Poaching fruit

June 29, 2006

Mullet in the kitchen

This is the first week we’ve received the Riverford fruit selection. The fruity goodies arrived in a cute mini-vegbox and cost a ‘non-trivial’ (a phrase I’ve heard more than a few times today…) £7.50. For our hard-earned pennies we received a punnet of apricots, a generous portion of strawberries, pears, braeburns and gooseberries. Some bananas turned up in the fruit bowl but I suspect they’d escaped from the root-of-all-evil giant Tesco in Slough.

One week on and we’ve only managed to polish off a couple of apples and the strawberries. The pert little strawberries were heartlessly macerated in lemon juice and sugar for half an hour, then wolfed down in front of the Wimbledon highlights on TV. We were watching Tim Henman getting slaughtered by Federer in the first round. Big bowls of strawberries and British sporting humiliations seem to go well together – the two constants of summer-time in England.

So tonight I was faced with yet another veg-box crisis. How to prevent fruit decompostion on an unprecedented scale? The answer came in the unlikely form of a simple water and sugar syrup. Half a pint of water and 3 or 4 oz of white sugar. Boiled together briefly. Lowered the gas and slid in the fruit seperately – halved apricots, gooseberries topped and tailed, pears peeled and quartered. Each of these only required a couple of minutes poaching (the apricots dissolved into mush due to a distracting phone call from her indoors). After this, boil down the syrup until its quite thick and sticky and pour over the poached fruit. Oh yes, and I added some lemon peel and cinammon bark to the syrup at the beginnning. Fancy shooting.