Strawberries and basil

This is barely a recipe, more of an idea inspired by the positioning of my new vegetable and fruit boxes (roots in the boxes underneath, soft fruits, tomatoes and herbs at the top). I’m sure the combination has been done before too, and just stored away in the recipe file in my brain  But anyway, seeing the punnet of strawberries by the burgeoning basil plant prompted an experiment, and a tasty one it turned out to be.

I’d suggest you start with the quantities below and adjust according to your own taste, and to the sweetness of the strawberries.  I’ve been lucky to get a regular supply of Tiptree’s fruit from Farm Direct which hardly need any sugar at all, and I have been pretty disappointed with almost all the supermarket strawberries I’ve bought, the exception being the very first of the year.  The sugar keeps fine in the fridge for a few days (and probably longer, but I ate the leftovers with the rest of the strawberries before the sugar had a chance to potentially turn brown…).

I’m going to try this herb sugar idea with some other fruits as they come into season.  I’ll let you know how the experimentation goes….

Strawberries in basil sugar
Serves 2
Prep time:10 mins
Maceration time:10 mins

A small handful of basil leaves (I used 16)

2 tbsp sugar (granulated or caster)
A few twists of black pepper
Half a punnet of strawberries, washed

Wash the basil and dry the leaves on kitchen roll. Tear the leaves into a mortar and add the sugar.  Grind the two together into a green slush.  Add a couple of twists of pepper and taste a little bit. Add more sugar if you feel the basil is too overpowering, or more basil if it needs a boost.

Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on their size. Sprinkle with the green sugar and leave for 10 minutes for the sugar to melt a little bit into the juice of the fruit.  After 10 minutes, toss the sugar around in the syrup that’s formed.

I ate mine with Greek yogurt – I think something a bit more astringent than cream is needed, so creme fraiche would also be good, but it’s your pudding, eat it with whatever you like.

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