There is a time of the year when you know that the last of the winter blues have been shrugged off, the time of the year when the sun radiates a warmth you have not felt for a number of months, and while the rest of the country is being rained on, the sun is shining over Marlborough.
Spring is here and I have been pleasantly surprised, as have the hundreds of people who buy them at the farmers market every Sunday, by the fact that we can buy great-tasting strawberries so early in the season.
In fact, we are one of the first places in New Zealand to be able to purchase these sun-drenched, flavoursome berries. The best thing about strawberries is that one is not enough and with each week that goes by they get better and better. Now, I am not one to gossip, but I have heard that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you'll soon fall in love. In France, strawberries were thought to be an aphrodisiac. A soup made of strawberries, thinned sour cream, borage and powdered sugar is served to newlyweds. Hedgerows hydroponic strawberries are currently available and I know that Jones' outdoor grown strawberries are not far away from being ready. There is a difference in size, taste and flavour and that is part of what makes nature unique. Just like people, fruit comes in all different sizes, shades of colours and intensity of flavours. We take the products nature gives us and we use them for what they are good at now. My favourite way to eat strawberries at this time of the year is to very gently heat them in batter, which makes them taste even better!
Buttermilk Pancakes with Spring Strawberries 4 persons
2 cups Flour
2 T sugar
1 t Baking Powder
½ t Baking Soda
1 ¾ C Buttermilk
3 T Melted butter
1 large punnet of Marlborough Strawberries
1 c Natural Yoghurt
Juice and Rind of 2 lemons
Icing Sugar to sprinkle
In a Medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients twice. Make a well and add whisked eggs, butter and buttermilk. Leave to sit for 15 mins and then add strawberries, do not over mix. Spoon into a lightly greased heavy pan and turn once. Mix Yoghurt and lemon together. Stack onto serving plates and dollop on yoghurt and sprinkle with icing sugar