This year’s crop of British berries is a bumper one, thanks to the wet summer in 2012 followed by this year’s hot, sunny one.
Make the most of this abundance of sweet, juicy berries to create your own fresh, homemade jam. From the UK’s obsession with the Great British Bake Off to Brad Pitt flying to France for his favourite pots of jam, homemade jam is having a moment.
Rosemary Jameson, founder of the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers, is encouraging the UK to take advantage of summer berries and reap their benefits throughout the colder months. She said, “The routine of jam making can be very therapeutic, a great stress relief and a counterpoint to busy modern life”.
There is no end of ways to use it – you can dip into your supply to make jam tarts, Victoria sponges or just spread it on a slice of thick, freshly baked sourdough to warm you up on a cold autumn day. And there’s no need to stop at jam. Served with a strong, hard cheese, homemade chutney is an indulgent autumn treat.
Salt and pepper squid with chili strawberry chutney:
Strawberries aren’t just for jam – experiment and try them in chili chutney, accompanied by salt and pepper squid.
Serves 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Chili and strawberry chutney:
- 3 large mild red chilies, about 40 g (1½ oz) in total, halved, deseeded, finely chopped
- 4 cm (1 ½ inch) piece root ginger, peeled, grated
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roughly crushed
- 450 g (1 lb) strawberries, sliced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 450 g (1 lb) caster sugar
- 150 ml (¼ pint) white wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons corn flour
- 1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper squid:
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) baby squid, cleaned, defrosted if frozen
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, finely crushed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 4 tablespoons corn flour
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 egg white
- Sunflower oil for deep frying
- Little paprika to garnish, optional
- Iceberg lettuce leaves to serve, optional
- Put all the ingredients for the chutney, except the corn flour and water into a medium sized saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring from time to time until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the heat slightly and simmer, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes until the strawberries are soft.
- Mix the corn flour with the water until a smooth paste, stir into the chutney and cook for one minute until thickened and smooth. Leave to cool.
- Remove the tentacles from inside the squid tubes, rinse tentacles and tubes well in cold water, drain and slice the tubes into 1 cm (½ inch) rings.
- Spoon the peppercorns and salt on to a plate, add the corn flour and flour and mix together.
- Fork the egg white on a second plate to break up.
- Half-fill a deep saucepan with oil and heat until the surface begins to shimmer.
- Meanwhile dip a few of the squid rings into the egg white, drain off the excess then toss in the flour.
- Drop one of the rings into the oil, if it bubbles instantly it is ready.
- Lower the flour coated squid into the oil with a draining spoon or frying basket.
- Cook for two-three minutes until the squid is pale golden brown and cooked through, lift out of the oil, drain well and transfer to a second plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Continue dipping the squid slices and tentacles in the flour mix and frying in small batches until it is all cooked.
- Spoon on to fresh squares of kitchen paper or into lettuce leaves set on serving plates, spoon the chutney into small individual dishes, add to plates and serve immediately.
About this post –
Recipe and photo credit by Seasonal Berries