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The season of the strawberry- summer recipes for you to try at home

It is officially strawberry season, which means summer is coming. Here, Emily Ashworth talks to Annabel Makin-Jones, owner of Annabel’s Deliciously British, about growing one of the country’s most loved soft fruits sustainably and dishes up some juicy recipes for Farmers Guardian.

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From the moment you step foot on to the premises, you know that Annabel Makin-Jones means business, from hearing about how she sought out some of London’s top buyers to managing what is a very diverse and unique operation.


In Sturton Grange, Leeds, West Yorkshire, Annabel grows strawberries on table tops in a form of coconut matter across 89 hectares (220 acres) – equivalent to the distance from Leeds to London. The preferred variety is malling centenary, ‘the best in the world’, says Annabel, and one which works best with UK growing conditions.


The idea to grow this much-loved soft fruit came after years of trying to make the family farm work, which was once Europe’s largest potato grading site, and the strawberries acted as an infill. Since making the decision in 2004, it has grown even beyond Annabel’s belief, and after years of supplying Morrisons and Aldi, she decided to focus on optimising her strawberries and began to create a premium product.


With sustainability at the forefront of her new idea, a separate line of strawberries was created, Annabel’s Deliciously British, using biodegradable packaging – The Times even listed her brand as number one in its list of the 30 best eco-friendly foods. With a focus on zero waste, she has now also started a line of chutneys which enable her to make use of the whole crop.


Annabel says: “Sustainability is at the very core of my farming. We moved to compostable punnets three years ago and have worked hard to remove plastic from our supply chain. All our water requirements for the crop come from our 25-million-gallon lake and we generate electricity from solar panels. We’ve planted trees and improved our habitat. We’ve introduced beehives to the farm too – protecting pollinators is so important to farming and we’re starting to produce honey on-farm.”


The former Harper Adams student has certainly made a name for herself, managing to secure contracts with leading high street names such as Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, Claridge’s and the Dorchester, plus online giant Ocado and all 28 Booths stores.


As we hit the height of strawberry season, here Annabel shares some of her favourite recipes to try at home.

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Strawberry, elderflower and basil tart



  • For the sweet pastry
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g cold butter (unsalted)
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk


For the elderflower creme patisserie

  • 80g egg yolk
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  • 10g corn flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 25ml elderflower cordial
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 leaf gelatine (soaked in water)
  • To finish
  • 1 punnet of strawberries (finely sliced)
  • 25ml elderflower cordial
  • 50g apricot jam
  • Fresh baby basil leaves

For the pastry

Sieve together the flour and icing sugar

Dice the butter into small cubes and rub together with the flour mix to a fine breadcrumb consistency

Lightly beat the egg, add to the mix and bring together to form the dough (do not overwork the pastry or it will become chewy rather than short)

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes

Dust your work surface with flour and carefully roll out the pastry until 3-4mm thick

Line eight 6cm fluted pastry cases (or one large one) making sure to push the pastry right into the corners of the tins Take a sheet of baking paper, scrunch it up and place on top of the pastry followed by ceramic baking beans (rice or dried chickpeas will also work)

Blind bake the tart cases for about 15 minutes

Remove the beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp

Brush lightly with the remaining egg yolk, as this will seal any small holes in the tart case


For the creme patisserie filling

Whisk together the egg yolk, flours, sugar and cordial

Bring the milk and cream and vanilla to a simmer and pour over the egg mix

Return to the pan and gently cook until the mix begins to thicken – keep tasting as it is essential not to rush the cooking or you will end up with a floury tasting mixture

Once cooked out and thickened, add the gelatine leaf and a pinch of salt

Set the creme patisserie in the cooled tart cases just below the rim


Strawberries and cream sandwich




For the macarons

  • 160g ground almonds
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 120g egg white – separate into two 60g portions
  • 160g caster sugar
  • Red food colouring paste


For the parfait

  • 150g water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g glucose 2 leaves gelatine
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 180g cream
  • 50g clotted cream
  • 100g Fresh strawberries




For the macarons


Sieve together the icing sugar and ground almonds, discarding any large clumps

Mix together with 60g of egg white to form a paste

Whisk the remaining egg white slowly in a stand mixer

In a small saucepan heat the sugar and 20ml of water together

When the sugar reaches 110degC turn the mixer up to full speed to bring the egg whites to soft peaks

Take the sugar to 118degC then slowly pour onto the egg whites, avoiding the whisk

Add the red food colouring to the meringue until a deep red colour is achieved

Fold the meringue together with the almond mix until fully incorporated – the mixture should fall like ribbons off the spatula but do not overwork the mix

Pipe into rounds about 5cm diameter on flat trays lined with silicone

Gently tap the trays on the worktop to remove excess air

Leave to stand for 10 minutes uncovered

Bake in a preheated oven at 170degC for 14 minutes

Slide the silicone off the trays and leave to cool on the worktop


For the parfait


Whisk the cream and clotted cream in a stand mixer to soft peaks

Put to one side in the fridge until needed

Bloom the gelatine in iced water

Whisk the egg yolks in a stand mixer on full speed until light and fluffy – they will more than double in volume

In a pan bring the water, sugar and glucose to 118degC

Pour down the side of the stand mixer onto the egg yolks, avoiding the moving whisk

Keep whisking until cool n Once cooled fold together with the whipped cream mix

Dice the strawberries into small chunks and fold into the mix

Place the mix into metal rings moulds about 5cm in diameter and put in the freezer

Once frozen remove from the rings – apply gentle heat to the ring if struggling to remove

Sandwich together with the macarons

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