What does the start of season mean to you?
I would very much describe myself as a strawberry-loving cook and to me English summers spell out the start of the British berry season. I’m like a greyhound out of a starting gate to get my hands on our home grown fruit and maximising on the season.
What do you enjoy most about the British strawberry season?
I think all of us Brits have an affinity with strawberries for a number of reasons: they’re beautiful and engaging to look at; and then once you pop them in your mouth they’re just so sweet, juicy and delicious. There is something very British about our strawberries – they’re a British emblem in themselves and this year, the warm weather also means that the strawberries taste sweeter.
What was the inspiration behind each of your recipes for Seasonal Berries?
I’ve created a creamy and mild Strawberry and Milk Jelly for the child in me. For a simple recipe this dessert holds certain decadence and the soft pink hues mean it will look beautiful at the dining table.
British berries are one of our great treasures and for me, my traditional British Summer Pudding just sums up an English summer. Nothing can better the flavour of fresh British berries ripened naturally in summer sunshine and with its vibrant pink colour, this dessert looks stunning too.
What inspires you to create fresh new recipe ideas?
I love a timeless classic and find inspiration in the constant search for the new and a healthy respect for bringing back the old or forgotten.
What is your favourite way to eat berries?
Most of the time I prefer fresh strawberries but I also love berries in a pudding. My tip for making the most of this year’s bumper crop is to eat as many as you can while they’re in season. Strawberries are delicious on their own, but with so many available this year – be adventurous so that you’re not always eating them in the same way and try them in desserts or salads. That’s why I have created a classic Strawberry and Milk Jelly – and summer isn’t anything without a traditional British Summer Pudding.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on a new TV series with Alan Titchmarsh and I am writing a new book called The Good Table being published in September by Mitchell Beazley.
Do you have anything else that you would like to add about berries?