Fresh to me means produce straight from my allotment, pesticide-free and naturally fed plants. I’ll give you the recipe for the cordial at the end, but first I’m going to show off some of my harvest, which despite the burning heat-wave we’ve been having, and my erratic watering, seems to be doing pretty well. The strawberries have been delicious – warm off the stem, or made into ice cream. We even outfaced the heat by having some in a crumble (i.e. baked with a butter-sugar-flour crumb crust) and served with some Greek yoghourt.
And now the raspberries and blackcurrants are beginning to ripen which means it’s time to make jam with the raspberries and coulis with the currants, or Summer Pudding with both.
And then there are gooseberries to make into gooseberry and ginger chutney, and gooseberry fool, or gooseberry sauce to have with grilled mackerel.
On Saturday night, after a hard day’s picking, weeding and sowing, we had steamed artichokes served with crushed garlic in melted goat’s butter.
And on Sunday night, after digging up some Charlotte and Red Duke of York potatoes, picking French and broad beans and broccoli, I steamed the vegetables and dished them up with salsa verde and a few grilled rashers of Wenlock Edge Farm bacon. Bliss.
And now I’ve teased your taste buds to extremes, here is the recipe I promised you:
Strawberry and Rhubarb Cordial
4 sticks of rhubarb chopped
300 gm/10 oz ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half
320gm/11oz caster sugar
1 litre/1.75 water
juice of 2 lemons
Place fruit in heavy based pan, add sugar and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add water and increase heat slightly. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Leave to cool then strain through a sieve, pressing the pulp into the syrup. Add lemon juice and store in the fridge. To serve, dilute with chilled sparkling water, and add a sprig of mint if this appeals.
OR make a damn fine cocktail with some prosecco or other dry sparkling wine. I haven’t tried this myself yet, but I just know it will be wonderful – bellinis with bells on.
And finally a shot of the marigolds and sweet peas that I grow amongst my vegetables to make the bees happy, and me happy when they have pollinated everything else.
Happy summer to everyone who takes the
time to read my blog – lovely
people all of you.