Wimbledon season is truly upon us with the men and women's quarter finals taking place later today. But enough about the tennis, what about the strawberries that we'll be munching on?
And some science news too: the sounds you're hearing while you eat your strawberries can have an impact on how tasty they are. Let's hope the sound of Lesley Waters' voice has a positive effect - she'll be creating a three course meal dedicated to the juicy fruit - and she's even thrown in a special cocktail to try too.
Avocado pear with basil and strawberry vinaigrette
Back in my days at Leith’s we used to serve up strawberry vinaigrette with avocado pear – very 1980s, but I am known to still to whiz it up its one of my all-time favourites.
In a small bowl gently combine the olive oil, strawberries, sugar , balsamic and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cut the avocado pears in half and stone and peel.
Slice finely or cut into a fan!
Lay the avocado onto 4 white plates spoon on the strawberry vinaigrette scatter over the basil leaves and season again with black pepper. Serve with brown bread and butter.
Pineapple and chilled strawberries with smoked chicken platter
A modern Coronation Chicken !
1 medium sweet ripe pineapple
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
30ml (2tbsp) runny honey
2 oranges, juice only
170g (6oz) strawberries , un hulled and halved
140g (5oz) cooked, smoked chicken, finely shredded
For the relish
100g (3½ oz) flaked almonds, toasted
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp mint, chopped
15ml/1tbsp extra olive oil
Cut both ends off the pineapple and with a knife cut away the skin, then quarter and remove the core from each wedge. Cut each wedge in half giving 8 wedges in total.
Place the pineapple wedges in a bowl add the strawberries, chilli, honey and orange juice. Toss gently and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, combine all the relish ingredients season to taste and set to one side
Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Remove the pineapple wedges from the marinade, reserving the liquid and strawberries, and add to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until lightly charred. Arrange onto 4 serving plates or on a large chopping board. Top with the smoked chicken and relish.
Pour the reserved marinade and strawberries into the pan and allow to bubble of the heat for a few seconds. Drizzle the hot chilled strawberry dressing over the pineapple and chicken and serve.
The ultimate strawberry tart
Serves 6 to 8
320g puff pastry ready rolled
450g cream cheese (sweetened with a little icing sugar as required)
500g Strawberries, hulled
4 passion fruit
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt
5 tablespoons redcurrant jelly & splash water
Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/ 200C/400F
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the ready rolled pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Trim up the edges to neaten. Using a small sharp knife, cut a picture frame style border all the way round, cutting halfway through the pastry. Prick the inside of the border, liberally, with a fork. Brush the frame carefully with the egg. Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until cooked. If the centre rises up, gently push down with a fish slice.
Place the cool pastry case onto a large wooden board. Beat the cream cheese with the passion fruit until soft & creamy add a little icing sugar to taste. Pile this mixture into the cooled pastry case and level off.
Heat the redcurrant jelly in a pan with the water until smooth. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve to remove any lumps. Set to one side to cool slightly.
Arrange the strawberries over the passion fruit cream and brush lightly with the redcurrant glaze. Serve on a chopping board .
Summer strawberry spritzer with cucumber and mint
Makes approx. 1 litre serves 4/6
2 unwaxed lemons, washed
2 limes, washed
185g (6oz)caster sugar
600mls (1 pint) boiling water
300mls (1/2 pint) sparkling water, chilled
200g small strawberries
¼ cucumber thinly sliced
Small bunch of mint leaves
Lime slices & ice to serve
Using a potato peeler, peel the zest from the lemons and limes. Place in a large bowl with the sugar, pour over the boiling water, stir, cover and leave to cool.
Squeeze the juice from the fruit and add to the cooled liquid
Place the strawberries, cucumber and mint into a jug strain over the lemon & lime drink pour in the sparkling water. Add some ice and serve at once.
Elderflower Champagne cup
Half fill some old style iced champagne glasses with some strawberries and top with elder flower champagne or elder flower presse finish with sprigs of mint
4 large ripe strawberries hulled
Juice 1 lime
5 tablespoons white rum
1 tablespoon icing sugar or to taste
Cup of ice cubes
Blend all the ingredients in a blender at a high speed until frothy. Pour straight away into a chilled glass and serve.