Summertime . . . .

We are very lucky to live in the Vale of Evesham, surely one of the great allotments of England with its many fruit and vegetable growers.  PLEASE try and avoid eating strawberries out of season – and definitely not from abroad!  The sweetness and juiciness of a just picked fruit cannot be equalled and now is the time to make the best of them!

You may note that the recipes below are for more than one – but they will all keep and freeze if necessary – and you want to make them whilst the best of strawberries are available. How lovely it will be on a dull, grey day to have a taste of summer (if they last that long!).

Strawberry and Elderflower sorbet – you won’t find a more summery dish than this. The perfect refreshing treat to cool down on a hot day.

  • 550g strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 200 ml elderflower cordial (see June edition for recipe)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Put the strawberries, cordial, 200ml cold water and the lemon juice into a blender and whizz for 2 – 3 minutes till smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to push through any thicker puree. Press down to extract as much as possible then discard and pips and any fibres left in the sieve.  Cover and chill for 2 hours. Pour into a container and freeze, taking it out every hour or so to mash with a fork to get limit ice crystals for a 2 – 3 times. Remove from the freezer at least 5 minutes before serving.

 Strawberry Gazpacho

  • 330g vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
  • 700g ripe strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 75ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Put the tomatoes, strawberries, red pepper, shallot, garlic and vinegar in a large bowl and leave overnight. The next day, add the olive oil and whizz together until smooth adding a splash of water if too thick. Season to taste.  Fry some little pieces of bread in olive oil, drain and sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the soup, torn basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Strawberry and Mascarpone Gelato – Strawberry and mascarpone is a classic mix and this is also one of the easiest ice cream recipes you could possibly make!

  • 300g strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 500g mascarpone
  • 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Put the chopped strawberries in a bowl. Add the cordial and sprinkle over the sugar. Set aside to macerate for up to 1 hour. Beat the mascarpone and white chocolate together, then fold through the strawberry mixture. Put in a cling film-lined, straight-sided freezer-proof box (about 1 litre) and freeze overnight.  For the soft strawberries, put the berries and cordial in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes. Slice the ice cream and spoon over the strawberries to serve.

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