Some food combinations just work; bacon and eggs, beetroot with orange, chocolate and vanilla.
Peaches work very well with many flavours both sweet and savoury.
I particularly like them with pork or with slightly spicy chicken.
Their intense fruitiness cuts through salt flavours very well.
This is the perfect time of year to buy them, they are soft to touch and smell of summers warmer than ours.
Slicing the peaches from the stone and heating the slices in a little melted butter and honey is a quick way to create a desert.
I then serve them with whipped cream or natural yogurt and some toasted nuts on top.
The art of preserving and pickling goes back centuries, in ancient Greece Aristotle praised the healing effects of pickled cucumbers.
These methods of preserving were used to extend the life of vegetables far beyond their natural growing season.
Like jams and marmalades, their sweet counterparts, chutneys and pickles help to build up a store cupboard for later use.
They can be spooned into a sauces when a little more depth is needed, or they can be used to dress up a cheese board after dinner.
A few hours spent chopping and working hard to create a beautiful bounty will allow you taste the sweetness of peaches throughout the year ahead.
The chutney recipe has a little Thai fish sauce added which may seem like an unusual ingredient, but it adds a nice salty back note to the final result and the flavour blends in very well.
You can omit it if you are vegetarian or if you do not have some.
As with most chutneys the flavours will blend and improve after a week or so in the jar.
The peach cake recipe that is included here is for a square cake that I usually cut into fingers.
I tend to use slightly hard peaches in the recipe, as soft ones can end up a bit mushy.
The slices keep well overnight in an airtight container but it is best to try and eat the cake on the day it is baked.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND
10 peaches, stoned and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, peeled n roughly chopped
4 medium red onions, peeled and finely sliced
a bunch of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp of fennel seeds
125ml of white wine vinegar
200g of brown sugar
2 tsp of Thai fish sauce
zest of 1 lemon and then the lemon, thinly sliced
Put everything except the sugar into an ovenproof dish and mix well.
Place into the oven and roast for an hour then add your sugar and seasoning and cook for another 30-40 minutes.
Gently pour the chutney into sterlised jars.
200g of butter
190g of golden brown sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
150g of spelt flour
2 tsp of baking powder
100g of ground almonds
450g of chopped peaches, de-stoned
a handful of slivered almonds
an extra 1 tbs of sugar
Set oven to 180 degrees and line a 9-inch square tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Mix the eggs in slowly.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients and add to the mixture.
Do not over mix or cake will be heavy.
Spread into lined tin and scatter the peaches on top.
Sprinkle with the slivered almonds and shake over the extra sugar. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on top and baked through.
QUICK MID-WEEK MEALS
Rice for four
a dash of olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 large pork chops
4 peaches, de-stoned and chopped
½ tbs of honey
a bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk and finely chopped
150 mls of cream
Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion until it is turning translucent, then add the garlic and fry for another minute.
Scoop the contents from the pan and set aside.
Sprinkle the chops with seasoning and fry on each side for about four minutes then set aside on a warm plate.
Add the onions back to the pan with the peaches and allow to cook until they are soft, add the thyme, honey and seasoning and cook until the peaches have completely softened.
Add the cream and serve the chops with the rice and sauce.
4 chicken legs
½ tbs of honey
2 tsp of chilli powder
a dash of olive oil
6 peaches, de-stoned and halved
juice of half a lemon and the zest of the whole lemon
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella, pulled apart
4 handfuls of rocket
a few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
Rub the honey and chilli powder into the skin of the chicken with some seasoning and drizzle lightly with oil.
Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees and cook for twenty minutes.
Add the peaches to the dish and set back into the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the peaches have softened.
Mix the lemon juice with twice as much olive oil, the zest and some seasoning.
Toss the rocket and mint in the dressing and gently toss the mozzarella into it. Serve the peaches with the rocket salad and the chicken on the side.
Pour juices from the pan over the chicken.
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