Our strawberries, like the asparagus crop, are loving this British weather – though that late frost damaged some plants, the dry spring and now this warmth has meant a good heavy crop full of wonderful flavour, a lovely fragrance and berries that really do taste so much better than any imported variety – do make sure you are buying British now.
Strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside and a member of the rose family.
Healthy – one of the healthiest of fruits – packed with antioxidants to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease, excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, also low in sodium, cholesterol and fat free
Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or to make tea
Serve – simply on their own, with a dash of cream or a dressing made from balsamic vinegar and orange liqueur; dipped in chocolate; with rhubarb in a pie or with almond in a crumble; as Eton mess; in a sponge cake; a strawberry tart, do try Dan’s recipe below – the possibilities are deliciously endless.
Our asparagus crop continues to be so tasty and we are picking daily. Quick to cook, healthy and you only need a few spears to jazz up any number of dishes – on their own with hollandaise, in salads, a quiche or a risotto.
In the Shop
Off to an event and packing up a hamper or picnic – Dan and the kitchen team are busy making a wide range of scrummy tarts and quiches – asparagus, cherry tomato and parmesan; roasted pepper and goats cheese; quiche Lorraine; as a pud try the popular Morello cherry jam and bakewell tart or of course our homemade meringues with a punnet of strawberries and cream.
If you’re been inspired by Chelsea Flower Show or the inaugural Chatsworth Flower Show, take a look at our glamourous bedding plants for your garden – verbena, lobelia, petunia, nemesia, fuschia, antirrhinum, osteospermum, begonia. And if the gnarled old olive trees have caught your fancy, we just have two more left.
Cheese & Wine Tasting – 17 June
If you’ve ever wondered how some wines go better with some cheeses, come and enjoy our tasting with Ben our cheeseman and Gil our wine guru from Corney & Barrow who will give you a practical talk through the principles of how pairings work and you can taste our cheeses and wines of the month. Do chat with Gil too on his recommendations for summer wines.
Cheeses of the Month
We’ve four cheeses for you this month that carry a 20% discount. Look out for the red star.
Pave d’Affinois(v) A French double cream, soft cheese made from cow’s milk. Similar to Brie but much creamier with silky-smooth texture and a sweet yet mild flavour. It melts in the mouth to reveal a fresh burst of milky goodness and hints of grassy pastures. The soft oozing ivory interiors are coated with an edible bloomy rind.
Gil recommends a Sauvignon Blanc as a great partner for these types of cheese and the gorgeous Pouilly-Fume from A et E Figeat is a good example. This Sauvignon is grown on the slopes facing Sancerre across the Loire River. It has a similar structure and character to Sancerre but is richer with hints of gun flint and a wisp of smoke which adds complexity alongside grassy, herbaceous notes.
P’tit Grey (v) This pasteurised soft cow’s milk cheese from eastern France is covered in an attractive white, grey coating. It is mild when cold and develops a richer flavour when served at room temperature.
Match this cheese with Il Barroccio Bianco from the Veneto region of Italy – a gorgeous mix of fresh, crisp acidity alongside orchard and stone fruits and a floral undertone. This aromatic zesty character will complement the mild and delicate nature of the cheese when chilled and the depth of fruit will stand up to the richer flavours that come out as the cheese warms up.
Brillat-Savarin A triple cream dessert cheese with a light, fluffy white rind. The texture is dense, moist and slightly chalky but lush and creamy achieved from the rich cream that’s added to the whole milk. Flavours are of butter, salt, cream with hints of mushroom, hazelnuts and truffles.
Gil recommends that wine with complexity and weight is required to match up here. The Puertas Antiguas Viognier from Chile, with its notes of white peach, pear and jasmine fits perfectly. There are also notes of hazelnut which will naturally complement the mushroom and hazelnut notes in the cheese. There is a great balance to this wine and a fresh, bright finish will prevent the pairing being too rich.
Wookey Hole cave aged goat cheddar– a mild firm cheese that is made by Ford Farm, Dorset and matured in the same caves as its famous Wookey Hole Cheddar which give rich, earthy, nutty flavours with caramel top notes. The milk is sourced from a herd of 1,200 Toggenburgh and Saanen goats at nearby Bromes Farm. This new goat’s cheddar has already won a number of awards – enjoy as part of the cheeseboard or it is also firm enough to be grated onto pastas and salads – ideal for those with a cow’s milk allergy.
Goats cheese pairs really well with citrusy white wines and crisp dry roses. Mercifully for us red wine drinkers, they also work well with fresh, fruity reds just like the superb Beaujolais-Villages from Pierre Ferraud. This wine, made with the Gamay varietal, is bursting with fresh cherries and floral notes. The palate is juicy and lively with red fruit flavours and hints of blueberry. There is good structure here which will marry well with the mature elements of the cheese.
200 g plain flour
100 g butter
Or use 375 g pack shortcrust pastry
For the crème pâtissière
350 ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp crème fraîche
200g strawberries, hulled
Make the Pastry:
Crumble the butter into the flour and stir in 4 tbsp cold water and bring together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Line a 24 cm tart tin, chill again then bake 180⁰C for 10-15 minutes until golden.
Make the Crème Pâtissière:
Put the milk and vanilla pod in a pan, bring to the boil, take off the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Whisk the yolks and sugar in a large bowl until voluminous, fold in the flour and lemon zest.
Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Clean the pan, then pour the mixture back in and gently return to the boil, stirring continuously until it has thickened. Take the pan off the heat and pour into a bowl. Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge until chilled.
Discard the vanilla pod, fold the crème fraîche into the crème pâtissière. Spoon into the tart tin. Halve the strawberries and place in concentric circles starting with a strawberry in the middle. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to set then serve.