This week I’m embracing the good weather and the beginning of Wimbledon with a couple of British summer staples, strawberries and cream and Pimm’s. Both are absolute classics and hardly need to be tampered with, but here I’m trying out slight variations on the originals to keep them fresh while preserving their timeless simplicity.

Photo: James Fox

The perfect marriage of strawberries and cream is said to have been invented by Henry VIII’s right hand man, Cardinal Wolsey. Entertaining hundreds of guests at a time at Hampton Court required a pudding that could be made quickly and in large quantities. Now the quintessential Wimbledon snack, strawberries and cream remains as simple and delicious as ever. In order to add a fresh twist without overcomplicating things, I simply added some lime to the cream. Lightly whip together 150 mls of double cream with the juice of half a lime, a few teaspoons of sugar and grate in the zest. Dollop atop some halved strawberries, and you have a delicious bowl of summery goodness. The garnish of mint is, of course, entirely optional.

For an accompanying drink, I adapted another classic British combo, Pimm’s and lemonade. You normally get these two in a cup along with half a fruit salad, but I decided to cut that and instead took inspiration from another classic cocktail, the Dark and Stormy. Start with the same double measure of Pimm’s, but this time add 20 mls of dark rum, a dash of Angostura bitters and top up with ginger beer and a decent amount of lime juice. The lime stops the drink becoming too sweet and also works superbly with the lime added to the strawberries and cream. Serve in a tall glass with plenty of ice and you have the perfect refreshment for long afternoons in front of the tennis.

Photo: James Fox

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