I have probably mentioned innumerable times about how lucky we feel to be living where we are. Fields, farms, bridle paths, and forests, even beaches are all with a fifteen minutes drive. The Suffolk landscape has been the source of inspiration for many an artist, the undulating fields, the beautiful coastlines and the forever changing skyscapes providing enough inspiration.
And amazing skyscapes-
Our area also has some the country’s best cycle paths. In fact, our local high school holds the record for the country, for the most number of children taking their bikes to school.
Of course, you see no high rise buildings or large shopping arcades. There’s just a small supermarket in the centre. What you do see, however, are small farm shops lining the outskirts of the town, selling fresh produce.What you also see, are not people making a mad dash for somewhere with barely a smile. What you do see, are almost the same people, but with a slight nod of the head accompanied by a smile.
I am a city girl, born, brought up, married and so on. I have spent most of my life in the midst of the bustle, noise and grime of a city. But, probably, I am a country girl in some remote corner of my heart. I love the peace and quiet of the countryside. I remember trips to the countryside when we were in India, times when I felt a sense of belonging to the open expanses. I never got “bored” with the quietness and “lack of things to do”.
Of course, a trip to the city, now and then, is much appreciated for the energy that exists in it.
But, again, such trips also make me appreciate the serenity of where we live, even more.
What about yourself ? are you a city or a country person?
By the way, do you remember this post where I showed you those gorgeous strawberries sold on a roadside stall?
We have become it’s regular visitors, lapping up the fresh produce with glee. Everything sold there is has literally been produced behind it. How much more local can you get?
The strawberries from this little shop are to die for- as juicy and sweet as they can be.. We usually end up buying a lot and they disappear in moments.
The following was put together quickly when the need for dessert arose. A very simple fat free sponge was cut up and layered with fresh strawberries and quark ( a virtually fat free soft cheese) , with some chopped almonds stuck on the side.
1/2 C of finely ground sugar
5 tblsp of whole wheat flour(atta)
1 tsp lemon zest
a little oil to brush the pan
200 gms of quark(a virtually fat free soft cheese) or other low fat soft cheese
about 20 strawberries, 10 halved and 10chopped
1/4 C chopped almonds
3-4 tblsp of honey
- Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C. Brush a 11 inch by 9 inch pan with a little oil and line with non stick baking paper.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar till very thick and pale. when the beaters are lifted, they should leave a trail on the surface for a few seconds.
- Rub in the lemon zest into the flour. Very gently ( or you will knock out most of the air from the egg mixture), fold in the flour into the egg mixture, in three batches. Do not over mix.
- Transfer the mixture into the preparted pan and gently, smooth the top, spreading into the corners.
- place the pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre of the cake is springy to the touch.
- Turn the cake onto a wire rack and peel away the baking paper. Cool completely.
- Trim the sides of the cake and cut it into three equal sizes of about 2 and 1/2 inches by 7 inches. Mix together the quark and honey till smooth and keep aside.
- Arrange one piece of cake on a serving plate and spread a little quark on it. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chopped strawberries on top. Spread a little quark on another slice of cake and place it on top of the strawberries, quark side down. Spread some more quark on the side facing up, followed by the rest of the chopped strawberries. spread some quark on the third slice of cake and place it on top of the strawberries. Now cover the top and sides of the whole cake with the remaining quark. Press the almonds around the sides and the strawberry halves on top, cut side downwards.
- Chill the cake for at least an hour and dust the top with a little icing sugar.
There you have it! A cake simple to make, and as great to eat, as it is pretty to look at.
I must mention that the “look” was inspired by a cake from Martha Day. The measurements are mine though. The deliciously sweet strawberries occupied centre stage in this dessert.