02 Jun Eat the Seasons June
Supermarket shopping allows us to pick up tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries all year round, but it’s worth waiting for our own seasonal crops to ripen for that real burst of sunshine flavour.
June is one of the most satisfying months in the gardening calendar as the first spring-sown crops are ready to harvest. And if you haven’t grown your own strawberries or tomatoes, seek out your local farm shops or farmers’ markets for the best British seasonal fare.
The family-run Hollam Nurseries in Titchfield has a great farm shop selling seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers. It also operates on a pick your own basis, with Hollam strawberries sold at the strawberry hut and ripe for picking this month. The strawberries and broad beans are followed by raspberries and sunflowers, with sweetcorn arriving last.
Picking season is also in full swing at Steve Harris PYO at Meon-Bye Farm in Titchfield. The small third-generation family farm runs pick your own and also sells juicy, ready picked strawberries from the Black Shed Stall. The season continues up to the end of October when the last of the pumpkins are picked.
A punnet of freshly picked strawberries would go down a treat during National Picnic Week, from June 19-26 – and you can either eat them whole or turn them in to a luscious strawberry jam for National Cream Tea Day on June 24.
For English Wine Week (June 18-26), pick up a bottle of wine from Titchfield Vineyard. Choose from red, white, sparkling and rosé at local stockists The Cork and Cheese in Park Gate or Fareham Wine Cellar. The Festival sparkling white is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and has the heritage of the Hampshire Solent and the local strawberry growing tradition in its bouquet. A bottle of this would also be perfect for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations from June 2 – 5.
Lamb and pork
Strawberries, raspberries, currant, cherries and gooseberries
Broad beans, courgettes, globe artichokes, lettuce, spring onions, tomatoes, radish, spinach, new potatoes, rocket, baby carrots and peas.
Coley, crab, haddock, halibut, langoustine, plaice, pollock, prawns, rainbow trout, shrimp, whelks and wild salmon.
Recipe for the month
Strawberry and elderflower cake
For the strawberries:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the sponges:
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
225g soft margarine
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest one lemon
For the cream filling and topping:
300g crème fraiche
300ml double cream
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
1 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and margarine. Mix until well combined but be careful not to over mix.
Divide evenly between the tins and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes until they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Set aside to cool in their tins for 5 minutes. Run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tins and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
For the filling, beat the crème fraîche until loose. Beat the double cream until it holds its shape but don’t over-beat it. Mix gently and add the lemon zest, elderflower cordial and sugar.
Halve or slice the strawberries depending on their size and add the sugar, lemon and elderflower. Leave to macerate for about 10 minutes.
Fill and decorate the cake on your serving plate as it’s hard to move afterwards. Spread one of the sponges with the elderflower cream and half the strawberries. Put the other sponge on top and spread on the rest of the cream. Carefully spoon on the rest of the strawberries.
Decorate with sprigs of fresh elderflower if desired.