Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Summer of Strawberries

Down at the weekly Market on Thursday, I bought two punnets of strawberries. They were English strawberries, excellent colour and flavour, with a variety of sizes and shapes. The reason for two punnets was that we were having our lunch for Mauritian Ladies at Marie-Claire's, and I had volunteered to make the desert. I rushed back and made the Pavlova base.

Marie-Claire excelled in a variety of Mauritian dishes ranging from fish curry, potato and spinach curry, etoufe of watercress, and an aubergine dish. There was rice and salads, and quite honestly it was more of a banquet that a lunch.

After a bit of a rest, and lots of chattering, I went through to build up the pavlova. I had made up the base that morning, prepared the strawberries, and had decided to use half fat creme fraiche. Because of the walk to MCs, I thought it best to take the components and assemble the desert just before serving.

I had to explain to the gang that I associated Pavlova with Mauritius, as it was one of my mother's specialities: not meringue which is just hard and brittle, but with the addition of cornflour and a little cider vinegar, the center is like marshmallow. She would often make big ones to take with her when dining with friends. Everyone loved the desert and MC's husband was at hand to finish it off!

With three egg whites I had sufficient to make a large base, and a small one. Mr S loves desert

and I kept strawberries, and sufficient creme fraiche for later. With a little sprinkling of icing sugar, there was enough for two!

During the lunch Rita told me that her friend Dick at the Allotment, had asked her to let me know that his strawberries were ready for picking and would I like to get round there prompto. Friday saw me picking several tubs and cycling back via Waitrose to pick up a 2 kg bag of T & L sugar.

I left the berries to ripen a little further in the sun on the kitchen windowsill, and then next morning at 6 started the strawberry cleaning and jam making marathon. Thank you jars have already been delivered to Dick and Rita, calling with four mini pots for Jean. I keep the little miniature pots from cream teas, to pot up for friends who live on their own and find a normal jar a little too big.

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