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Peach and burrata salad

I know. I know. I feel a bit sheepish coming back, but I really really would like to explain where I’ve been. And also make my comeback along with a killer summer peach and burrata salad that you are going to want to make. Juicy ripe peaches, soft creamy cheese, crunchy buttered almonds, clean fresh mint and tangy pomegranate molasses to marry the seasonal medley together.  A gorgeous starting point or accompaniment for any seasonal gathering.

Ok. Let’s get to the point. Why was my last post back in November? Um, because I’m making a tiny human and the last 14 or so weeks have been all about sleeping, eating more citrus fruit that is necessary and copious amounts of tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil, and generally just getting through the day. It does seem so unfair that pregnancy make you feel like half the person you once were. Sick, tired, cranky, constantly hungry. But as I write this, a small person is growing inside of me, apparently currently the size of a peach (you see what I did there).

Not only have I been feeling exhausted though. If I’m very honest, which is easy on paper, I’m scared. I am just so scared. I know the absolute joy that comes with bringing a child into the world now, and I also know the anguish that comes with bringing a very tiny premature baby into the world, so I’d just like this time to be a smooth ride. A lazy, uninteresting, routine journey to 40 weeks. With a big party at the 30 week mark as I enter unknown territory.

To instil some positivity, which I know can only come from inside myself, I have made a pregnancy vision board, full of beautiful round bellies and cherub like newborns. I bought some new onesies. Unisex ones. And no we’re not finding out this time around. Every night I now read Thea a book all about how she’s going to become a big sister. And you know, I feel a little more carefree.

So with my new outlook (and hopefully second trimester renewed energy) comes new vigour to return to this space and share some beautiful recipes with you, starting with this rather special peach and burrata salad, as well as share this crazy, miraculous and wonderful journey.

Peach and burrata salad

For 2. 1 ball of burrata will serve 2 people so you can adjust this recipe according to how many people you are feeding

  • 1 ball burrata
  • 2 ripe yellow peaches
  • handful fresh mint leaves, roughly sliced
  • small handful of whole almonds
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • pomegranate molasses

This peach and burrata salad is the kind of dish that needs to be made at the last-minute, but don’t let that deter you as it’s extremely simple and quick to prepare.

Begin by toasting the almonds in a pan with a teaspoonful of butter and then roughly chop them.

Depending on how rustic you’d like the salad to look, tear or cut the peaches into  walnut size chunks. Now take the ball of burrata and gently tear it and scatter it over the peach pieces.

Over the cheese and the fruit, sprinkle the mint leaves, the almonds, a frugal dousing of pomegranate molasses and enjoy.

Enjoy this peach and burrata salad recipe? Then you might like this marinated mozzarella salad

Apricot jam.

Sometimes before the sun has risen and Thea wakes, I get out of bed early, take my laptop and a cup of tea out on to the deck and read my favourite blogs. It’s still dark and usually a few cars pass by, headlights on. The birds aren’t singing their chorus yet, as the promise of a new day looms. I cross my legs in my chair, take a sip of tea and start reading. One humid morning this week I had got out of a very comfortable bed to do just this. Aware of the breeze stirring the leaves, I read a lovely post about apricot jam. Completely smitten with the simplicity and romanticism of the recipe, later that day I went and bought some apricots to make some for myself.

Preserving seems like such a time honoured kitchen task. It makes me think of large country kitchens of a bygone era, with herb gardens, orchards, cast iron ranges and copper pots all lined up on the wall in a row. One of the pots is a preserving pan dedicated to the task of transforming fresh fruit at its peak from one month into jam for another. Indeed, there is nothing better on a cold winter’s morning, than hot buttered toast smothered with berry or stone fruit jam, to evoke the warmth of summer. And so with this notion in my head I set about making apricot jam.

I surprised myself with the results of my spur of the moment preserving efforts. Three glass jars filled with rusty orange, beautifully sweet but slightly sharp, apricot jam sat on my bench. I felt like an accomplished jam maker and had a kid in a sweet shop excited feeling for weekend when I could open a jar and scoop out a spoonful to spread on toast. Saturdays and Sundays are about leisurely breakfasts, coffee, the paper and sourdough bread from the local bakery. Thea loves going there as she has realised it’s the place where almond croissants come from, and leaving the shop without a brown paper bag containing one makes for a very unhappy little girl. Hopefully a breakfast with my sticky, sweet, apricot jam will pacify her.

Apricot jam.

Modified from a post by Sweet Amandine

Makes about 3 jars.

