Friday, 30 October 2009
Whilst I have been out of circulation I have been playing quite a bit in the kitchen. I have always had a problem with peaches skinning them successfully, it has always terrified me, because sometimes the skins come off and sometimes they don't. Last weekend I skinned about 40 peaches and made two very large jars of whole peaches in spiced vinegars; both flavourings slightly different and the sauce at least with both of them is extremely scrummy.
Now back to the skinning. I have found the most successful way for me is to have a pan of boiling water on the stove and dunking each peach individually in the bubbling hot water ( I seem to have a thing about hubble bubbling at the moment! I then immediatly plunge the hot peach into a big bowl of cold iced water and start straight away with removing the skin. If it does not budge bung it back into the hot water again and repeat process. Sometimes I have to assist with a small sharp knife, but this isn't very often. Then put into a bowl of water with a teaspoon of lemon juice in to stop peaches going brown. Carry on until you have all the peaches skinned and all are in the bowl of lemony water well covered.
Five Spice Peaches
(Recipe taken from Clearly Delicious by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz
1.8 kg/4lb peaches
600ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
12 black peppercorns
5ml/1 tsp whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
Fills one 1.15 litre/ 2 pint jar
NB: Whole spices are used in preference to ground spices, as they will give a much clearer crystal clear finish. Using ground spices will give a cloudy finish which will spoil the look of the finished product.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and individually put each peach in the hot boiling water for about 30/40 seconds - timing down to how ripe the peach is will take longer if not so ripe. Remove peaches with slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Leave to cool then dry and drain well.
You can leave the peaches whole or you can halve them removing the stone. Halve the peaches by using the natural dimple in the top of the peach as a cutting guide. Discard the stones and the skin and set the peaches to one side.
Bring the wine vinegar to the boil with the spices add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
Boil the mixture until it stars to go syrupy then add the peach halves and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes to warm peaches through or until tender.
Transfer peaches to sterilised jars to within 1/2 an inch of the top. Boil up the syrup for a further 2 to 3 minutes until the syrup has slightly reduced.
Pour the syrup over the peaches. Seal the jar label and leave in a cool dark place for 2 months before using to allow the flavours to develop
Serve the whole or halved peaches with slices of meat with chunky fresh bread, pickles and cheese.
The second recipe comes from one of my favourite magazines The Country Kitchen September edition
The ingredients for this are:
12 peaches blanched in boiling water and peeled
300ml/1/2 pint white wine vinegar
stick of cinnamon
25mm/1 inch fresh ginger peeled
2 small dried red chillies
make the syrup first by putting everything apart from the peaches into a pan stirring the ingredients together until all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil.
I then blanched my peaches and as each one is peeled/skinned I popped them straight into the vinegar syrup, once all in the pan cook gently until warmed through and just tender then decant the fruit with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool. Boil the vinegar syrup and boil up until it thickens slightly. Pack the cold peaches into a large storage jar or two smaller ones and then pour over the spiced syrup until all the fruit is submerged. To keep the fruit submerged grab a lump of greaseproof paper and crunch it up and put it in any cavity between the top of the fruit and the jar lid then put the lid on and leave for at least a month before using. Store in a cool dark place. Serve with Christmas ham/meats or with an Italian antipasto style starter.
My OH is getting extremely frustrated with me as have kept him away from the pickles so far including the picalilli - if I let him loose there would be none left for Christmas!