Strawberries and cream

It's strawberry season at the allotment and for the last five days I've been picking a colander like this every day. This is when one is very pleased to see new recipes appearing in the newspaper and last week's
It’s strawberry season at the allotment and for the last five days I’ve been picking a colander like this every day. This is when I am very pleased to see new recipes appearing in the newspaper and last week’s “Cook” section with Saturday’s Guardian came up trumps with four ideas for a heap of strawberries. This is my riff on the strawberry and mascarpone ice cream.
First I macerated or marinated the strawberries in elderflower cordial and caster sugar. The recipe actually called for grappa but I'm avoiding supermarkets at the present (not as hard as it sounds when you have  an allotment and a nearby high street  still lined with useful and independent shops). For my kilo of strawberries I used 2 dessert spoons of caster sugar and 2 dessert spoons of elderflower cordial and this was quite sweet enough.  Thie bowl was then placed in the fridge for 30 mins.
First I macerated or marinated the strawberries in elderflower cordial and caster sugar. The recipe actually called for grappa but I’m avoiding supermarkets at the present (not as hard as it sounds when you have an allotment and a nearby high street still lined with useful and independent shops) so substituted what I had in the cupboard. For my kilo of strawberries I used 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar and 2 dessert spoons of elderflower cordial. The bowl was then placed in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Three of us ate a bowlful of macerated strawberries and double cream for pud and after dinner I read for a while.
Three of us ate a bowl of macerated strawberries and double cream for pudding and after dinner (asparagus, rocket and chive frittata with Cornish new potatoes and salad) I read for a while.
First thing in the morning I put the bowl of strawberries in the freezer for about an hour.,
First thing in the morning I put the bowl of strawberries in the freezer for about an hour and went into the garden to admire the first rose from Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’.
I whipped to sift peak stage about 250ml of double cream and then folded in a tub of mascarpone and the near friozen strawberries. I covered the bowl with cling film and placed in the freezer for one hour.
Back in the kitchen I whipped to soft peak stage 250ml of double cream and then folded in a tub of mascarpone and the near frozen strawberries. I covered the bowl and placed in the freezer for one hour.
Meanwhile I made bread for pizza tonight.
Meanwhile I made dough for pizza tonight.
Three times I took the bowl of near-frozen ice cream out of the freezer and churned it vigourously by hand for a couple of minutes before putting it back in the freezer. Each time it was more frozen and therefore harder to churn. I don't have an ice cream maker but after three lots of hand churning I was beginning to understand the attraction.
Three times I took the bowl of near frozen  ice cream out of the freezer and churned it vigorously by hand for a couple of minutes before putting it back in the freezer for between 30 minutes and one hour. Each time it was more frozen and therefore harder to churn. I don’t have an ice cream maker but after three lots of hand churning I was beginning to understand the attraction.
Eventually it was time to decant into tubs and put in the freezer to enjoy when the strawberry season is over.
Eventually it was time to decant into tubs and put in the freezer to enjoy when the strawberry season is over.
We went for a walk and ended up at the allotment.
In the afternoon we went for a walk, the sun came out and we ended up at the allotment.
I picked the first 'cupani' sweet peas, a big bag of salad to go with pizza tonight and another kilo of strawberries.
I picked the first ‘cupani’ sweet peas, a big bag of salad to go with pizza tonight and another kilo of strawberries.
We came home for tea and a piece of strawberry cake, made earlier this week.
We came home for tea and a piece of strawberry cake, made earlier this week.
I made pizza and then got cracking macerating Tomorrow I'm going to make the five-minute fool.  Tonight we had strawberries and cream au natural.
I made pizza and then got cracking macerating. Tomorrow I’m going to make the five-minute fool.
Rosa Fragrant Cloud picked last Sunday from the allotment and Rosa New Dawn picked from the garden yesterday.
Rosa Fragrant Cloud from the allotment and Rosa New Dawn from the garden.
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10 thoughts on “Strawberries and cream

  1. Hey you!!! All so very wonderful!!! Loved all of your blooms here and your eats up there look amazing! How do you make your pizza dough??? I have been looking for a good recipe and yours looks amazing! We will have peaches soon so I will have to get creative and start making here as well! Your tubs of strawberry goodness look delicious!!! Wishing you more of the same tomorrow friend!! Nicole xoxo

