Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reality checks

In a perfect food blogger world, I'd be writing a post about how I bought the strawberries pictured here at the farmers' market, just hours after they had been lovingly picked by the farmer and driven carefully to town, avoiding any bumps in the road so as not to bounce them too much. Or maybe I would even have picked them myself, carefully detaching each jewel-like morsel and placing it ever so gently in the handwoven basket over my arm.

(I might even be wearing a sunbonnet as I did this. And I certainly wouldn't have backache from bending over to try to find the little rascals hiding under their verdant, leafy canopies. No no.)

Back in the real world, what actually happened was this:

I picked up two punnets of strawberries at the supermarket late last week, on a whim, because they were on sale. Then I put them in the fridge and ignored them for about five days. Then I decided to do something with them today so I'd have something to bring to a lunchtime playdate. Then I spent a good 15 minutes hulling them and cutting the, um, less perfect bits off.

All of which brings me to the key point about this recipe: it elevates the somewhat mundane strawberries which are often all that's available to something rather sublime. A useful trick to have up your (unironed) sleeve as one more way to cope with an imperfect world.

Strawberries in dark syrup
adapted from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson
Feel free to fiddle with these proportions to suit your taste: my version uses less sugar than the original because I like a sweet-tart flavor. I start with a scant two tablespoons of sugar per pound of strawberries, and then sweeten based upon the strawberries.

1 lb/450 g strawberries, hulled, cleaned, icky bits removed, and quartered
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp sugar
pinch salt

Put the strawberries in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle the other three ingredients over the surface evenly. Toss gently with a large spoon.

Remove to a container with a lid; cover tightly and let macerate for at least an hour, gently turning the container occasionally if you remember.

If transporting, try to be sure and pick a container that leaks all over the inside of your bag, just in case you need yet another reminder of how imperfect the world really is. Serve with cream (pouring or ice), alongside cake, or just as is.

Serves 2 adults and 2 children. Can easily be multiplied.


Cheryl Arkison said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the start of this. True confessions indeed.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

To quote a much more famous food blogger: "I'm just keeping it real." (With a sunbonnet on.)

Karine said... Best Blogger Tips

I agree with Cheryl: I also love the start of your post.

You also did a great job to use these strawberries!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Karine! I've spent plenty of time strawberry picking, so you'd think I'd know better. But daydreams die hard....

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