Strawberry Fields Forever
As I sit and write this on what is the first slightly drizzly day in weeks, I can't help but think that Britain in the summertime is the most glorious place on this here earth of ours. It's (usually) green, with chocolate-box charm and cosmopolitan chic all rolled into one. When you've lived on a land mass as vast as Australia, you realise and appreciate just how accessible every corner of our little island really is and, living in Surrey, we feel especially blessed to be on London's doorstep whilst still surrounded by all that the gorgeous countryside has to offer. Remember we are country folk at heart, reigning from rural Wales, so I'd say Jake and I are most comfortable in a field as opposed to any urban jungle. That said, I knew when I planned our recent family day out at the local pick your own farm it would be right up Jake's street...or his meadow as the case may be. This is a place Charlie and I love, we've visited many a time in summer as well as autumn when the Halloween pick-your-own pumpkin season is in full swing. Thank goodness my kid is into this quite frankly, as I find the whole concept of soft play or similar on par to perhaps plucking my own eyelashes out one by one...just saying, they ain't this girls happy place. So, off we trotted -gingham pinafore dress on and channeling my inner Von Trapp family vibes (despite the fact we're probably closer to the Adams family, but hey ho).
We made the grueling journey of..all of five minutes, before parking up next to our first crop of choice to flex our eager picking fingers. We hit the sweetcorn and we hit it reasonably hard, not as hard as the strawberries, but hard enough. Truth be told, we didn't really know what we were looking for in terms of the best sweetcorn to pick, I went with my usual motto - the larger the better (behave), Jake had an entirely different "if it comes away easily it's ready" strategy - who am I to judge? Charlie went with the tried and tested "grab and yank" method, so needless to say, after five merry minutes we ended up with enough corn on the sodding cobb to feed the whole blooming Green Giant factory. 'Twas time to move on.
Next up, the ultimate crowd pleaser, everyone's favourite - the British strawberry. Well, sweet mother Mary Magdalene and the baby Jesus these were the sweetest darn things you've ever tasted. Truthfully, the three of us were like kid's in a candy store feverishly fondling and sniffing the vines laden with the most ruby red berries you ever did see. Again, with three sets of picking fingers let loose we ended up with over three kilos of strawberries in about 15 minutes. Not sorry, not one little bit - if I had my time again I'd do it all the same your Honour. It doesn't matter that we will be eating strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next fortnight - it was the best way to spend £20 to amuse a family of three for half a day and I'm sticking to that.
Once we had our fun, wiped the evidence from round our chops and teeth, paid for our loot and made our way home - the good times really began to roll...at least for me they did. The boys lived the high life in the living room, knee deep in Lego, whilst I put my mind to what wonders I was going to create in the kitchen. If I've said it before I'll say it again, when you have fresh seasonal produce to work with - you can pretty much eat them raw from a spoon and you're on to a winner. Charlie boy did just that, with a lightly boiled monster cob, drizzled with butter and speared on sticks, whilst Jake and I had ourselves a little sweet corn sweet berry extravaganza.
Cobb salad, with roast chicken, crispy bacon, blue cheese & buttermilk dressing (courtesy of Mr Oliver) and more than a healthy scattering of fresh corn
Mini strawberry tartlets with creme patisserie, fresh berries and black cherry glaze
Brunch (the following day)
An ode to Sydney - Bill Granger's Corn fritters with tomato, red onion and coriander salsa and avocado slices
The Store Cupboard
Strawberry & Prosecco jam - enough to send you all (as well as your present and future children) a batch for Christmas
Tune into Food this week for all the recipes...but for now I'm checking out and retiring into a strawberry induced slumber with my curly haired true loves. Until next time... sweet(corn) dreams to you my dear friends.