Monday, 2 July 2012

Strawberry Fields


Bella, Angus and I went strawberry picking on Saturday morning. I drive past this field a couple of times a week and we've been eagerly waiting for it to open. Bella picks excellent strawberries, huge and fat and red. She showed me one and I said "Wow, that's a beauty!" and for the rest of the hour we were there she shouted "Mummy, Mum, look, I've found another beauty...and another beauty" at the top of her voice. I've been going to this field for three years and this was the best trip yet - no tears, no cries of "I need a wee", only one trip into the mud, none were eaten (no danger of that with Angus!) and very productive. By productive I mean that the kids picked ripe strawberries this time, rather than the green ones or ones that have been discarded by other people in the dust.

I wore my new white Saltwater sandals, the sun came out, and it was (nearly) perfect. Except for the fact that I dropped my camera lens cap among the strawberries. I searched for ages and could not find it anywhere. But I did spot some beauties during the search.


And now we have a fridge full of strawberries. We had them straight out of the plastic punnets on Saturday, with meringues and cream yesterday, on breakfast cereal this morning. I have made jam, smoothies, frozen some for crumbles and pies, and I'm hoping to have a go at baking scones some time this week. Clotted cream has been purchased in preparation for a cream tea. Can anyone recommend a good scone recipe? I have never made them and suspect that, like pastry, they will be "tricky".


I hope you all had a great weekend, whatever you were doing.

39 comments:

  1. Oh where is the strawberry picking? Looks so good! What a shame you lost your lens - maybe someone will find it and hand it in with a bit of luck. Recipe wise we always use the Rose Bakery cookbook, Breakfast Lunch Tea. Best scones ever. If you google the book there are quite a few bloggers who have put the recipe on their page. Hope that helps! x

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    1. It's by the Horsforth roundabout, where the A65 meets the A647. It's really good and only 10 minutes from us. I don't know the Rose Bakery book, and I love a cook book recommendation, so thank you! x

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  2. i think a successful day for me would have been that we, including the kiddo, had fun.... good strawberries or not LOL i just love this as a family activity.

    but yeah, nice ripe 'beauties' are great to take home too.

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    1. You're right, it doesn't matter what kind of berries we pick so long as they had a good time. I am too results-focused sometimes!

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  3. Ooooh yum...your post made my mouth water :o)
    I love fruit picking and ALWAYS end up picking WAY too much!
    I have a great and very easy scone recipe on my sidebar if you are still looking for one...it hasn't failed me yet!
    love jooles x
    P.S nice sandals!

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    1. Thank you Jooles, I remember that post now, and will look it up. A few others have pointed me towards your recipe too so it comes highly recommended! x

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  4. Beauties indeed! (love the Saltwaters. They = summer)

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    1. Do you think if I buy another pair the sun will actually come out...?

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  5. Yum indeed! I can thoroughly recommend Jooles' scone recipe which has become a great favourite at home and work (I don't put the sultanas in though, because I don't like dried fruit). Absolutely delicious, easy and quick and they have always turned out really well. Also, the recipe can be altered for a vegan scone - just use Vitalite or other vegan marg and soya milk instead of milk. Works really well and is just as delicious as the usual recipe.
    Enjoy your scones and all the strawberries too.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Thanks Ellie, I am going to be brave and give it a go!

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  6. I must go strawberry picking, we just haven't this year and it is one of my favourite things to do. IF it isn't raining this weekend that is what I am going to do & get some jam made. Might be good for teacher presents...

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    1. Half the jam I made will be destined for teacher's presents...and the trainee teacher...and the teaching assistant. They are all lovely but there are so many to make gifts for!

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  7. Oh I did this when I was younger with my parents when we were in America. It was so much fun... nothing like that in my vicinity at the moment but Dolly and I are hoarding some crazy shaped pots, old boots and pans to grow our own out of for next year! I love strawberrys. Especially with smooth peanut butter- the sweet and salty is divine!

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    1. I love your idea of different shaped pots for growing! I not convinced by jam and peanut butter sandwiches, but I do like mashed banana and peanut butter, so I can't really comment! x

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  8. We haven't had a PYO in these parts for years, more's the pity. After trying lots of different ones, Mary Berry's is now my go-to scone recipe(you can find it here: http://lovethosecupcakes.typepad.com/love_those_cupcakes/2010/06/lazy-saturday-afternoon.html). Now all I can think about is strawberry and cream scones!!!

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    1. Someone told me that lots of PYO places have closed due to high liability insurance costs...I hope that's not true, it's too depressing for words. I should've know that Mary Berry would have a good scone recipe!

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  9. They look scrummy. I'm picking strawberries from the allotment at the moment, but I won't have as big a harvest as other years as I've just created a new bed and they take a year to really get going. I could do with finding a PYO so that I can make some jam. Do they work out reasonably priced from PYO?

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    1. They were £3.75 a kilo, so not especially cheap but I just love fruit picking as an activity. My three punnets came to £9. I used half for jam (around 10 jars) and the rest went on pudding, smoothies, eating etc. I planted some this year and they've taken really well so I am optimistic for a small harvest next summer.

