Saturday, 7 June 2008

Thank you Rhondi!

In my humble opinion, there are few things more evocative of England than strawberries. Put them together with Victoria sponge and softly whipped cream and you have a recipe for Heaven food! And, if you want, you can cheat like mad. Quite a few visitors from Rhondi's party wanted a slice and, as I said before, my Lithuanian friend wanted to learn how to do it so - why don't you join us? I'll try and put some photos in the right order too (enormous thanks to Marlene for your tip on this, and Marie for yours too.)

Strawberry Tart

2LBS english strawberries (or 1lb and a jar of jam)

6oz soft margarine

6oz Caster Sugar

3 medium eggs

6oz self-raising flour

here's the first bit of cheating:

First of all, open a jar of home-made strawberry jam, or the very best you can afford from Asda. OR DO THIS:

Put 1lb of strawberries in a big pan with 100g of sugar. Get your (clean) hands in there and crush it all up. Put it on the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or so, being sure to skim off any foam every few minutes. If you think it looks a bit too runny you can add a dash of lemon juice or mix 2 teaspoons of arrowroot with just enough water to give a runny paste. Pour this into the simmering liquid jam and stir constantly until the jam becomes clear again (as it certainly will using arrowroot). OK, now let it go cold. MEANWHILE............

here's the second bit of cheating:

Remove packaging from a sponge flan case which you've bought from Asda and set it on a flat serving plate. OR DO THIS:

Grease very thoroughly with margarine a fluted 10" flan tin (it has a raised up bit in the middle to give it shape)

Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to fit the raised up bit and put it on
Flour the rest of the tin which only has grease on

Put 6oz margarine (NOT butter) and 6oz caster sugar into the bowl of electric mixer (use a hand mixer if you want).

On a high speed, cream them together, scraping down the sides a couple of times, until the mixture is a very pale colour and doesn't feel 'gritty' from the sugar

Add the 3 eggs. You can beat them up first but it doesn't make much difference if you're using an electric mixer anyway.
Beat thoroughly again. If the mixture starts to separate (like with curdled cream) don't worry. DON'T PANIC! Just add a couple of teaspoons of the measured-out flour and beat and it will all come together again.
Now, passing the flour through a fine sieve, add it to the mixture. All of it at once, no messing about. Hold the sieve as high as you can without the flour getting all over the place. This way you get lots of air into this very light cake.
Now, taking a large METAL spoon, fold in the flour very gently so you retain as much of your precious air as possible.
That's your cake mix! Pour it into the prepared pan - not right up to the top; leave a little space for it to rise.
Bake it in the upper part of the oven for about 25 minutes until it's golden and springy to the touch. It will also be just starting to shrink away from the sides of the pan. I would never test a sponge cake by sticking a skewer or anything in it. If a single finger, when you touch it very gently to the centre of the cake, leaves a mark then the cake needs cooking a few more minutes
Carefully turn it out onto a wire rack and let it go cold.
When cold spread jam (bought or made as abovee) generously over the middle part.
Arrange hulled, halved strawberries neatly all over the jam.
Make up a packet of red Quick-Jel (another cheat) OR: pass some more squashed strawberries through a sieve, add sugar, bring this sweetened strawberry juice to the boil, add a thin paste of arrowroot and water and cook until it thickens and then becomes clear again. Just open a packet!
Whichever you do, spoon it over the strawberries, put the whole thing in the fridge until it's needed to be the piece de resistance on your tea table!
Now get somebody in to do the washing up.
- gleeful chortling - turning somersaults.......I did the pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pardon me that these instructions are so simplistic, I know most of you are ace cooks. I enjoyed writing them for Ingrida and thought I would share them with you! The main thing is that the photos are in the right place!


StitchinByTheLake said...

Angie that looks just delicious - wish I had it here but then the picture would have been of half a cake! What is Asda - a market?

Marie said...

ohh yum Angela! Well done. Great narrative and spectacular blow by blow pictures!!! I am impressed. Was thinking we could use another telephone conversation one of these days. What do you say? I can call you if you like as I have free calls? Let me know!! I am thinking of strawberry cakes and tarts now . . .

Raquel said...

Oh, I can't wait for our strawberries to get ripe!! That looks lovely. I have a strawberry pie that I will be posting later! Mm, Mm good!

Sandra said...

Hi Angie, I`ve just read your last few entries and now I`m really hungry! I`ve said so many times before that your food looks delicious, but strawberries in any shape or form....they are the best! I love your new car AND I like the colour, it`s very tasteful just like it`s new owner. :o)

Love Sandra xxxx
Love Sandra xxxx