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  2. Hi Nicole, thank you for all your great comments, I really appreciate them. My pizza dough recipe is made from 50:50 wholemeal and strong white bread flour. Yesterday I used 650g (sorry I don’t know US measurements) flours, one x 7g sachet of dried yeast, several pinches of sea salt and a couple of slugs of olive oil. I mix together in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add 400ml of hand hot water. Using my hands (you do need a large bowl) I mix everything together until I have incorporated all the ingredients into a ball of dough which I then transfer to a floured work surface or board and knead slowly and methodically for 10 minutes. I love hand kneading and I get into a rhythm with it so it is never a chore. The dough should feel soft but not sticky, just like the texture of your ear lobe. My photo shows the dough kneaded and ready for proving. I wash-up the bowl and put the dough back in the bowl covered by a clean tea-towel and leave it in a corner of the kitchen to prove for any amount of time from one hour to all day. When you’re ready to make the pizza I break off a cricket ball-sized piece (about 250g) and roll out thinly to fit roughly a rectangular baking sheet. This amount of dough will make at least four pizzas if we’re a crowd or you can leave the remainder in a covered bowl in the fridge for a couple of days for using later in the week or you can form the remainder into a small loaf or rolls, leave to prove for a second time and bake as bread. Hope this helps and works for you. I always think the key to cooking is to use good ingredients and take your time and enjoy it.
    Good luck and do let me know if it works. Sarah x
    Oh and peaches, one of my favourite fruits, lucky you!

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  3. All sounds totally delicious. Our new strawberry plants have baby strawberries on but not ripe yet – they are mid- and late-season varieties. Amazing that you have so many strawberries – how many plants do you have? I, too, have toyed with getting an ice-cream-maker. Not fond of all that stirring! PS Your allotment looks very Weed-Free! I’m impressed 🙂

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    1. Hi Sam, I reduced my main strawberry bed by about two-thirds last year as the mice cached about three-quarters of the crop. They would nibble off unripe fruit and make neat piles throughout the bed. Very interesting behaviour I thought. I’m now down to about 25 plants, variety unknown, which originally came from my parents’ garden about 15 years ago. They are delicious, quite small and very juicy. I also have two rows of Cambridge Favourite, about 16 plants. I started with three plants bought half-price at the end of the season and propagated the runners. Three plants will easily make 16 over one growing season. I peg runners into 3 inch pots of compost as and when they appear and then in September I plant them out into fresh well-prepared ground that has not been used to grow strawberries, potatoes or tomatoes for at least three years. Finally I grow an ever-bearing variety. Again I started with three plants from my allotment neighbour and in less than two years I have a bed of about 24 plants. Last year I was cropping these into October as the weather was so good. They don’t produce masses but sometimes a bowl or two is all you need or want! I have experimented with other varieties over the years and I have found that regardless of whether they are marketed as early, mid or late they tend to all come at much the same time because they are all enjoying the same growing conditions.
      As for the ice-cream I usually follow a Sarah Raven recipe where everything is simply blended together using my hand-held blender, it takes about 5 minutes to make and takes fantastic like a strawberry sorbet. I will be interested to compare it to the indulgent hand-churned ice-cream which was a bit of a faff and in fact my blog post missed out one part of the procedure which was bringing the strawberries and sugar to the boil before the first freeze. Sorry if this is too much information. I do spend time improving my allotment soil. I don’t dig but I spread lots of home-made compost and weed little and often. And I’ve always gardened organically, both at the allotment and at home. Oh and the mice have hardly been a problem this year!

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      1. Thanks so much – not too much info at all! It’s really interesting to read what you’ve done. Isn’t it fabulous to have this opportunity to share our interests? I’ve noticed a couple of strawberries sending out runners so I’m going to follow your lead and place pots under them and I’m thinking about where I can clear more space for planting them later on. I’m looking forward to having lots of homemade compost to spread over our borders and beds rather than buying sacks in. (Our cats dispatch any mice that are around – not great for the local wildlife but good for protecting our plants.) Let us know how your ice cream tastes.

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  4. Strawberries are my favorite food so I am always happy to see a post full of strawberry-ness. 🙂 The ice cream sounds delicious. I love mascarpone. This weekend we made French vanilla ice cream, which was very good. Your pizzas also look great. You seem like a very good cook!

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. It is so interesting how blogging allows one to see into kitchens and gardens around the world and be inspired. Yesterday for example I made elderflower cordial, thanks to a post from Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse, and I bought a bronze fennel plant for the garden to use in flower arranging and baking.

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  5. You’re making great use of all the strawberries. One day I will create enough space in a sunny part of the garden to grow some here. At the moment a glut of redcurrants is looking at me menacingly..

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    1. The pigeons have eaten my gooseberries. The netting was cast adrift in the wind the other week and they were gone overnight! Good I thought, I don’t have to pick you or spend hours topping and tailing! And I don’t grow currants anymore. My family rebelled against eating blackcurrant jam and there’s always someone at the allotment with a glut of redcurrants. Nowadays I only need enough to make two jars of redcurrant jelly to flavour the gravy for roast lamb!

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