Strawberries! Quiiiick! Get 'em while you can! Get 'em while they're cheap! Get 'em while they're Scottish!
This is my August shopping mantra. For soon it shall be autumnal and dull and appleish, unless you want strawberries flown in from Guatemala at 70 pence per berry. So right now I'm shoving them into smoothies and salads and cereal and clinging onto summer even though it's pishing doon with rain outside.
My favourite ode to strawberries is Eton Mess. From the Wikipedia:
"Eton mess is a dessert of English origin consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual prize-giving celebration picnic on the 'Fourth of June' … One anecdotal story is that the dessert was invented when a Labrador accidentally sat on a picnic basket in the back of a car on the way to a picnic."
Eton mess is basically a mangled pavlova, but with much less faffing. You take just three ingredients – strawberries, meringue and cream – and mix them all together to create a sweet, summery, chewy, delicious… mess. It's also relatively healthy on the dessert spectrum if you make a few tweaks.
1. The strawberries
A couple of handfuls per person. Slice half of them into large chunks and finely chop the others. This way you get nice bitey bits and plenty of smushy juices to seep into the other ingredients.
2. The creamy stuff
I use 2% Total Greek yogurt – a cupful per person. It's just as thick as the traditional whipped cream but obviously a helluva lot better for you. The slight tartness balances the mighty sweetness of the meringues. Many recipes add some sugar to the cream at this point, but you don't need it.
3. The meringues
Meringues are handy buggers to know if you want to make a lower calorie pud. And they're allegedly easy to make yourself – just egg whites and sugar, right? Ho ho ho. My last attempt looked and felt like "a plastic dog turd from a joke shop" so I buy them from the supermarket.
(Aside to Edinburghites: you could totally ponce this up with meringues from Valvona and Crolla – £2 each but they're HUGE and crisp on the outside and gooey in the guts! Rhi found 'em on her last visit. Hubba hubba.)
Here I used some mini ones from ASDA that were only 15 calories each. I used three per serve. Crumble them into a bowl with the strawberries. Plop on then Greek yogurt, then fold it all together.
Spoon your Messes into a glass and take a photograph. Be sure to focus on the toaster in the background, so the Mess looks even more messy and indistinct.
Now tuck in a spoon while shouting, "Hurrah!" or "Top banana, old chap" or some other jolly crap that you might imagine blokes at Eton would say.
Eton Mess also works well with raspberries and other easily pulverised fruits. This tasty version has just 170 calories per serve. And only 340 calories if you accidentally eat two.