Romancing The Stone (fruit)

Peaches. Mangoes. Nectarines. Plums.StonefruitsI absolutely love the summer. Not for the 40* days and suffocating humidity (Brisbane you have out done yourself this year), or the days at work in the kitchen where you sweat from places that you just shouldn’t sweat from. Or the risk of third degree sunburn from just thinking about going outside.

No. Not for these things.

The fruit. Particularly the stone fruits.

Valentine’s day is this week, Kid and I are making a few quick and easy treats using peaches, plums, nectarines and mangoes.

Mainly using a griddle pan. And love 🙂

Crostini w/ Nectarine, Pancetta, Radish and Dill.Nectarine CrostiniThese are great as finger food for a party or as an entrée or light lunch even. Crostini is lightly baked or grilled bread w/ olive oil, herbs and sea salt. A little like bruschetta. Salty pork and fruit are a classic combination too.

6 slices of baguette – we’re using multigrain
6 slices of pancetta
2 medium ripe nectarines – stoned and chopped small.
2 radishes – sliced fine or shredded
olive oil
sea salt
1 rosemary stem
6 sprigs of dillCrostini1HOW
Rub the bread with a little olive oil, chopped rosemary and sea salt. Grill this in a pan on a medium heat until golden and crunchy through. Now place the pancetta on the pan and cook until just a little brown and crispy in bits. The pancetta will be bitter if you cook it too crispy. Arrange 1 slice of pancetta on each of the crostini. Top with chopped nectarine and radish, garnish with a little dill and drizzle of olive oil. Bonza!

Grilled Haloumi w/ Charred Peaches, Basil and Balsamic Plums.Grilled HaloumiIngredients – serves 2
200g Haloumi cheese – for grilling
2 medium, ripe peaches – halved, stones removed.
6 basil leaves – shredded (at the last minute)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 ripe plum – stoned and sliced.
a little shaved red onion.

In a small saucepan add your balsamic vinegar. Simmer on a gentle heat until reduced by 1/3. Add your plum slices and simmer for another minute before placing aside to cool. Rub a tiny amount of light olive oil on the flesh side of your peaches. Place them face down in a medium griddle pan for a few minutes until just soft. Give a quarter turn half way through for the criss-cross effect. Remove and set aside. Give the pan a wipe to remove any residue. Grilled haloumi1Now give the pan a wipe with paper and oil or a light oil spray. Add the haloumi and cook gently until golden brown on the outside and soft in the middle. There is no point doing this too quickly, the cheese will still be hard in the middle. Arrange your haloumi on a plate with the grilled peaches. Drizzle the balsamic and plums over the top and scatter shaved red onion and shredded basil over the top. A little extra olive oil is a nice finish.

And of course, dessert. Or breakfast even?

Grilled Peach and Mango ParfaitParfait
Okay let’s be straight up here. A parfait should have a more layered effect. Our glasses are too big and fat for that. In fact Kid and I shared one for dessert and the other for breakfast. Feel free to use a smaller, more slender vessel.

200g Greek or Deli style yoghurt
3 ripe peaches – halved, stoned and grilled as in the haloumi recipe
1 large ripe mango – skinned and chopped
8 basic biscuits – we are using butternuts. Gingersnaps, shortbreads, ANZACs or granitas would also be good.parfait1

Cut the pears into quarters. Arrange your ingredients a little at a time into 4 of your favourite, tall glasses. Set in the fridge for an hour before devouring.

Dehydrated Fruit ChipsFruit chips
For this I borrowed a dehydrator from my dear friend Terri-anne. Pretty simple to use. I cut the peaches, plums and nectarines into 1cm slices and arranged them in the machine. I set the thing on overnight and in the morning awoke to these chewy little treats. I must have one.

What Kid Did.
Kid digs on stone fruit as much as I do. Mango in particular.Kid makes crostini
These dishes are a pleasure to make with Kid. She is engaged because she loves the fruit we are working with  but also because there is real hands on creating here for her. Putting together the crostini firstly. Dainty little hands are good for this work.Kid makes haloumi
Arranging the plate for the haloumi and giving the plate a big, cheffy drizzle of the sauce.Kid makes parfait
And of course the sweet things are always a favourite. Kid is getting bigger and more confident by the second. Packing her own school lunch is no problem (provided she actually remembers) but I see a fair bit of pride when we’re eating something she’s helped create herself. Particularly the ones with biscuits in them 😉

Mum always said that stone fruit are best after Xmas. Until March or so  and then forget it. I accept that seasons change a little each year but I’m with Mum on this one. I see peaches on the shelves from different parts of the world in winter. I’ll happily wait for the local stuff next year thanks. And that’s not because of some sense of regional pride or anything, they’re just a whole lot better.

When I was a kid my mates and I would ride the streets of Redcliffe searching for the biggest mango tree to climb. They weren’t nice to eat, all stringy and vinegar. But it was never really about the mangoes I suppose.

Happy Cooking






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s