Strawberries & Cream: Wimbledon Recipes

With Wimbledon well under way, there are only two ingredients our weekend recipe could focus on: strawberries and cream. The duo have been synonymous with the competition since 1877, the very first year it was held. At the time, strawberries were the fashionable thing to eat and their season coincided perfectly with the tournament. The organisers only ever serve up Kentish Elsanta strawberries, which are picked the day before they are served. Last year they estimate that they served up 2 million berries along with 1,800 gallons of cream!

So we have two recipes for you today, one for a delicious and delicate strawberry and cream sponge cake with black pepper, and the second for a Wimbledon Cocktail to go with it. The sponge cake comes from a fabulous Brazilian chef named Marcello Tully, who has come to find himself working on the Scottish Isle of Skye, serving up some of the best Scottish food around. You can read more of his amazing story here.

But for now: game, set… munch!

Marcello Tully’s Strawberries & Cream

Pepper sponge

135g of plain flour
135g of caster sugar
5 eggs
2 pinches of Bart black pepper

Lemon curd

4 lemons, unwaxed, juiced and zested
200g of caster sugar
100g of butter, cubed
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Vanilla cream

240ml of double cream
40g of caster sugar
0.5 tsp of Bart vanilla essence

Garnish

200g of strawberries, stems removed and halved, 10 reserved to top the sponge
25g of strawberry jam, combined with 10ml water
icing sugar for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C/gas mark 3. Start with the sponge by whisking the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water until light and fluffy.
  • Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes before gently folding in the flour and pepper. Spread the mix onto a slightly dipped baking tray which has been lined with greaseproof paper and cook for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove, cool and then cut into 8cm rounds using a pastry cutter.
  • In a heatproof bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, caster sugar and butter over a pan of simmering water – make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  • Stir until the butter has melted, then whisk in the eggs and egg yolk. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mix resembles a thick custard. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • For the vanilla cream, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla essence and whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge to cool.
  • To assemble the strawberries and cream, use a high ended 7cm pastry ring and place 1 of the 8cm sponge circles at the base
  • Arrange a few halved strawberries flush inside the ring with the cut-sides facing outwards – this should leave a small gap in the centre, fill this gap with the lemon curd.
  • Next, add the vanilla cream to fill any remaining gaps and cover the top of the strawberries. Place another sponge circle on top of the cream and press down firmly to hold the shape. Repeat this process for each ring and set aside.
  • When almost ready to serve, combine the strawberry jam and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, strain to remove the seeds and keep warm.
  • Remove the rings from the strawberries and cream and place 2 strawberries on top. Glaze with the jam, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Wimbledon Cocktail

1.0 fl. oz. of Creme de Framboise
5 Strawberries
Champagne
1.0 fl. oz. of Double Cream
1.0 fl. oz. of White Rum

Suggested Garnish
Strawberry
Sprig of Mint

Mixing Procedure
Combine Creme de Framboise and Strawberries in a blender, blend, pour into a champagne flute to quarter fill, fill to three quarters with Champagne, stir, pour Double Cream and White Rum into a mixing glass, stir, float on top of the Champagne, garnish with a Strawberry and a Sprig of Mint.

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Royal Ascot: Horse Racing, Champagne & The Queen’s Hat

Royal Ascot is an annual horse race with more pedigree than Red Rum. Dating back to 1711, it is attended every year by a host of British royalty who come to as much out of a sense of tradition as to indulge their gambling habits – one of the Queen Mother’s two great pleasures, the other being gin.

Volume II: The Queen Mother’s Liquor Cabinet!

But with a reputation for hedonism, your average Joe and Jane can have just as much fun. Here’s how the New York Times chose to describe proceedings:

The festival, held every June at Ascot Racecourse west of London, is essentially a five-day party built around top-class horses. Each day starts with a Royal Procession and ends with drunken singing around the bandstand. In between, of course, there are the races — 36 in total, including seven top-level Group 1 contests.

This year promises to be especially raucous because of the Queen’s Jubilee, with organisers erecting over 2.5 miles of bunting and estimating 170,000 bottles of Champagne will be drunk by the 300,000 race-goers over the course of five days!

And while we’re sure all the racing malarkey is jolly good fun, Ladies’ Day is when we pay most attention, as the emphasis switches from horses to fashion. You can even bet on the colour of the Queen’s hat!

Happy Pancake Day (Fat Tuesday)!

Back in Blighty, Fat Tuesday is known as pancake day. Typically understated, it lives up to its name. Simple pancakes made from flour, eggs, milk and a little butter are served with sweet toppings. The most traditional of these is a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sugar. Nothing too sophisticated, but a gorgeous mouthful of sharp, sweet soft pancake.

A national celebration in Britain wouldn’t be complete without an antiquated – and totally bizarre – tradition, and pancake day does not disappoint. Across the country, communities partake in pancake races, completing a course while simultaneously flipping a pancake in a pan. If you don’t believe us, here is a video of the oldest pancake race, held annually in the village of Olney, Buckinghamshire since 1455:

And here’s a recipe for simple British pancakes from one of our all-time food heroes, and undisputed queen of British home cooking, Delia Smith. It is taken from BBC Food. Remember, the race is optional!

If you’re having pancakes at home today, please send us your pics!

Simple Pancakes

Ingredients

For the pancake mixture
To serve

Preparation method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – any sort of whisk or even a fork will do – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
  2. Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.
  3. Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you’re using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It’s also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a few seconds only – then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
  4. Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
  5. To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

Conkers: A British Fall tradition!

Despite this strange summer-like weather we NYC inhabitants are experiencing, we have it on good authority that Blighty is undergoing a Fall (or, Autumn), of classic proportions – the turning of the leaves, the crisp chill in the air, and all that. For time immemorial, this changing of the seasons has meant one thing for British children (and some adults): conkers!

Conkers fresh from the shell.

Conkers are the fruit of the horse-chestnut tree. Hard and shiny, they are attractive objects in their own right but seem to hold little opportunity for fun and games. Not until British schoolchildren came along! Ever-innovative in the face of a culture beset by frugality and tradition (see: spinning tops, jumping jacks, and paddle ball), they had the cunning to drill a hole through the rock hard little nuts, that lay with abundance and for free across the ground, and stick a string through it.

Take aim

They now were equipped with a weapon of sorts and the premise for a conflict – hit each others’ conkers with your conker! Easy-peasy, the first conker to break lost! A yearly gauntlet was laid – who would have the unbeatable champion conker of the Fall. In pursuit of this title, children went to great ends, swearing by a plethora of different measures to harden up their little fighter: soak in vinegar, bake in the oven, or cover in varnish.

There can only ever be one winner... This may end in tears

Played to the day in schoolyards, playgrounds and parks across Britain, this is a true Fall tradition. Horse-chestnut trees can be found across the US in wooded areas. If you’re lucky enough to come across one of the spiny little kernels, make sure to pick it up. Now you’ll just need, a drill, some string and a worthy competitor!

Sunday Roast!

A blogpost on Sunday? Are you flipping joking?! We’re at home enjoying our Sunday Roast and you should be too. If we hadn’t had a glass or two too many of red wine and weren’t snoozing in front of reruns of some great British comedy, we’d probably tell you about what a joyous, soul-warming, family-orientated meal this is, rooted deep in the days of British history when meat was a luxury and a week’s hard work out on the fields made it taste all the better. If there’s one rebuttal to the argument that Brits don’t care about food, this is it. So join us, or order in. We serve beef, chicken or lamb with Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings, and will deliver the lot. You can order online or give us a call on (212) 989-9735. Now let’s mention what day it is tomorrow…