It’s summer, it’s Scotland and of course it’s bloody raining (yet again). Quite frankly I (along with the rest of the population here) am sick and tired of it. Grey skies and winter woolies do not a summer make.
Fabulous summer goodies like strawberries and basil do though. So here is my strawberry and basil vinegar to cheer up all those in the rain, and add even more sunshine to those lucky enough to live elsewhere!
I’ve been getting back into my kitchen crafting again of late. In fact the kitchen has become a bit of an assault course to anyone dropping in, as there are bottles and jars everywhere, sticky patches on the floor no matter how many times I get the mop out and the little compost bin constantly groaning under the weight of fruit and veggie ends and the odd disaster too. At least it is warm in here with the Aga blasting out heat as yet more jams and chutneys bubble away sending clouds of mouth-watering scents around the house.
Todays recipe doesn’t need any cooking at all. It is simplicity itself and is really just a case of bringing together fabulous flavours and letting old mother time do the work for you.
Strawberries are everywhere just now, even the crop in my garden are doing well and when you pop into the shops the shelves are packed with them at low, low prices. Now is the time to grab a bargain and get using these gorgeous beauties to savour over the winter months when those really tasty berries of summer are but a memory.
Basil makes a great dancing partner for strawberries, the gentle peppery taste lists their sweetness to new levels and allows their true flavour to really shine. I’ve used this combo in jam and I also sprinkle basil infused sugar on a bowl of strawberries to make a quick dessert for any day of the week.
Bringing them together in a vinegar gives you something that can be used both on savoury salads (especially one with chicken) and on simple fruit based salads too.
I’ve used the old-fashioned jar method here which just means that you want to fill your jar with about a cup of fresh strawberries that have been rinsed and hulled and chopped up a little with a handful of fresh basil leaves lightly crushed to release their flavourful oils and two cups of white wine vinegar.
All you do then is pop on the lid and set it aside in a cool dark cupboard for a week to let those flavours mingle and blend into a tasty treat.
Drain this through a sieve lined with a double layer of either kitchen roll or muslin and pour the resulting pink perfection into a sterilised bottle.
You can do this recipe much quicker if you really don’t have the time to wait a week by simply heating the vinegar (do not boil) and pouring it over the other ingredients in a jug. Leave for 30 minutes and then drain. Yes it’s quick but I far prefer the old-fashioned way every time.
I’m off to the Edinburgh Foodies Festival this weekend where I will be doing demos every day in the Tasting Theatre. If you are in the area please come and say hullo. I’ll be making my strawberry and lavender gin, flavoured butters, pestos and of course oils and vinegars too.
- 1 cup strawberries
- handfull of basil leaves
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- Rinse and hull the strawberries and cut into halves or quarters depending on size
- Put these into a sterilised jar and add the basil leaves, remember to rough them up a bit and tear them to release their oils
- Add the white wine vinegar, cover the jar and set aside in a cool dark place for 1 week to infuse
- Strain through a double layer of either kitchen roll or muslin and pour into a sterilised bottle
- Use on veggie salads and fruit salads too, wonderful with chicken.