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.


Pancakes and strawberries

Originally uploaded by tostadora.

Last week's strawberries were starting to go past their best so we decided to make a tart-sweet sauce to go with pancakes. The pancakes were an essential for tonight's dinner as I had gone hunting at lunch for a dedicated pancake pan. Another life ambition fulfilled. A pan JUST for pancakes.

Cara and I battered and flipped and folded and tossed like a pair of kids on pancake day. It reminded me of the old woman who ran the first nursery I went to as a young child – she was famous for flipping a pancake that stuck to the ceiling. Not much of a story I guess, but for some reason this made a massive impression on me as a kid – transforming this old lady into a mythical fairytale figure in my young eyes.

For the sauce, we hulled the strawberries then simply added them to the pan with a few tablespoons of sugar, a squeeze or two of lemon and – the secret ingredient – a splash of whiskey. Simmer until syrupy. Roll the berries up in a pancake and pour the sauce over. Would have been perfect with thick cream but we didnt have any…

Watering the plants, playing a good game of scrabble, eating pancakes for tea. A grand evening in a quiet way.