I’ve just returned from a week’s holiday in the French Alpes with my daughter. One of the highlights for me was to order a café au lait and croissant in the café in the early morning and watch as the little town square came alive.
Twice during the week the square was transformed as local farmers and artisan food producers gathered to sell their wares. Piles of sun ripened, sweet, juicy peaches, apricots, deep red cherries, raspberries, strawberries; wonderful vegetables, artisan cheeses, olives, floral mountain honeys, herbs de Provence – I could go on!
Summer fruits and berries need very little accompaniment when they taste that good! Back here in the UK we have our own home-grown fruits and berries to enjoy.
Five simple ways to enjoy summer fruits & berries
- A bowl of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sliced peaches, apricots or some cherries, are all enhanced with a sprinkling of vanilla sugar (see how to make it in last month’s blog). Alternatively, sprinkle lightly with caster sugar or a sprinkling of elderflower cordial. Never serve straight from the fridge – the flavour will be dulled, so allow them to come to room temperature for an hour or so.
- Eton Mess: Sliced fruits (traditionally strawberries but you can ring the changes), crumbled meringue folded into lightly whipped cream served in individual glasses, makes a simple delicious dessert.
- Bake a simple Victoria sponge, and fill with whipped cream, and sweetened sliced strawberries – delicious with a pot of afternoon tea!
- For a crowd a large pavlova never fails. Get ahead and bake the pavlova a day or two ahead. An hour or two before serving whip up double cream, sweeten with (vanilla) sugar or a drop or two of vanilla essence. Top with a mixture of berries and fruits of your choice.
- If you have slightly over ripe strawberries or raspberries, whizz up in the food processor to a purée. Add a squeeze or lemon juice and sweeten with (vanilla) caster sugar to taste. Sieve and serve with the pavlova or as a delicious fruit sauce. It freezes very well too.