Month: May 2011

Summer comes early for British strawberries

Strawberries are arguably the most quintessentially British ingredient and their welcome arrival marks the beginning of summer, usually starting in June. Because of the surprisingly mild Spring we’ve just had, British strawberries have ripened early and some producers’ crops are said to be up 150% this year, compared to usual. The increased heat and sunshine has made our local strawberries particularly sweet and juicy, and the glut has meant prices in the shops have plummeted drastically. Good news for strawberry lovers. Grocers’ shelves are, or will soon be, full to bursting with cheap British strawberries so get out there and make the most of them before they go to waste. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the ‘false fruit’ (ie. not technically a fruit or berry) I particularly like them dipped in balsamic vinegar rather than smothered with cream. It perhaps goes without saying that they are at their best picked ripe and eaten soon afterwards, at room temperature.

They can be made into oodles of different desserts, of course, my favourites would perhaps be homemade strawberry ice cream, chilled strawberry and mint soup, and strawberry, yoghurt and rose delice (I’m happy to supply recipes if anyone’s interested). Try also paired with cucumber, avocado, tomato or goat’s cheese in savoury dishes.       Or, why not try preserving them to be appreciated at a later date?

Strawberry and elderflower jam

1kg strawberries, 500g granulated sugar, 450g jam sugar (with added pectin), 150ml lemon juice, a glug of elderflower cordial and/or a couple of elderflower heads (optional).

Put 200g of the strawberries in a pan with the same amount of sugar and mash to a pulp.

Heat gently until warm, then add the rest of the strawberries.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining sugar and stir gently to dissolve.

Add the lemon juice.

Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 8 minutes until setting point is reached.

Remove from the heat and stir in the elderflower cordial and/or a small handful of elderflowers.

Pour into sterilised jars, seal and use within 12 months.

Did you know…

Strawberries are a member of the rose family, they are rich in vitamin C, manganese and folic acid and are linked with protecting against heart disease, strokes and cancers.


Wine dinner with Grape and Grind

Bishopston Supper Club and Grape & Grind are hosting a couple of special supper evenings on Friday 27th May and Friday 3rd June, both starting at 7.30pm. Darren, from Grape & Grind, has recently attended a supper and has also been providing wine suggestions for the supper club menus. We decided that a supper club/wine dinner would be a great way to show off some lovely food and wine matches.  For those of you who have never attended a supper club before please check out the Bishopston Supper Club page (link above) to see how it all works. The only difference in this case is that a glass of wine would be served to match each course (rather than the usual BYO policy) and the suggested price would be £35 instead of £25. The number of places is limited and on this occasion we request that tickets be purchased through Grape & Grind, in advance.

The menu for May 27th and June 3rd, including the wine matches, is as follows;

Six O’Clock Gin & Tonic

Asparagus, poached egg and sorrel butter sauce – served with Champalou Vouvray 2009

Crab linguine – served with Masseria Pietrosa Verdeca 2009

Salt Marsh lamb with peas, broad beans and mint – served with Clos Fornelli ‘La Robe d’Ange’ 2008

Elderflower jelly – served with La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti ‘Bricco Quaglia’ 2009

Coffee & truffles

Darren will be on hand to tell you a little about each wine, and why he chose them, on the night but please contact him at Grape & Grind if you would like to know any more details, or to book your place.

101 Gloucester road, Bristol, BS7 8AT

Tel.: 0117 9248718



Tart After Dark-Retro Night

Tart After Dark


Best known on the Gloucester Road and beyond for its sumptuous cakes and delicious tarts, Tart continues its series of monthly supper evenings with a 1970s-inspired retro menu.

Tart Retro
Supper Evening
Thursday 26th May

Jennie, Ellen and Andrew invite you to join them as they turn the culinary clock back for the Tart Retro Supper. Andrew puts his own special spin on some famous 70’s classics to create a menu that is inspired by food trends we have known and loved but is simultaneously bang up to date. Using locally sourced ingredients and the finest British produce in season, Andrew and the team have their piping bags, soufflé dishes and doilies* at the ready and a few surprises up their flamboyantly flared sleeves.

Mushroom vol-au-vent
Puff pastry made to Tart’s special recipe filled with button mushrooms, ceps and saucy garlic, cream and parsley.

Seafood cocktail
Crayfish, smoked salmon and prawn salad with rocket, dill, lemon and avocado dressed with Tart’s own cocktail sauce.

For vegetarians:
French onion soup
The classic soup, cooked slowly to develop the characteristic sweet onion flavour and served with Gruyère cheese croutes.

To follow:
Duck à l’Orange
Slices of tender grilled duck breast and confit of duck leg with Port and orange sauce made with a reduction of fresh duck stock, Ruby Port and orange zest served with Duchesse potatoes, peas and Chantenay carrots.

For vegetarians:
Cheese Soufflé
Twice baked goats’ cheese soufflé served with ratatouille and mixed leaves.

To finish:
Black Forest Gateau Classic
Layers of light-as-a-feather chocolate cake, whipped cream, black cherries and chocolate, utterly delicious when made the Tart way and served with another little classic.

*we lied about the doilies
£30 per head including a complimentary drink on arrival

7.30pm for supper at 8pm

To book, please call 0117 924 7628 or email