An afternoon strawberry picking is a summer family tradition and with strawberry season in sight, household fridges across the UK will soon be jam-packed full of Pavlovas, Eton messes and Strawberry shortcakes. Boasting an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants, strawberries are undeniably delicious, yet equally nutritious. The cherished red fruit has proven itself a key ingredient in several traditional British recipes over the years, yet few of us are aware of the humble strawberry’s versatility in the kitchen. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, the vibrant fruit can transform any meal from mundane to mouth-watering in minutes.
For those wishing to branch out this summer, Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486, has lent his top tips on how to make the most of the sweet strawberry season and create unique strawberry-centric dishes at home.
Hot and cold
Roasting strawberries can create tremendously tasty results, particularly when paired with a generous scoop of Cornish vanilla ice-cream. To make the most of the oven-baked fruit, ensure the stem is sliced off, cut into quarters and then whisk together with a dash of maple syrup. Presentation is important with this pretty summer dessert, so let the strawberry slices cool down slightly before scattering them neatly on top of the ice cream.
Begin at breakfast
For a decadent breakfast treat, combine sliced strawberries with rhubarb pieces and spread over two thick slices of toast. To ensure a thorough fusion of flavours, press the fruit gently into the bread then chill in the fridge overnight. Fry your bread slices the following morning in a frying pan with plenty of butter. Feel free to add dashes of cinnamon and brown sugar too. Serve with a generous helping of Greek yogurt. Preparation is key with this dish but it’s worth the fuss! Homemade strawberry jam on toast is our family favourite.
Scoop it out
Strawberry cheesecake is a well-loved classic and a popular party pudding for any occasion. Why not re-invent the traditional recipe and try a new dinner party dessert? Simply scoop out the centre of the strawberry and fill it with a cheesecake filling. The classic combination of cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract will hold perfectly inside the fruit when served fresh out of the fridge. For extra wow-factor, serve with a cinnamon glaze. Alternatively, if it’s a romantic snack you’re after then swap the glaze for a white chocolate dipping sauce.
As the weather warms up, homemade strawberry ice-lollies are a refreshing sunbathing snack. Simply combine crushed strawberries with a spoonful of sugar before mixing into a cold jug of lemonade. Pour the liquid into ice-lolly moulds and place a wooden stick in the centre. Alternatively, simply add strawberry slices to your ice cube tray and freeze overnight, a trick that will transform your summer beverage from simple to spectacular in a split second.
Seasonal summer salad
Contrary to popular belief, strawberries are not strictly reserved for the sweet-toothed. Inject a zing into your leafy summer salad by adding balsamic glazed strawberries into the mix. Gorgonzola cheese and pecan nuts both work particularly well with this dish.
Named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone, Hunter 486 has been designed with an air of nostalgic London glamour fused with contemporary touches. The restaurant features gleaming leather booths, blown glass chandeliers and statement artwork, plus an adjoining chic Salon de Champagne bar. The kitchen is delightfully open plan and airy, allowing guests to watch the skilled chefs at work amongst the gleaming selection of copper pots and pans suspended from the ceiling. Light streams through the large windows, treating guests to a charming view of the neighbourhood mews, and come the evening, the softly lit restaurant is an intimate and romantic setting for dinner and drinks.
Thanks to Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486 for his top tips for strawberry season.
The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD
For reservations, please call: 020 7724 4700 or www.thearchlondon.com