4 Bites: Summer stonefruit
- Blitz a 250g packet of gingernuts (or other plain biscuit). Add to a bowl with 100g roughly chopped dark chocolate, 50g melted salted butter, the flesh of 1 ripe peach (optional), and a little spice if you like. Smoosh together to form a sandy crumb.
- Halve and pit 6-8 peaches or nectarines. Add to baking dish, evenly distribute the crumb across the fruit, then bake in 180C oven for 35-45 minutes until fruit is tender and crumb is set. Serve warm with a dollop of mascarpone and fresh cream whipped together, or vanilla ice cream.
An old-fashioned shrub (now popular again for cocktails) is a fruit syrup that's preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol. A proper shrub has a flavour that is tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching the thirst, and is the perfect way to utilise less-than-perfect berries and fruit.
- Mash 500g chopped, pitted plums, 250g strawberries (diced small), 150g blackberries and 300g castor sugar together with your (clean) hands. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
- Strain fruit and juices through a muslin bag, gently squeezing out as much juice as possible (approx. 3 cups). Discard solids.
- Add 1½ cups apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar to juice, whisk together and pour into a large sterilised jar and chill (will last a couple of months in the fridge).
- To make thirst-quenching summer drinks, fill a tall glass with ice, add a little syrup and top up with soda water. Try it mixed into chilled iced tea, with bubbles, or in refreshing rum or gin cocktails.
- Simmer 2 Tbsp honey with the zest and juice of a lime and an orange to form a syrup. Add a small knob of fresh ginger cut into thin strips (julienne) and cool.
- Cut a medley of stonefruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots) into even wedges, toss with the syrup, and leave to macerate for an hour or two. Toss with mint leaves to serve as a dessert with yoghurt, or alongside a summery pudding.
- Gently fry 1 finely chopped onion, 2-3 crushed garlic cloves, a small knob of finely grated ginger and 1 finely chopped red or green (mild) chilli in a little oil until soft.
- Add the zest and juice of 1 orange, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey, and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add 550g pitted apricots (cut into quarters) and cook until apricots are soft and mixture resembles a chunky compote. Cool, add a handful of chopped mint and chill. Serve as a condiment with barbecued meats and sausages in bread, on fish tacos, or liven up summer salads.