Hooray for Strawberry Season!! My favourite time of year! I know we can get strawberries pretty much all year round here, with berries being flown in from Africa and Spain, but . . .
Let's be honest here though. They are not a touch on the flavour of a freshly picked home-grown English Strawberry.
The warmth of the sun still resting on it's sweet red flesh and pieces of straw still clinging to it's bright green leaves . . . ok, so you will only get that if you pick your own, but still . . .
A berry that has only just been picked and transported a few miles tastes infinitely better than one that's been flown thousands of miles and held in a cold warehouse for days before it reaches the store shelves!
I just can't get enough of them!! I love them fresh and eaten out of hand . . . sliced and sprinkled with a bit of sugar and then doused in cream, dipped in chocolate, baked into pies and cakes, made into jam, crushed and dolloped on top of fresh scones . . . oh the possibilities are endless!!!
One of my favourite ways is to bake them into this delicious, moist tea bread. (There is no tea in it, that is just what we call a quick bread over in North America. I reckon that's because they go so well with a cup of tea . . . in my case herbal tea . . . Mint tea is lovely with it!)
It smells heavenly when it is baking . . . the cardamom is so sweetly fragrant . . . the lemon drizzle adds just an extra touch of sweetness. All in all it is a real winner. I guarantee!
*Strawberry Cardamom Bread*
Makes one 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf
A deliciously moist bread stogged full of fresh strawberries and glazed with a tangy lemon glaze.
4 ounces unsalted butter ( 1/2 cup)
150g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour, sifted (2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
(remove the seeds from green cardamom pods and grind them
with a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder if you cannot find it already ground)
175g sour cream (1/2 cup) or plain yoghurt
55g toasted walnuts (1/2 cup), coarsley chopped
300g of fresh strawberries, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
For the glaze:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
enough icing sugar to make a drizzable glaze
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter and lightly flour a 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf. Set aside.
Beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix only to combine. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and the nuts.
Spoon into the prepared and bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let stand in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk together the lemon juice and enough icing sugar to make a drizzle glaze. Drizzle over the cake. Let set.
Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread also freezes very well.