Friday, 6 July 2007
A Not So Merry Watery Berry
It has now rained non-stop for the whole of June and July. Yet despite this monsoon, this glut of strawberries that are adorning our supermarkets and greengrocers appears to be never ending. Trying my best to alleviate the strawberry invasion, I've made lots of pots of jam, strawberry and custard tarts, endless smoothies, strawberry pavlovas, strawberry and yoghurt ice lollies and trays of them marinaded in vanilla and balsamic vinegar. It is safe to say that the strawberry has been a daily ingredient in our house.
My daughter continues her obsession with our native berry and seems un-phased by the amount of strawberry based dishes I am serving to her. And she can still win the 'pop as many strawberries in your mouth at one time' competition, even with a 2 and a half year old mouth. Truly staggering stuff.
I on the other hand am beginning to tire of them. I have never seen so many 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free' offers in my life. Most of them seem to come from Scotland of all places, and last week at Alnwick Farmer's Market I participated in a little taste test. We tasted strawberries from Scotland bought in a supermarket, the ones I have just mentioned, against some locally grown strawberries. The monsters from my beloved Scotland were watery and bland, whilst the smaller berries from Morpeth were sweet, bright red and packed with a punch. No competition, and no wonder the supermarkets can happily give away such grand offers. I know which ones I will be going for from now on.
Returning home with a couple of punnets of superior strawberries, I was disappointed to see that my wife had brought some of the Scottish giants home. Only one thing for them. No, not the bin. Just a few very quick miniature summer puddings, sweetened with a little honey and sharpened with some Balsamic vinegar. One of my favourite puddings and one that never fails to please my friends and family. It even restored my love of the strawberry, Scottish watery giants or not.
Quick Mini Summer Puddings
Made 4 mini summer puddings in my moulds but will differ according to yours
500g strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
10 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1 - In a pan, add the strawberries and honey and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the fruit softens and releases its juices. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
2 - Pour some of the fruit juices through a sieve into a bowl.
3 - Cut rounds of bread to fit the bottom of your pudding moulds. Dip the rounds into the juice and press into the moulds. Cut the rest of the bread into small slices and continue to dip and press into your moulds, overlapping each slightly, until they are covered.
4 - Pour in fruit and juice ensuring that you reserve some, then top with another piece of bread soaked bread, ensuring that it is sealed with bread. Place in the fridge until chilled.
5 - Tap onto plates or bowls and top with some of the reserved fruit, juice and creme fraiche.