Monday, 10 July 2017

Poached Peaches with Ginger, Lemon & Cardamom

Apricots, strawberries, peaches, cherries, raspberries are all abundant at the moment and we've been ordering them by the box load at Cook House. The window between not ripe and overripe can be small, sometimes overnight on a hot day... Remember those, we had a few before we hit monsoon season...

We're pickling cherries by the bucketload, using a Diana Henry recipe with vinegar, sugar, cloves, black pepper and juniper, they are totally delicious with cheese... I want to keep plenty for autumn however as I think they will be brilliant with some autumn game; duck, venison, pigeon... The syrup even has a use when the cherries have all been eaten, a splash of soda and you have yourself a brilliant cherryade! Add gin at your own discretion... 

I've been poaching the apricots and peaches, to serve with a cardamom panna cotta and also with yoghurt and granola for breakfast. I love the flavour of both and I think poaching them really brings it out, it's like that peak ripeness that you get for 5 minutes extended into something that keeps for a while. It also takes me back to those tins of fruit that my granny used to serve with ice-cream and a wafer. I always liked the peach, the bright red cherries were the best, and I staunchly avoided the gritty white bits which I guess were pear perhaps? 

I've been poaching them in a 1 part sugar 3 parts water syrup, it isn't overly sweet, I prefer it this way as I want to taste the fruit not a sugary sweet syrup, but if it is not sweet enough for you just increase the amount of sugar.

Take 400g sugar and add to a pan with 1.2litres of water and heat to dissolve. I've added a few different flavourings, I really like a bit of fresh ginger, if the peaches are quite ripe they need a bit of lemon and today I added 2 bashed pods of cardamom. Other ideas I might try are rosemary, juniper, thyme, pepper, star anise, fennel seeds...

I added 1 lemon, the juice squeezed in and the squeezed halves added in too, 6 or 7 slices of fresh ginger and 2 bashed pods of cardamom. Simmer this for 5 minutes, then add the peaches. I used 6 large peaches cut into quarters with the stones removed. Simmer the peaches gently for between 5 and 10 minutes, until soft. It will depend on how ripe they are to start, it's better to be a bit under cooked as they can fall apart when overcooked. The skins will fall away as they cook, just pull them off. Cool them in the syrup and keep them in the fridge.

They are delicious with yoghurt for breakfast, or with a bit of thick cream for pudding. I've been serving them on top of a cardamom panna cotta too which is bloody lovely!

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x