The Main Menu: Ontario strawberries perfect for a breakfast in the garden

Fresh Ontario strawberries will make the perfect addition to a breakfast in the garden this month.


Early morning, bird song, sun coming up and flooding the sky with a warm pink glow. Finally, its time. Time to have breakfast in the garden.

A long waited for moment, complete with the first, luscious, juicy, sweet Ontario strawberries. This is paradise!


Lily Levitt Keisler has kindly sent me her recipe for granola which I believe is the best ever.

It is all that more enjoyable when served with our own Ontario strawberries and yogurt for a sublime summer breakfast! However, as later fruits become abundant: blueberries, raspberries, plums, peaches and melons, serve them too.

In addition to breakfast, this granola is delicious sprinkled over a green salad. It is also a welcome ingredient to a fruit crisp topping or simply to munch as a treat! Keep a batch on hand for sweet additions to recipes.

3 cups (750 mL) large flake oats
1 cup (250 mL) shelled pistachios or natural almonds
1 cup (250 mL) flaked coconut or substitute another nut
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) pure maple syrup NOT table syrup
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil or olive oil
2/3 cup (150 mL) dried sour cherries or substitute other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.

In a bowl, stir together oats, nuts and coconut.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt sugar, maple syrup and oil together until everything is well blended and melted.

Pour hot syrup over dry mixture and stir to combine well.

Sprinkle mixture evenly over prepared baking sheet and bake 30 to 40 minutes stirring once or twice to brown evenly. Cool on rack; stir in cherries and/or raisins or other dried fruits. For long storage, granola may be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes about 6 cups (1.5L)

Tea Scones

On a recent trip to England, I had the pleasure of having scones hot from the oven with clotted cream and jams served in a glorious garden. The setting and the scones were outstanding!

I can think of only one thing to make them more perfect and that is fresh sliced Ontario strawberries. I bought my first batch of berries yesterday and plan on serving them this afternoon with scones and a cup of tea in the garden.

Here for your enjoyment is an English scone recipe using self-raising flour.

Please note, self-raising flour is found in supermarkets beside all -purpose flour. Self-raising flour is cake and pastry flour with salt and baking powder added. It is a more tender flour than all-purpose flour which, as the name suggests can be used for all baking, but self- raising produces a more tender, lighter product good for cakes and cookies.

3 cups (750 mL) self-raising flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup (175 mL) milk
1/4¼cup (50mL) plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar (topping)

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put aside.


Tip: To measure flour accurately, use a dry measure and spoon flour into measuring cup leveling it with a straight edge such as a knife. This way you do not compact the flour and get more than you need which makes a dry product. Add flour to mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar and baking powder; combining well.

In a liquid measuring cup, add the egg, milk and yogurt stirring with a fork.

Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the egg-milk mixture reserving about 1 tbsp liquid to brush on top of the scones.

Using a spatula, combine flour and milk mixture to make a dough, kneading dough 6 to 8 times to make a smooth dough then turn onto a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper; pat into a 1 inch (2.5 cm) high rectangle.

Using a 2- inch (10 cm) cookie cutter or a glass cut out about 12 dough circles cutting out close together. Re-roll scraps. Place scones about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheet. Using pastry brush, brush tops with reserved egg-milk mixture; sprinkle lightly with remaining granulated sugar.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until a deep brown on bottom and light golden on top. Remove to cooling rack.

Slice horizontally, butter (if desired) and serve with whipped cream or clotted cream and fresh sliced, lightly sweetened strawberries. Makes 10 to 12 scones.

Best made and served warm from the oven. Leftovers may be frozen.

Whipped Cream

Use 35 per cent whipping cream cold from the refrigerator and beat with an electric mixer or a whisk (with plenty of muscle) to whip the cream.

2 cups (500 mL) 35 % cream
1/4 cup (50 mL) sifted icing sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

In a deep mixing bowl (such as a 750 mL yogurt container) pour in whipping cream. Put whisk or beaters into cream then turn beaters on increasing speed and whip on high until peaks form then gradually add icing sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form, that is you can turn the container upside down and the cream stays in.

You now have whipped cream ready for spooning onto scones (also doubles as cake frosting). It will keep covered and refrigerated for about an hour. Makes about 3 cups (750 mL).

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