Winter strawberries have been hitting the supermarket shelves here in Queensland at the low cost of $1 for a 250 g punnet which is the cheapest I can remember them ever being. I just don't know how farmers are making any profit from their strawberry crops at that price, however a strawberry farm yields an enormous number of strawberries so hopefully they are. There have been disturbing reports of farmers ploughing in their strawberry crops down south because they can't get pickers and because it's too costly to send the crop to markets.
Local strawberry farmers around Mackay where I live, such as Sweet As Fresh As and Ballantynes Strawberry Farm have been encouraging the locals and visitors to the region to visit the farm and pick the strawberries themselves which is an enjoyable family activity with lovely benefits.This seems like a great solution for farmers if all of the normal Workplace Health and Safety compliance rules can be overcome. We went strawberry picking at Ballyntynes Farm a couple of years ago, where they also have a very nice cafe serving delicious ice creams, pancakes, jams, cakes all made using their own strawberries naturally. Food waste has become such a global issue, that I hate to think of strawberry crops going to waste. Sweet As Fresh As sell their strawberries at the local market and also from their farm truck during the week on selected days, and many of the locals including me prefer to shop that way.
|My soft cane Dendrobium Orchid just coming into flower|
Don't think that big necessarily means sweet with strawberries though, although it can. Some strawberries are grown more for their durability than their flavour and early Winter crop strawberries can be quite disappointing. Smaller variety strawberries can be often be much sweeter, and I am told that the wild strawberries grown in Europe including the forest strawberries grown in France, the fraises des bois, are among the best in the world.We have a very modest strawberry garden which Mr. HRK planted. They are a small strawberry variety, name unknown to us, and very sweet, and have been producing a small number of strawberries over the last few weeks. Not many make it into the house though as we pick them straight from the vine, still warm from the sun and as ripe as possible and hopefully before the birds and the ants discover them. So I'll continue to buy strawberries to cook with while the prices are low.
Here is my delicious Strawberry Cream Cheese Shortcake recipe for you to enjoy.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Shortcake with Streusel topping
Cooking time 40 minutes
125 g butter, softened
220 g (1 cup) caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra
2 eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
125 g cream cheese, softened
300 g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
375 g strawberries, hulled, halved if large
Whipping cream, Mascarpone, or Warmed custard to serve
50 g chilled butter, cubed
50 g (1/3 cup) plain flour
80 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
N.B. Leave the cream cheese out of the refrigerator overnight, before you plan to make this so that it will soften.
Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C. (fan-forced)
Lightly grease a 4 cm deep, 20 cm x 30 cm (base measurement) baking tray with butter and line with non-stick baking paper
Beat the butter and caster sugar with electric beaters for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add the eggs and beat for 2 minutes.
Add half the softened cream cheese and half the self-raising flour and stir to combine. Add the remaining cream cheese and self-raising flour and gently combine.
Gently fold in 200 g of the strawberries. This is quite a firm dough. Spoon into the prepared tray.
Prepare the crumbly Streusel topping:
Place the butter, plain flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Work the mixture with your fingertips to combine however do not incorporate the butter completely as you need a few lumps for the streusel. Overall it will resemble very coarse breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the streusel over the cake mixture and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Bring the remaining strawberries, extra caster sugar, and 2 tablespoons of water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the strawberries soften but maintain their shape.
Serve the warm shortcake topped with the strawberries and drizzled with warm custard, whipped cream or mascarpone. I served mascarpone with mine which was delicious.
One of the best desserts in strawberry season, esp. when the local varieties are fully ripe. Your blooming orchid looks so beautiful.ReplyDelete
Thanks Angie, this orchid is a really pretty one which was my Mums, so it is really special.Delete
I did a double take a few weeks ago when I saw the price of strawberries! And have been buying lots ever since! :D This looks divine Pauline!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Lorraine, I have been buying lots too, and I finally saved some to bake with. I loved this cake. Take care, PaulineDelete