Category Archives: Strawberries

In a jam…

My view on jam is this: why bother making plain jam in flavours you can get at the grocery store?  This week, I’ve made two variation on strawberry jam, and it’s a real quandary which I like better.

Option 1: Strawberry-ginger:  This is a combination that I love.   The main point in making strawberry cordial is so that I can add some to my ginger beer.   This has all that concentrated summer delight in a single jar.

Option 2: Orange-infused Strawberry vanilla jam.   This was an experiment.   But seems to be Des’s favourite at the moment.

In both cases the basic recipe is the same:

4 parts strawberries

3 parts sugar

Clean and hull the strawberries then quarter them. [Tip:  If you want to make cordial, mash up the strawberries with 1/4 of the sugar and allow to sit overnight.   You can then strain them and the liquid is the cordial that you can add to drinks, etc.  Use the strawberries as normal.]

In a large-bottomed pot, combine remaining sugar (or all of it if you skipped the cordial bit] and the juice of a lemon if you are making the ginger version, or the juices of a lemon and an orange if you are making the vanilla version.

For the ginger version add a generous amount of finely minced ginger (use fresh ginger that you mince yourself.   The pre-minced version might have preservatives etc. that will react in unpredictable ways with the jam).   I used a piece that was about the length of my hand!  Before adding the fruit, run the syrup through a sieve and reserve the collected ginger while returning the syrup to the heat.    You can gradually reincorporate this at the end so that you can exactly incorporate it to your taste.  If you want very spicy jam, you could add a chili at this point.   I didn’t.

For the vanilla version, add finely chopped orange zest.   I used about 1 tablespoon of fresh zest for 1 kg of fruit.

If you want to add a thickening agent add it now. I used agar rather than gelatine because one jar is ear-marked for a vegetarian friend.    If you don’t want to use a thickening agent, then use equal weights of sugar and fruit.

Bring to a boil stirring often.  Remove the fruit, leaving the syrup and allow that to boil down by three quarters.    Return the fruit and heat through. Add the vanilla or minced ginger.

Pour into sterilised jam jars.   I can’t be bothered with wax rings etc.   I just fill the jars right to the top and seal them while they are hot, creating a vacuum.

Allow to cool then label.

Enjoy.

Strawberry Rescue Sauce

So last night as I was making that Shrimp & Spinach salad, I noticed that my strawberries were starting to look a touch over-ripe.

Letting strawberries rot is sacrilege as I see it.    So instead, I’ve extended their life by making Strawberry Rescue sauce.

In a saucepan,

  • Put 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 100g of strawberries you need to rescue.
  • Pour enough vanilla extract in to wet the sugar.
  • Add the washed and hulled strawberries.
  • Cook over a high heat only until they’ve rendered a red juice.   allow to cool.

Notes:

  • If your strawberries were in particularly bad shape and you were only able to salvage bits of them, turn this into a coulis by puréeing the cooled sauce.   This works brilliantly over ice cream.
  • This is a lovely topper for a piece of bread or a scone.

Fresh and tasty dinner

So Des has been away in London for a few days now.   He’ll be back tomorrow night, so this is my last chance to have the kind of dinners he doesn’t like.

I’m having an enormous salad.

It’s got:

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • An orange
  • Half a dozen strawberries
  • A handful of cooked and peeled prawns
  • And some fresh buffalo mozzarella.

The dressing is very simple too.   I skipped the mustard because I really just want to enjoy the flavours of the the various ingredients.  So all I’ve done is mix:

  • Strawberry balsamic vinegar (that I picked up recently and is just gorgeous!)
  • Vegetable bouillon powder (instead of salt)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • a drizzle of my finest Spanish olive oil.

It’s a perfect meal for one – in as much as I wouldn’t want to share 🙂

Strawberry & Balsamic mocktail

It’s a gorgeous day in Glasgow and I’ve just come back from my first jog (ever).

I’ve come back parched!    So I’ve made an alcohol-free version of one of my favourite cocktails.

I cut up 5 massive strawberries, crushed a handful of ice-cubes, added a splash of Blood Orange Syrup (Ronin 1803), a few sprigs of fresh mint and gave it a good shake.   Then I poured the lot in a glass and topped off with some fiery ginger beer.

If I was going to make this with alcohol, I’d add some rum.