Stuart Forman, award-winning head chef at The Manor Arms, Abberley, loves the summery taste of strawberries

To get the very best from these luscious fruits, it’s important to make sure they are super fresh. I’d suggest pick-your-own, or strawberries in season at farmers’ markets, that way you know they are fresh.

Also, they are less likely to have been grown purely for high cropping rates, rather than taste. Try to PYO on a sunny day too, as the rain will dampen the richness of the flavour.

Strawberries, as we all know, are gorgeous with cream, but they are very versatile and have a great flavour when poached. Just cook them very gently in a little caster sugar – the juice will slowly seep out and the strawberries will poach in the juice.

Strawberry jam is a perennial favourite, and it’s perfect with scones for a traditional cream tea. The only problem is that strawberries are low in pectin, so setting can be a problem. I’d advise adding a small amount of apple or gooseberry to help with the setting process.

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Wild strawberries punch above their weight in terms of flavour. They may be tiny, but the taste is intense. Even though they are ‘wild’, it’s possible to grow them in less cultivated areas of the garden. Areas like this are also good for wildlife, and mean less maintenance – so it’s win/win!

The recipe below makes great use of strawberries at the height of their flavour.

Strawberry and mascarpone cheesecake

For the base

100g digestive biscuits

75g unsalted butter


Place the digestive biscuits in a bowl and using the end of a rolling pin crush into biscuit crumbs. Melt the butter and mix into the biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into a flan tin and put it into the fridge to set.

Cheesecake mix

250g mascarpone cheese

125g ripe strawberries

125mls double cream

60g caster sugar


Hull the strawberries and mash them with a potato masher or fork. Mix the strawberry pulp with the mascarpone.

Whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks and fold into the mascarpone mix. Spoon the mix into the flan case or mould and refrigerate for three to four hours.

Decorate with fresh strawberries and serve with yogurt, cream or ice cream.