I have a thing for eating seasonally. The whole grow what you eat/ care for the planet/ hug bunny rabbits bit really resonates. But blimey, two-thirds through winter I just can’t face another apple or pear. When shops obligingly start selling strawberries, I rejoice. I don’t care if they’re hothouse numbers. I don’t particularly care if a million litres of fuel was used to fly them all the way here from Spain (sorry). I just care that they’re not apples. If they’re cheapish too boot, I shamelessly abandon my earth mother pretensions and buy, buy, buy. You can’t really top strawberries with cream. I enjoy them enormously – next to the pool in my bikini (you don’t want to know) when it’s 30°C out, not in August when it’s less than half that. The quandary. So I had a bit of a ponder and decided, why not give them a warm crumble blankie? Soft, cold strawberries with their promise of summer around the corner, the contrasting crunch of warm crumble, topped off with the velvety smoothness of extra thick cream made really special with vanilla.

All you need is…

500g fresh strawberries
250ml extra thick cream (Woolies stocks it)
3 tbs castor sugar
1 vanilla pod
80g ice cold butter, cut in small blocks
60g rolled oats
60g cake flour
25g brown sugar
25g white sugar
¼ tsp ginger

Preheat your oven to 170°C. Wash and quarter the strawberries. Place in a large bowl and add 2 tbs castor sugar. Set aside. Place the butter, oats, flour, white and brown sugar and powdered ginger in a large bowl. Rub the mixture with the tips of your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs (If you have a food processor, blitz the lot in that. It’s so much faster.) Place the crumbs on a baking tray lined with baking paper. I like making slightly bigger crumble lumps by squeezing bits of the mixture in my hands. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. In the meantime mix your cream with 1 tbs castor sugar. Cut open the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add those to the cream as well. Serve the strawberries topped with the warm crumble and a generous dollop of the cream.

serves

4

prep

20 min

cook

25 min

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good to know

Home-made vanilla sugar

Once you’ve scraped out all the seeds, don’t discard the vanilla pod. Place it in a bottle with sugar or castor sugar and seal tightly. Over time, a gentle vanilla flavour will infuse the sugar. Most large supermarkets stock vanilla pods these days, but if you can’t find any, you can also use Nomu’s vanilla paste in the cream. Just don’t even think of using cheap vanilla essence (the kind our grans bought in bulk to bake with) to flavour the cream. It’s totally synthetic and about as close to vanilla as I am to being the world’s next hot supermodel.

enjoy with

In my book, strawberries always beg for champagne. We make loads of exceptional champagne-style, bottle-fermented bubblies. Only we can’t call it champagne, as that will cause a fairly serious diplomatic incident with France.

Our version of these magical bubbles is called MCC (Méthode Cap Classique).

Try Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel Rosé. With delicate rose on the nose and strawberry on the palette, it’s a delight. And of course, it’s pink.

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Rosé

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