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Eat the Seasons - June 2012


In season this month

Fruit, Nuts & Fungi
Cherrries, Gooseberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Pignuts, St Georges Mushrooms
Vegetables & Herbs

Asparagus, Broad Beans, Carrots, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Peas, Radishes, Rocket, Sorrel, Watercress

Meat & Game
Wood Pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Black Bream, Crab (Spider), Signal Crayfish (Freshwater), Cuttefish, Mackerel, Pollack, Salmon (Wild), Sea Bass, Sea Trout, River Trout (i.e. Brown and Rainbow)

Hot on the heels of Asparagus, English Strawberries are now well and truly in season, they should be at their absolute best in June, bursting with flavour and, if you grow your own ripening at an amazing rate.    With both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Wimbledon to enjoy this month here is a quintessentially English Afternoon Tea classic for you to enjoy!

Home Made Strawberry Jam & Scones

n.b. If you can’t face making your own jam then keep an eye out for some fantastic home made, or cottage industry produce at local Summer Fayres and Open Days.

For the Jam;

Makes about 3kg/6½lbs

 

Ingredients

  • 1.8kg whole strawberries
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1.8kg jam sugar (not to be confused with preserving sugar)
  • knob of butter (optional)

Method:

  • Hull the strawberries and combine them with the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Leave for 1 hour before serving.

  • Wash, drain and hull the fruit and put in a large non-metallic bowl.  Sprinkle over the lemon juice and sugar, gently mix.  Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight.  This helps to keep the strawberries whole.

  • Put a saucer in the freezer.  Tip the fruit and juice into a preserving pan or a 4.5 litre/8 pint heavy based pan.  Heat gently, stirring, to dissolve the sugar (do not allow to boil until it has).
  • Turn up the heat, then boil hard for exactly 4 minutes using a timer.  Take off the heat to test for setting point.  Spoon a little jam onto the cold saucer.  After a couple of minutes gently push your finger through the jam and if the surface wrinkles it is ready. If not, return to the boil for 2 minutes, then re-test.

  • Take off the heat and swirl in the butter – this should dissolve the scum, however if it doesn’t, skim with a slotted spoon (you can .  Cool for 10-15 minutes before potting (if you pot it too soon all the fruit rises to the top).

  • Stir gently to distribute the fruit, then pour into warm sterilised jars.  Put waxed discs on straight away, cover with lids or cellophane circles, then seal, label and wipe the jars.  The jam will keep for 6 months in a cool dry cupboard – unless you’ve got children of course!

For the Scones;

Makes 6-8 good sized scones

 

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz self raising flour
  • 55g/2oz butter
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • ¼ pint of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • for rich scones add 2oz dried fruit
  • for cheese scones add 2oz grated cheese plus a teaspoon of English Mustard Powder and omit sugar

 

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 180C/360F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder and rub in the butter with the fingertips.
  • Mix In the sugar (and dried fruit or cheese and mustard if making the rich or cheese scones).
  • Using a knife stir in the milk to make a soft dough.
  • Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly (be careful not to over-knead).  Roll out to a thickness of about ½ to ¾” (2cm) thick.  Use a 5cm/2” cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet.  Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up. 
  • * You can, if you wish, brush the top of the scones with a very well beaten egg using a pastry brush – this will stop them rising so much and give them a lovely gold amber coloured surface.  Some people prefer the look of a glazed scone – this is always a topic of much debate in our kitchen, so do try both and see which you like best!
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack and serve with butter, your wonderful home made jam and maybe some clotted cream!

Enjoy!