  • 1300g pitted apricots
  • 550g sugar
  • 35 ml lemon juice
  • 6 peach stones

The day before you cook your jam, mix the pitted apricots with the sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Cover the fruit with a piece of baking paper. Smooth the paper over the top of the fruit so that it is in contact with the apricots to help prevent discolouration. Leave to macerate in the fridge overnight.

And I bet you are wondering about the peach stones. What you do with them is take a tea towel and something like a meat mallet or rolling in, cover the stone and tap it until it splits. Inside the stone you will find an almond like kernel. Repeat this step with all six stones, then chop all the kernels up. Put them inside a little tea strainer and place the tea strainer in with the apricots. This will give your jam an almondy aroma.

The next morning, and this is a great tip, put five teaspoons in the freezer. This step is really useful for when you are testing your jam’s doneness.

Now transfer the apricots (remember the tea strainer) to a suitable pot to cook them in and place on the stove. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for about 4 minutes, string frequently. I mean this. Don’t walk away and hang out the washing. Loiter in the kitchen and stir the boiling mixture frequently. The best tool to do this with is a silicone spatula so that you can really scrape the bottom. After 4 minutes, turn the heat down and skim any foam that has appeared from the top of the fruit. Continue to cook the apricot mix over a low heat for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the jam has thickened.

Now it’s testing time. Get one of the teaspoons from the freezer, dribble a blob of the jam onto it and put the spoon back in the freezer for 3 minutes. When you take it out again, the underside should be neither hot or cold to the touch (indicator one) and when you tip the spoon, the jam should be thick and stick to the spoon, running off slowly (indicator two). If it runs off quickly and is thin, it is not yet done. Repeat the process in a few more minutes.

Pour the hot jam into sterilised jars, screw the lids on and invert the jars while they cool. This helps to form a seal. Enjoy x

NB. Sweet amandine gives a great account of how she sterilises her jars in preparation for jam making and once they are filled with jam. Here as I only made three jars,  I will simply keep them in the fridge and use them within about one month.

An easy barbecued corn salad recipe.

Catering this sumer involved a lot of salads. Kilos of pumpkin and sweet potato, endless bunches of herbs, bags of almonds, pecans and pistachios and lots of corn. For one family in particular, I did a great deal of work. They love seafood and lamb and light, subtly flavoured salads, without too much oil or dairy. There are occasions where I struggle to think of new dishes that meet these requirements, being someone who adores cheese among peppery leaves and lashings of home made whole grain mayonnaise to dress a chive spiked potato salad. This easy barbecued corn salad that I made for them was a firm favourite though. Sweet, fresh and visually appealing, I’m happy to be able to share the recipe with you here.

Being an Ottolenghi recipe, it does involve chopping three bunches of herbs, but its’ a simple task that requires no weighing or mixing and could be considered therapeutic. If you think I’m crazy to suggest such a thing, I won’t tell anyone if you place all the leaves into the bowl of a food processor and let it do all the chopping for you. Just pulse them gently until they are coarsely chopped. Using the food processor could also be a good call, if like me you have a Miss one and a bit who very much likes cuddles and expects you to do all of your kitchen tasks with one arm.

Another salad that the same clients enjoyed again and again is a kale, almond and pecorino salad that I’ve written about before. They shared with me that they enjoy any not eaten for lunch, heated and mixed with rice. A revelation. I tried it this week as I had some left over from an event, not with rice, but some bolognese sauce that was in the freezer. Totally delicious! That’s the wonderful thing about food, its anecdotal quality and how recipes can be tweaked and changed through the casual sharing of information. I would never have thought of heating the kale salad, but the same may be true for you with this easy barbecued corn salad. You may be inspired to change it in some way and make it all your own.


 

Easy barbecued corn salad

Adapted from a recipe by Yottam Ottolenghi

  • 9 corn cobs, de husked
  • 4 green chillis
  • Bunch of spring onions
  • Bunches of mint and parsley, leaves picked
  • Bunch of coriander, roots chopped off

For the dressing

  • A jam jar with lid
  • 1 cup EV olive oil
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Dash of maple syrup
  • Salt – a generous pinch

Grill the corn on the barbecue turning frequently until slightly charred and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Pick the leaves from the mint and parsley and wash. Chop the roots for the coriander and also wash (you can use the stems in the salad). Coarsely chop all the herbs and put into to a large bowl. Chop the spring onions in to small rings and the green chilli in to fine dice. Add both to the bowl.

To make the dressing, shake all the ingredients together in a jam jar. This is a great method. Quick, clean and simple.

The corn will probably be cool enough to handle now. To cut the kernels from the cob, stand the cob upright on one end on a chopping board and simply slice the kernels off from top to bottom. Add to the herbs along with the dressing. Combine well and enjoy x

Enjoy this recipe? It would go really well with this Cajun salmon