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Proper strawberries in abundance!

Eton Mess

Yes, imported strawberries on the shelves all year round, but as with most things, they’re not a patch on their in season British cousins. Imported strawbs are picked when under-ripe and hard to ensure they stay intact during transportation, and strawberries do not ripen once picked. This is why British strawberries on the shelves in season are bursting with flavour.

Marc at our West Hampstead store, a chef of 30 years, puts Eton Mess up there in his ‘dishes that have the most meaning to me’ list – it’s the only dessert his mother made and brings back fond memories. What we love about such dishes is the way that do very little to the star of the show, letting it sing. Marc loves the classics – crushed meringues, strawbs, whipped cream and a little vanilla essence. If you’re watching your waistline, try scraping a vanilla pod into some zero fat Greek yoghurt, adding a dash of cream if you want a little richness, and just go easy on the meringue (so sweet you don’t need a tonne), as we have in the picture. The ‘full on indulgence’ feeling may not be there with the lighter option, but the flavours are beautiful, and so refreshing in the sunshine.

Kai Shun Santoku

Meringues are super easy – make them at home – so much nicer.

2 large egg whites
115g white caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 140°C/fan120°C/gas 1.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a large mixing bowl (an electric whisk will save a lot of elbow grease). While whisking, add the caster sugar 1 tbsp at a time until you have a stiff, glossy meringue mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

To make life super easy, use a Bake-O-Glide Macaron/Meringue mat, or line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a metal spoon, drop 4 large dollops of meringue on to the surface, well spaced apart.

Bake for 1¼ hours for mallowy centres, or 1½ hours if you prefer crisper meringues. Note: if you want snow-white meringues, you’ll need to be careful with the temperature (an oven thermometer would be good here). A little over and they’ll go a slightly more caramel colour as in the picture. (They were still delicious with a gooey centre, but if you’re after a white aesthetic…)

Lift off the meringues, cool on a wire rack.



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