The good thing about Easter being so late in spring this year is that now, before we blink, it will be summer. Why, I can almost smell strawberries!
SMELL is the operative word here because as much as you can buy strawberries all year round, flown in from the Darkest Peru or grown under plastic with heating and electric light, there is not much point in paying the steep price they carry as they will taste of not much and smell of nothing at all. No – and I say this every year – wait for the real berries grown locally or at least in your native land. Strawberries don’t want to travel. They want to be picked when ripe and eaten immediately afterwards.
So if you manage to curb the craving and wait, you’ll be able to treat yourself to the strawberry and cream cake and wow! that’s some treat indeed. Chalk it down for the Bank Holiday weekend – or bake it straight away, depending on you berry availability.
For dinners this week, something that isn’t lamb or ham would be nice. Post-holiday it’s always good to eat fish; bake a dish of cod and potatoes for instance. Or have a go at less boring ways to cook salmon, like the leaf wrapped salmon parcel or slow roasted with dill sauce. And how about curing your own gravadlax? It’s fantastic; it’s so much better value than shop-bought smoked salmon and it makes you feel so proud: hey, I cure my own fish!
Other dinner hints: maybe chicken rice pilaf or the meatless mushroom version? Or veggie aubergine pasta bake?
I’ve been baking focaccia almost every week recently and I strongly encourage you to give it a go, even if you don’t feel safe near breadmaking at home. Mix the dough the night before – it’s almost a no-knead focaccia – and the next day you have the most wonderful bread ready within just over an hour. I don’t know how well it will go with that home cured salmon in terms of taste but the smugness ratings will rocket.
And if that goes well (it will), try the cheddar beer bread rolls next, or garlic baguettes from scratch. Both are super tasty. And don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter if you haven’t done so yet.