Milk. I’ve always loved the stuff. From the little glass bottles with rusks at playtime and to my adult remedy for sleeplessness straight from the bottle lit by the glow of the fridge in a dark kitchen. Years ago, on a work trip to Holland, the full day meeting was paused a 2pm for a milk break. It’s quite common there it seems. Serious, be-suited ad executives stopped to glug down a glass of milk blissfully unaware of the ensuing moustache for much for the rest of the meeting. There’s something infantilising about milk, something nostalgic. And anything that takes me back to my childhood is a winner with me.

But it has to be proper. Full fat. Organic. Un-homogenised. British cows. Preferably delivered in glass. I want bucolic idylls behind my milk, not preventative antibiotics and commodity markets. Fortunately, we have Nell’s Dairy nearby which produces whole organic milk from the most charming Guernsey cows (long eyelashes – that’s what makes them so endearing).

With my weakness for nostalgia and for milk, they had me at hello what with their beautiful golden cows, their glass bottles and their wonderfully quaint self service machines dotted around the Cotswolds (buy a glass bottle from the vending machine and fill it up from the neighbouring chilled auto-udder – genius).

I’m a regular buyer anyway, but this week they’ve sent me some additional bottles so I can try a few recipes out – good rich whole milk is infinitely better for cooking with than supermarket semi-skimmed. Here’s my favourite recipe, which helpfully also uses much of the current strawberry glut and is perfect for serving whilst watching Wimbledon.

Strawberry Milk Jelly

You will need:

  • approx. 1kg strawberries
  • 5 tbsp caster sugar
  • 13 leaves of gelatine (I use Costa)
  • 750ml whole, organic, un-homogenised milk

Enough for a 1kg jelly mould.

Hull and halve the strawberries Place them in a glass or metal bowl and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of caster sugar. Pop the bowl over a pan of just simmering water and cover the bowl with cling film. Make sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the strawberry pan or you’ll boil them. Leave on a low heat for about 1 hour. This will draw the juices out of the fruit but leave the flesh behind giving a rich but clear juice. Sieve the strawberries, retaining the juice and discarding the strawberry flesh (nope, I’m sorry, there’s nothing to be done with them, they taste full of tannins and aren’t even good for a puree). You should have 250ml of juice, but top it up with hot water if you’re short.

Whilst the strawberry juice is still hot, soak 3 leaves of gelatine in cold water until they are soft, squeeze them of the excess water then add to the juice and stir until dissolved.

Very lightly butter your Gran’s glass jelly mould (for maximum nostalgia you understand) and pour the liquid into a mould. Refrigerate until set.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and 3 tbsp of sugar in a pan until it begins to steam. Remove from the heat, soak the remaining 10 leaves of gelatine in cold water until they are soft then add them to the milk as before. Cool to room temperature.

Once the first layer of strawberry jelly is set, pour the milk jelly on top and return to to the fridge to set.

When you’re ready to serve, dip the mould in hot water and tip it onto a serving plate. Say a little prayer, giggle it around and, with luck, it will plop out onto the plate.

Serve with ice-cream and maybe some fresh strawberries if you’re feeling grown up.

(Disclaimer – Nell’s Dairy send me some free milk to see if I wanted to include it in a recipe somewhere. They haven’t paid me to say nice things, but I’m a regular buyer anyway and I just like cooking with it.)