Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Asparagus followed by Strawberries

Last night we tried Asparagus in Bed and were both somewhat disappointed. I didn't like the prosciutto with it and Matt said the dish was generally not as good as it appeared from reading the recipe. However, Hrugaar tells me the dish Asparagus and Tomato Bake that I posted on June 13, was good so I will try that next. One thing I learned from the Asparagus in Bed recipe was how to "hold" poached eggs in water until I wanted to use them in the dish. I had never tried this before. I thought the combination of eggs, Parmesan and asparagus was very good but found the prosciutto made it too salt, for my taste anyway.

Now strawberries are becoming available locally, unfortunately I don't find strawberries over here to be anything like the one's we used to get in the Europe years ago. They are not as sweet. The best berries we ever tasted in North America were those we bought at a particular farm in North Carolina, just outside Morehead City. Now they were sweet. I don't think I will be posting lots of recipes for strawberries because basically I like mine 'au naturel' with good cream. I frequently serve them with the Double Devon cream which can be bought in glass jars here. Of course we usually have to sweeten them. The classic dish in North America is Strawberry Shortcake; shh, don't tell anyone, I hate it. Our new Superintendent's wife was telling me, yesterday, she likes strawberry and rhubarb pie which I have never eaten, but the season is so short, I like mine just plain. Rather like lobster, I get it so rarely, I don't want to "muck about" with it. I wanted to try a berry farm which is a fair distance from us, but Matt is beginning to complain about the gas costs to get there. We have been spending a fair bit on gas to get to Tim Barrie's for asparagus and the berry farm I found is even further away.

If you read the comments, Hrugaar said they spend £40 to fill up a small car with gasoline, well, being a Limey he said petrol as I would have done til I emigrated. That, my friends, is close to $90 and that is for, what I have no doubt, is a 4 cyl. vehicle. We are complaining bitterly over here, but Europeans are saying its about time we caught up with them. I do hope you read Elizabeth Moon's letter to her congressman, I feel she really hits the nail on the head. This morning the Americans are talking about offshore drilling in areas which have previously been protected. I don't want to go back to a horse and buggy, but that's really where we should be headed. I commented to Matt, the other day, that I bet the Mennonites and Amish are laughing at our gasoline problems. Let's face it, with a horse, its grass and oats in one end and fertilizer out of the other. Very economical. Yes I know, you need stabling and field space etc. but once you have all that, you don't have to keep buying it. Wherever the expression originated, the oil producers have certainly got us over a barrel at the moment. I know I am oversimplifying, but it is certainly something to think about.

We have to do our bowling on Friday this week as our regular Monday league game is cancelled as the bowling alley will be filled with youngsters. We could just bank our scores for a previous game, but its more fun to actually bowl them. We have a couple of dinner parties coming up, one at a friend's and another one here. I am thinking of doing the Phyllo Bundles again as we enjoyed them so much last time. I need to check our guests like asparagus, surprisingly there are people who don't. As you can imagine, I can't understand that.

I was just thinking about a recipe when I remembered there is one recipe made with strawberries, which I love, Strawberries Romanoff. Here is a recipe from the internet with a little bit of history:

Strawberries Romanoff

When he was the chef at the Carlton Hotel in London, Escoffier created Strawberries Americaine Style — strawberries in orange liqueur, blended into whipped cream and softened ice cream. Little did he know that it would one day be the star dessert of every posh dining spot in California. "Prince" Mike Romanoff "borrowed" the recipe and gave it a new moniker. Soon it was the hottest item on the West Coast. The L.A. Biltmore called it "Strawberries Biltmore." The Palace Hotel in San Francisco served it with anisette and maraschino.

Strawberries Romanoff

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

2 pints strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 cup heavy cream

1. Slice the strawberries. In a large bowl, toss three-quarters of them with the sugar and orange liqueur. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to macerate.

2. Put the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften.

3. Put the cream and half the macerated strawberries in a cold mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, whip to soft peaks, about 12 minutes. Fold in the ice cream.

4. Distribute the cream among 6 chilled bowls. Mix the plain sliced berries with the remaining macerated berries and place on top of the cream.

Have a great day.


  1. Jo - Strawberries are excellent for diet; only 4 calories in a berry. But one wouldn't be able to add the whipped cream (creme chantilly) and the ice cream.

    Our strawberry season is already almost over by the way.

    Did you ever have strawberries and cream at Wimbledon?

  2. Not at Wimbledon Marilyn, but at the Derby and no cream just plain berries. I never did visit Wimbledon.

    I remember in France being served Plougastines (wood strawberries) with Crème Chantilly, it is one of my fondest memories.

    I know the calories or points for most foods, I have been dieting for as long as I can remember. So much so that my body rebels any more.

  3. We still prefer the English varieties of Strawberries (not just because we're English) - our supermarket suppliers grow them in Holland now, as well as in England. They're just tastier and sweeter than the Spanish and Portuguese varieties (which tend to be longer in shape, and darker). We eat them with other fresh fruits, especially with melon, or just by themselves. Definitely no shortcake.

    My friend Caroline in Herefordshire (who lives close to one of the largest strawberry farm areas in the world) serves them by the bucketload with whipped cream and wickedly good home-made meringues.

    Not sure if our car is a 4cyl (how should I know? LOL!)- but it's a Toyota Yaris, one of those small run-around cars, two doors and hatchback. Oh, and I think petrol (gasoline) is still cheaper here on the rock than it is in mainland UK!

  4. Yup a Yaris is a 4 cyl or sub compact. You are lucky if your gas is cheaper than the mainland.

    What about French strawberries, do you get those, they used to be really good. Don't think I have ever had berries from either Spain or Portugal. Or I don't remember eating them when I was in either country. Sucking pig, yes, strawberries, no. Love meringues with anything, especially cream.

  5. you al are so ridiculous with you strawberies !

    i prefer the one from france of course 'la guariguette' is the best without no doubt ! and of course it's coming from south west !

    (just kidding)

  6. Have you ever eaten Plougastines gynie? if not, you should try them if you get a chance.

  7. but what is 'Plougastines' ? I don't have a clue !
    i've never heard about this before you tell me so ? And there is no trace of any plougastines in my google search ! (excepting your blog, the only lonely link for that)? i'm dying curious !!!

  8. They were a tiny wild strawberry from the woods. I was fed on them whilst staying in Paris or its evirons, not quite sure now. This is some 50 odd years ago mind you. They were wonderful and it was the first time I had ever had Crème Chantilly as well.