Friday, June 28, 2013
Un mélange de fraises (A mélange of strawberries).
I love fresh strawberries. To me, they're the quintessential essence of a perfect summer's day. During my student years on continental Europe, having a small budget was no obstacle whatsoever. At the height of the strawberry season, I spent many a blissful Saturday morning at my local market, browsing the tables laden with mountains of ruby-red deliciousness. After buying my weekly ration of two punnets, I would trot over to the ALDI supermarket because their vanilla ice-cream was (and still is) the cheapest. Back at my studio, I washed and sorted the fruit. The softest berries were sliced and diced for a strawberry vanilla ripple. The firmest ones I rolled in white sugar and chilled in the freezer. My tiny abode had an even smaller balcony, nestled in a sheltered alcove overlooking the enclosed courtyard of a centuries-old church. As soon as the sugar had crystallised into a crunchy layer on the strawberries, I would bring out the whole bowl to the balcony and settled down to watch the lengthening shadows of the setting sun over the church roof.
STRAWBERRY VANILLA RIPPLE:
Best made with soft fruit. Cut up the berries into small bits or thin slices, put in a glass bowl with a spoonful (or more!) of strawberry jam. (Given the acidic nature of strawberry juice, I avoid using plastic and metal containers.) Then add vanilla ice-cream and mix well.
I always use fruit which is firm to touch. Roll each berry in icing sugar or castor sugar. But if you're on a tight budget, normal white sugar works just as well. Chill well before consumption, preferably in the freezer compartment.
FRAISES AU VIN BLANC (Strawberries in White Wine):
Approximately 10 berries per 500 ml of wine. Tip the wine into a caraf or jug. Cut the fruit into quarters and add to the wine. Chill for several hours. This recipe works best with firm fruit. I learnt from my 1st attempt that the softest berries have the highest alcohol absorption rate ...
Strawberry cameo brooches, strawberry short-cake clips (lined with quality grossgrain ribbon) and bobby pins.