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The pick of the berry crop

January 11, 2011

I’m halfway down the street to South Melbourne Market and invariably I can hear the young chaps spruiking their stalls’ bargains. At present it’s the wonderful summer berry fruit and there have certainly been good buys lately.

Some berries tend to be fairly fragile so it really does pay to inspect carefully before purchase. Turn the plastic punnets over and look for any signs of juice, a reliable indicator that the berries have gone past their best. Raspberries can turn fairly quickly. Blueberries are far more robust and last a lot longer. But if you’re planning to eat the softer berries straightaway, the bargain lots are worthwhile.

One of the sons was celebrating his birthday last week so we had a family barbecue and I was contemplating making Eton mess for dessert. However, when it came to the day and I saw that all the berry varieties were looking good, I decided to go for the easy option – berries and ice cream.

I came home with raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and red currants. I hadn’t eaten fresh red currants for years but they were reasonably priced and added a nice little touch of acidity.

The fruit went into a heavy crystal bowl and I sloshed it liberally with Cointreau and refrigerated it, covered, for several hours to let the fruit macerate. It was spooned over scoops of plain vanilla ice cream, given a dusting of icing sugar and whoosh! – all gone in a matter of minutes.

This is also a good time to enjoy berry smoothies. They’re an easy morning pick-me-up and are full of anti-oxidants.

Berry smoothie

1 cup mixed berries
1 scoop fat-reduced ice cream
1/2 cup chilled skimmed milk
sugar if desired

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain if desired. Pour and enjoy.


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