Sweet Basil and Strawberry Shortcake Dessert

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RECIPE BY SAMMY & BELLA (Serves 4)

For the strawberry:

● 500g strawberries (2 punnets), very ripe
● 3 Tbsp caster sugar
● 2 Tbsp sweet basil leaves, plus extra for decorating

For the shortcake:

● 1 cup plain flour
● 1 tsp baking powder
● pinch baking soda
● 1 Tbsp caster sugar
● pinch salt
● ¾ cup thickened cream

For the cream:

● 1 cup thickened cream
● 1 Tbsp caster sugar
● 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

The recipe:

1. Stem the strawberries. Take half the strawberries, chop roughly and place in a large mixing bowl. Crush with a potato masher until it’s a chunky wet pulp. Slice the remaining strawberries neatly and add to the mix, along with sugar. Slice basil leaves and add to the mix, stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 200C fan forced. Sift together plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a large mixing bowl. Add cream and gently stir until it’s just combined. Place mix in a baking paper lined square brownie tin or round cake tin. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, break roughly into inch sized cubes
3. Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
4. Take serving glasses and split half the shortcake amongst them, then top with half the strawberry mix, and half the cream. Repeat with remaining halves. Garnish with a few extra Sweet Basil leaves.

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Tips from Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates

How to grow the ingredients at home…

STRAWBERRIES

Strawberries are easy to grow in a sunny spot on the deck or patio. They also take up hardly any room – you can grow them in a container or a hanging basket. Strawberries have pretty white flowers and the red fruit is very decorative (if you can stop yourself from eating them). You can harvest strawberries within six months of planting new plants.

When to plant: Strawberries can be planted at any time of year, but do best when planted between late autumn and winter.

Strawberry pest watch: Snails and slugs loving chewing into strawberries. I recommend keeping them well mulched with pea and sugar cane straw which helps keep the berries up off the soil. Lightly spray with a snail and slug repellent around the strawberry patch to help attract and kill damaging snails and slugs.

BASIL

Basil has such a rich fragrance and intense flavour and can be used in so many different ways that it’s no wonder it’s one of Australia’s most popular herbs. Why not grow your own bunches of lush green basil?

Sweet Basil is quick and easy to grow and within six weeks you’ll have delicious bowls full of leaves.
Here are the easy how-to steps for growing your very own basil in a pot or planter box:

1. Fill a container at least 30 cm in diameter with a quality potting mix place the pot in a sunny or partly shaded spot. Basil can even be grown on a well lit windowsill
2. Scatter seed over the surface of the potting mix, cover with a 3mm layer of potting mix and then firm down and keep moist.
3. Seedlings will emerge in 10 – 12 days. Keep the pot well watered and feed every week with a liquid fertiliser.
4. Harvest leaves regularly to help promote a continuous supply of delicious basil.

More tips on how to create your own kitchen garden.