At the weekend, I set out in what can only be described as the most torrential rain of the summer. I was off to the Tate Modern to see the Agnes Martin retrospective. Having purchased tickets weeks ago – rains, winds nor floods were going to stop me and it was worth to every soggy-toed minute. Her work, which I had never seen in person – blew me away.
It is ethereal but grounded – it demands attention but also captivates – enveloping you as you stand in front of each uniform square canvas with its seductive textured whites and luminescent heavily brush stroked colors.
Her work is painstakingly precise but achingly flawed – its this human element that gripped me more than anything – the perception of perfection but the reality of the imperfect, the bowed hand drawn lines and such.
On the opening wall were are few words of Martin’s – “beauty is the mystery of life. it is not just in the eye. it is in the mind. it is our positive response to life”
This recipe is about preserving the beauty of summer for just a little bit longer – capturing the strawberries in their best moment, their sweetest – most beautiful – and savoring it for a little longer. Preserving is as much about the moment and the perception of perfection as it is about finding the beauty in the newly created. These pickles have a personality of their own, the sweetness comes through of course but that subtle acidity from the vinegar and a bit of unexpected tang from the peppercorns compound the flavor of the berry so that it truly becomes something else.
Of course I will advocate for using ingredients in the moment, but as you know, sometimes in summer especially, there are just too many materials peaking at exactly the same moment. This recipe is intended to preserve the flavors for a little longer but also prevent anything going to waste.
I have been using the pickled strawberries, and the gorgeous deep pink pickling liquid in a variety of ways. I invite you to create your own flavors with them too.
I whipped a little ricotta with some salt and olive oil and spread it on rye, then I topped it with the sliced pickled strawberries, toasted walnuts and some fresh basil, chives and a drizzle of honey.
I have also mixed the strawberries in with some fresh spinach, cold quinoa, almonds, blueberries and herbs for a lovely salad.
Drizzle the liquid over yogurt in the morning or muesli – the color against the white is heavenly – and reminds me of one of Martin’s paintings with is stark white background and glowy pink stripes.