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  10. That looks like fun! I've only ever been cherry picking and that was years and years ago... Such a pity about your lens. I hope some kind person will have found it and handed it in! x

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    1. I just ordered a new one from Amazon. To be honest, I am amazed I have not lost it before, as I am terrible for putting it down in random places/pockets then forgetting where i put it. John despairs! x

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  11. Those strawberries look delicious and it looks like you had a lovely day for it. I love them with M&S meringue nests, vanilla ice cream and cream all smooshed together. Good luck with the scones :)

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    1. Oh that sounds really good! I love eton mess, it's the best summer pudding.

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  12. Sounds like a lovely day. I think I found my scone recipe on the internet, but I can't be sure if it's good compared to any others as I've only tried one. The only thing I would say, and Mum also gave me this advice, is that the mixture usually makes much fewer scones than the recipe suggests, so make double and be generous with the amount used for each scone. And use small cutters so they rise higher.

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    1. Thanks for the tips! I also heard that they don't keep and you need to eat them the day you bake them...that will be a hardship! x

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  13. Oh my, such lusciousness! A strawberry picking session in the sun with kids in the right mood for it is just the best. It's a long time since mine were little enough to be interested in helping but with Longest-Gap-Year-Ever-Boy working at the local PYO farm I'm well supplied with fruit these days!

    I can heartily recommend Jooles' scone recipe :D

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    1. I am glad they are still little enough to be dragged uncomplaining to fruit farms at the weekend. We used to cycle to the local PYO farm when I was little, my parents are mad for fruit picking.

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  14. Why not make a strawberry pie? My late mother used to make a delicious one. Using shortcrust pastry (it doesn't need to be sweet pastry, just ordinary shortcrust) line a pie plate. Now slice up strawberries over it, add sugar to taste, and then pastry on top. Cut and crimp the edges, brush the top with egg or milk, cut a couple of air holes and bake in a moderate oven. Delicious with cream or custard when served hot, or with ice cream or cream when served cold. If you've not tasted cooked strawberries, with such a glut, perhaps you might like to give this a go?
    Scones are peasy peasy. Self raising flour, and a 1/4 fat to flour, so for 8 oz of flour use 2 oz of fat (I use Olivio, it doesn't have to be butter), rub in the fat into the flour so that you have 'breadcrumbs', now add about a dessertspoon of sugar (caster or granlated), a milk to bind it into a dough, the less you handle it the better, and cut into small-size scones. Into a moderate oven, don't open the door until they're risen, about 20 minutes, depending on your oven. I prefer to cook small size scones which take less time and are cooked right through. There is nothing worse than a doughy scone. Large ones can look cooked but are often doughy inside. As Anna says, small cutters, they rise higher. You can even add a little baking powder, about 1/2 teaspoon to the 8 oz self raising flour mixture, too. For a richer scones, just use a little more fat, say 3 oz. I don't do metric, bu the way. I never have and I'm too old to start now!
    Margaret P
    Margaret P

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    1. Thank you for the recipe Margaret. I have never made strawberry pie but it sounds delicious. I don't make enough pies. I have a little ceramic blackbird that you put in the middle of a pie so that they don't sink, and the poor thing has only been used a couple of times. I like cooked strawberries in a crumble with vanilla ice cream, and this sounds like a similar flavour combination.

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  15. how nice to have a pick your own fruit place so close. we are going to pick mandarins for a bit of fun but have to drive 2 hours to get there. i have seen your baking around these parts gillian and scones will not be a problem for you :) they are pretty easy actually and those strawberries you picked will go down very well with them. xo

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    1. 2 hours for mandarins! In England, no-one would drive that far for fruit picking, we are much too lazy. Thank you for your encouraging words, I feel heartened!

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  16. They look fantastic! Can almost taste them! Guess losing the lens makes them a rather expensive treat! What a shame. Good look with the scones - I haven't made them for years but usually find Mary Berry's recipes the best - don't like too much bicarb in mine - it makes your teeth feel funny.

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    1. I am hearing good things about Mary Berry's recipe - I should have guessed that she or Delia would have reliable scone recipes!

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  17. I love fresh strawberries...and what fun picking your own! I have never made sconces, but would love to try. Maybe you will inspire me with a yummy recipe this week! Oh and the cream tea sounds delicious. How do you make it?

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    1. A "cream tea" is a scone topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream eaten with a cup of tea - a very delicious English tradition!

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  18. I've been waiting for the PYO to open so I can try these -

    http://smittenkitchen.com/2012/06/strawberries-and-cream-biscuits/

    I think American biscuits are more like our scones than what we call biscuits and they call cookies! Like a cream tea all in one!

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    1. Mmm, and for breakfast too, how decadent! I should go on this site more, it's fanstastic. And there is a book coming out!

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  19. Yes, Julia and Gillian, a cream tea is exactly that, it's not tea you drink although you have a cup of tea with it, but a scone - that you split in two - topped with jam and cream. However, I would like to emphasize as Gillian has already mentioned it, that the cream must be clotted cream, no other will do. And in Devon you put the cream on first, topped by the jam, and in Cornwall, you put the jam on first, topped by the cream! Just a little county difference!
    Margaret P

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