The best part of having bright days, especially on holidays, is that the kids don’t have to be confined indoors all the time…it’s really nice to see them playing in the garden- sometimes skipping, sometimes playing football, sometimes just chasing each other… Every time I join in with them, it makes me realise how much they’ve grown- both physically and mentally…time really does pass by in the flutter of an eyelid…
As for strawberries, the best loved of all the summer fruits in this part of the world, well, what can I say about them… Coming from a place where strawberries are nowhere to be seen, I’ve always wondered about them… The first time I was introduced to them was in those countless fairy tales where the characters, wandering through the woods would pluck berries from the trees. The fairy tales extended to the great works of literature that I came across while I was doing my studies, where this berry found innumerable references…
As I grew up and was more and more interested in the world of sports, I never missed the opportunity to catch up with the television coverages of different sporting events.Wimbledon was one of them…and if it’s Wimbledon, can strawberries and cream be far behind… I remember watching longingly at the spectators, who , apart from enjoying the sun and the game, were equally enjoying their portions of strawberries and cream…
I now know that-
Every year about 27,000 kilos of strawberries are eaten during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, together with 7,000 litres of cream. The popularity of serving strawberries with cream is possibly as old as the event itself.(BBC)
It was only after coming over to the UK that I’ve been actually introduced to this king of berries…
In the UK strawberries are in season between May and September.The Romans were the first to cultivate the crop while the 14th century saw a popularity of growing strawberries in the gardens of French palaces.
As regards the nutrition,
Strawberries were seen as a healthy food as long ago as 200BC, when the Romans cultivated them for their medicinal qualities. They believed the strawberry could bring relief from depression, infections and fevers, as well as ailments of the kidneys, liver and blood. Centuries later, Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of Napoleon, was reputed to bathe in the juice of strawberries for its healing properties.(BBC)
According to modern research,
Strawberries are full of a special substance called ellagic acid which can help fight cancers.They are also full of flavonoids, which form part of the strawberry’s red colour. They are known to help reduce cholesterol from clogging up the heart’s arteries
A little trivia-
Because of its heart shape, the strawberry has long been a symbol of purity, passion and healing, in literature and art through the ages. To signify flawlessness and virtue, medieval stonemasons carved strawberry designs in churches. In the same period, strawberry soup was traditionally served to the bride and groom at their wedding feast. It was also thought that strawberry birthmarks were a sign of royalty.(BBC)
With so much going for it, I strongly agree with the following-
“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.” (Dr. William Butler, 17th Century English Writer)
So much for strawberries…as regards my dish… no, I haven’t gone all out to produce the all too famous strawberries and cream, but an Italian dessert, panna cotta, which is basically prepared by simmering together some cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, before letting it cool until set.(Wiki)
I used fresh ripe strawberries for this. It’s a really quick and simple recipe which came out really nice and provided that nice end to a simple Saturday lunch.
So here goes-
200 gms of fresh ripe strawberries
1 can (405 gms) of condensed milk
3 tblsp fresh cream
1 pack of gelatin(roughly 15 gms)
a handful of fresh strawberries to garnish(optional)
Whisk together the condensed milk and cream.
Add the gelatin to 1/2 C of hot water and when it has cooled down a bit, add to the cream mixture.
Mash about the strawberries and pass them through a sieve to acquire the puree. Save nearly a cup of the puree and add the rest to the prepared mixture and whisk a bit more so that it becomes one whole.
The whole process till now should take about 15 minutes or less!!!
Pour the mixture into individual ramekins and refrigerate until set (roughly 2 hours).
Take out of the refrigerator and run a knife along the sides of the ramekins. Placing a plate on top of each ramekin, flip it over.
To serve, drizzle a little of the remaining puree over each and garnish with slices of fresh strawberries (the latter is purely optional).
It was a really nice dessert. Drizzling it with the puree helped to reduce much of its sweetness. As for the four of us, there were mixed reactions… the kids did not seem to enjoy it that much but on the other hand, Dinesh, who is usually not too keen on desserts, asked for seconds…as for myself, I’m always ready for a sweet treat…sweets are to me what salty snacks are to Dinesh… and with the weather warming, it’s a really cool one…