Strawberries

I was going to tell you about another chateau today, but there are more pressing matters at hand. Instead of long-dead French nobles with too much time and too many resources at their disposal, we’re going to talk about strawberries.

Aussie farmers are doing it tough at the moment with widespread drought. In the past week or so, though, we’ve seen a $500 million (or thereabouts) industry be brought to its knees by a few idiot saboteurs with sewing needles –  the Queensland strawberry industry.

What you might not know is that South East Queensland – and predominantly the Sunshine Coast from Caboolture and up through to Bundaberg – supplies Australia with its winter strawberry crops. The season runs between May and October. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of punnets of the best tasting strawberries you’ll eat.

The supermarkets may have pulled their strawberries off the shelf, but we’re still buying them from the markets. The alternative is to watch them being dumped – and the farmer’s livelihoods with them.

Radio stations and newspapers here on the Coast are imploring people to get behind the strawberry farmers and still buy strawberries – to cut them before eating if you’re concerned – and to share favourite recipes. Here are mine.

Check. Chop. Consume.

No recipe recipes…

What are we doing with them? We’re eating them – for breakfast with yoghurt and granola and passionfruit.

We’re freezing them – for smoothies and trifles. And we’re macerating them in creme de cassis for a little bit of France in a bowl.

You can, of course, also use them to make jam, top a pavlova or a Victoria sponge cake, or stir them through lemon curd and spoon it into little pastry cases for a quick and tasty dessert.

Need some more ideas?

No-Churn strawberry ice-cream

This comes out of the food processor looking just like a strawberry soft serve. It’s just 500g frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1 egg white all blitzed in a food processor. Job done.

Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

An alternative to ice-cream is strawberry frozen yoghurt – although this one does need to be churned in an ice cream maker. The principle is similar. Take 500g strawberries and hull and dice them. Pop them in a bowl with 1/2 cup caster sugar and leave it for a couple of hours or until the sugar has dissolved.

Pop the strawberry mixture into your food processor, add 1 1/2 cups Greek-style (full fat) yoghurt and process until smooth. Then spoon it into your ice cream machine and let it churn for however long your machine needs to churn for. Then freeze.

Strawberry Cloud Cake

Anyone who spends any amount of time in the kitchen will have a party favourite in their repertoire – you know, that one dish that you pull out every time you have a crowd to feed.

This Strawberry Cloud Cake is mine. It’s impressive, it’s pretty, it’s seriously easy to put together, it tastes good and it’s pink.

Just what is a cloud cake? Aside from having a delectable name, this creation is a feather-light, frozen cross between an ice cream and a mousse, with none of the faffing around that usually goes with these. It’s also a piece of scientific mastery as this

photo-15 Becomes this,

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on the way to becoming thick and pink and fluffy

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And then, this.

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I won’t reprint the recipe, the link to the recipe is here

Strawberry Trifle

In our house, trifles are hubby’s domain. He makes one once a year – for Christmas. He uses aeroplane jelly mix and cut up sponge cake. It’s a bit of a Christmas classic, and this one represents no attempted takeover of the Christmas trifle. For a start, there’s no powdered jelly mix in sight.

To make the jelly you’ll need:

  • 500g strawberries.
  • Juice and grated rind of an orange
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 gelatine leaves. I used titanium strength – it’s a lot, but you need the jelly to be firm enough to hold the sponge fingers, custard and cream.

Place everything except the gelatine in a saucepan and bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer – for about 5-6 minutes. While the berries are simmering, soften the gelatine leaves in cold water. This should take about 5 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out of the squidgy gelatine and add it to the hot berry mixture. Stir until it’s dissolved, and set aside to cool for an hour before pouring into your trifle bowl – or bowls, if you’re being fancy schmancy. Put into the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

Once the jelly is set arrange some sponge fingers across the top, drizzle with sherry, and top with custard. Of course, you can make your own – but it’s easier to buy the dollopy sort from the supermarket. Then it’s just a matter of spooning on some whipped cream and decorating with more berries.

Do you have any favourite strawberry recipes?

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.