strawberries with rhubarb pieces and spread over two thick slices of toast. To ensure a thorough fusion of flavours, press the fruit gently into the bread then chill in the fridge overnight. Fry your bread slices the following morning in a frying pan with plenty of butter. Feel free to add dashes of cinnamon and brown sugar too. Serve with a generous helping of Greek yogurt. Preparation is key with this dish but it’s worth the fuss!
As the weather warms up, homemade strawberry ice-lollies are a refreshing sunbathing snack. Simply combine crushed strawberries with a spoonful of sugar before mixing into a cold jug of lemonade. Pour the liquid into ice-lolly moulds and place a wooden stick in the centre. Alternatively, simply add strawberry slices to your ice cube tray and freeze overnight, a trick that will transform your summer beverage from simple to spectacular in a split second.
I would be swapping sugar for an alternative and using dairy free ice cream (highly recommend the Swedish Glace Vanilla soft scoop – the lovely boyfriend likes it as much as ‘proper’ ice cream!) but don’t the strawberry ice cubes sound perfect for popping into your Pimms?
Speaking of which…Steve Smith, head chef at Jersey’s Bohemia restaurant, has some tips for the lovely Summer beverage.
Don’t overload your Pimms with fruit. Instead, pick a few strong flavours that complement each other. An unusual flavour combination that works well is Pomegranate and Basil. Alternatively, take your Pimms to super food heights with the quirky addition of trendy Acai berries.
If you’re using herbs such as basil and mint, crush the leaves before adding them to your drink. This will maximise the aroma and leave your Pimms perfectly seasoned.
Cue the Cranberry
Those with a sweet tooth might like to add a splash of cranberry juice, or opt for flavoured lemonade for an extra boost.
Sprinkle a little lemon juice and sugar over the fruit before you add them to your drink. Let the fruit pieces stand for ten minutes so they macerate and then add them to the liquid at the last minute, to save them from going soggy.
That sugar-coating tip sounds so delicious but so very naughty!
Anyone else fancying a glass right now?