Saturday, June 4, 2011


Strawberries from the garden.
At breakfast time, I take my basket and clamber down the embankment to the strawberry patch, picking just enough of the juicy red berries to eat right away. With a big dollop of yoghurt, the fruit is such a delight.

I’ve only got about a dozen plants, so don’t get much more than one serving every other day. Next year I’m going to dig in a lot of manure and see if they produce more.

My home-grown strawberries, of varying sizes, may not be as gorgeous as the huge ones in the market, but, straight from the garden, they are sweet and juicy.
Strawberries at Barcelona's Boqueria market.

I like my strawberries plain and simple. But if there are guests, I might make an instant strawberry short cake, using magdalenas purchased at the village bakery and Greek yoghurt instead of whipped cream.

Magdalenas are small, lemon-scented sponge cakes, somewhere between a cupcake and a muffin. They are related to French madeleines, but the Spanish version, said  to have originated with the Magdalen nuns, is made with oil, not butter. Serve magdalenas with breakfast (delicious dunked in coffee) and with afternoon tea. Or, split them and use as a base for sliced fruit.


Makes 20 cupcakes.

3 eggs at room temperature
1 ¼ cup (150 g) flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (150 ml) olive or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Have ready small (2 ½-inch) paper muffin cups, lightly oiled, on a baking tray.

Before cracking the eggs, place them in hot tap water to warm slightly (helps to increase volume). Sift together the flour and baking powder. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 10 minutes until the eggs increase in volume. Stir in the lemon zest, then fold in the flour. Stir in the oil.

Fill the paper cups two-thirds full of batter. Bake until the cakes are golden, about 15 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this recipe! I first got to know magdalenas, and only later madeleines, much like palmeras and palmiers. I have some madeleine (or magdalena!) pans that I need to use more often, so this is great.