Strawberry Fields Forever

by Sam Bilton on July 2, 2012 3 comments

Strawberries

I have fond memories of picking strawberries as a child. I’m sure I probably ate more than I put in our basket but it was one of those rituals we would do every year.

Strawberry season heralds the beginning of British summer time (although I realise most of June has been a bit of a wash out in the UK). There is something quite irresistible about those crimson jewels demurely peeking out from under their foliage fringes. And of course there is the sweet, intoxicating aroma that hits you when you enter the field. Nothing tastes quite like a freshly picked strawberry still warm from the sun’s rays.

Each year I endeavour to capture their colour and flavour to prolong the taste of summer. Jam is fine but this year I wanted to try something different.

Strawberry, Ricotta & Mint Ice Cream

Makes around 1 litre

Strawberry, ricotta and mint ice cream

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Upon opening the fridge at the weekend I found a tub of ricotta cheese which was close to its use by date. As anyone who reads this blog will know I hate to waste food and so I thought I would use the ricotta in the strawberry ice cream I was about to make from Rosemary Moon’s excellent book. Luckily, the experiment paid off so I have decided to pass the recipe onto you.

Ingredients

  • 500g strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 150g icing sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method

  1. Put the strawberries, icing sugar, lemon juice and ricotta in a food processor. Process until you have a smooth puree. Stir in the double cream and fresh mint.
  2. Churn in a ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions (it took around 25 minutes to reach the desired frozen consistency in my machine).
  3. Immediately transfer to a plastic container and place in the freezer until required.

Strawberry Vinegar

This makes a great salad dressing on its own.

Strawberry vinegar

Ingredients

  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp black peppercorns
  • 500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • Granulated sugar (see point 4 below)

Method

  1. Bring the white wine vinegar and peppercorns to the boil then turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Place the strawberries in a non metallic bowl and lightly mash to release some of their juice.
  3. Pour the vinegar and peppercorns over the strawberries and leave to macerate for 3-5 days stirring occasionally.
  4. Strain through a sieve and discard the peppercorns and strawberries. Measure the liquid you have left and pour into a sauce pan. For every 600ml add 450g sugar. Dissolve the sugar over a medium heat then boil for a minute or two. Pour into flip top bottles. This should keep for up to 12 months.

Other recipe ideas using strawberries…

Croissant with strawberry and geranium jamThe River Cottage recipe for Strawberry & Geranium Jam is lovely with croissants!

Strawberry, White Chocolate & Amaretto Muffins – I adapted my Jubilee Muffin recipe replacing the blueberries and raspberries with 200g hulled and chopped strawberries. I also added 3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur instead of vanilla extract.

Strawberry, white chocolate and amaretto muffinsStrawberry gazpatcho

Sam BiltonStrawberry Fields Forever

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3 comments

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  • Margo - July 25, 2012 reply

    Have my trusty ice cream maker out and I’m going for it!!! Looks gorgeous Sam, thanks for posting.

  • Tracy Humphrey - July 2, 2012 reply

    How about finishing the feast off with a strawberry gin – it’s lovely!

    admin - July 3, 2012 reply

    Ooh that does sound nice! Do you make it in the same way as you would sloe gin? I won came first in the homemade spirits section at the school fete at the weekend with my damson gin. Perhaps next year I will have to enter a strawberry gin instead!

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