Food

It’s time for a fruity summer

May 04, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

The heat, the flies, the dryness, the heat, Summer in Canberra. But it's not all bad, in fact I do love Canberra summers. Daylight savings means longer hours to sit outside and hang out with the kids, playing in the backyard whilst we sip a chilled wine on the deck. Endless BBQ's mean friends and family drop in whenever they're driving past. Weekends of sunshine and swimming in the local water holes, or visiting the bush, only 30 minutes from the South.Point Centre for an overnight camping trip beneath the stars. And fruit, so much sweet and delicious fruit, eaten straight out of the fruit bowl, juices dripping down our chins. But, what to do with such a glut of this fruit in season? How can you make it last longer, to get that taste of peach, nectarine and berries for the upcoming winter months? Well, have no fear, below are three recipes that call for stone fruits, so buy up big while it's cheap and get cooking! All three recipes can be made well in advance of any function and stored away for the dark days when only a sweet sweet bite of nectar can bring a bit of sunshine into your day.

Upside down caramel nectarine cake

This cake is more of a pudding than a light airy afternoon tea cake. It's incredibly simple and will work with pretty much any stone fruit you have. Feel free to add other flavours to it, a bit of cinnamon, some orange zest, vanilla, whatever tickles your fancy.
  • 8 relatively ripe nectarines, cut into wedges
  • 1 and 1/4c self raising flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt
  • half a lemon
Caramel
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1/2c water
To make the caramel put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbling. Turn the heat down and allow the caramel to reduce a little, watch it carefully as it won't take long for caramel to burn. Once the caramel is syrupy and the desired consistency (around 10 minutes of light boiling), set aside to cool a little. Meanwhile add the cut nectarines to a bowl and squeeze a little lemon juice so they don't brown. Once the caramel has cooled pour over the nectarines and coat all thoroughly. Set aside. Heat your oven to 180 degrees, and double line a springform pan, this double lining ensures that the caramel doesn't leak out. Pour the nectarine and caramel mixture into the pan and ensure the nectarines are all lined up nicely so it looks pretty when you flip the cake over. To make the cake add the eggs and sugar to your mix master and beat on high until the colour has changed to a light caramel and the mixture is twice the size and fluffyish. It won't turn out like meringue but you will notice the difference n colour and thickness, this will take around 8-10 minutes. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and add the yogurt and incorporate well. Slowly add the sifted flour until it's all incorporated and mixed well. Don't overbeat at this stage or your cake may be heavy. Pour the batter as evenly as possible over the nectarines, it doesn't matter if they're poking up in places as they will eventually sink into the cake. Cook for approximately 35 to 45 minutes, but check at 30 mins, the top should be lightly brown and spring back to the touch. Allow to cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes so the caramel has time to firm up, you risk it running all over the place if you de-pan it too quickly. When ready to plate up, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the caramel, and remove the spring pan. Place a plate a size larger than the cake gently over the top of the cake and magically flip it over without dropping it. Gently remove the greaseproof paper, ensuring that all the caramel is scraped off and either licked off by yourself, or add it back to the cake. Serve to friends, warm with a huge dollop of double cream, or by yourself with a ladle full of vanilla ice cream.

Peach and Berry Compote

Sweet, tangy, delicious, this fruit compote is more a bringing together of ingredients than a recipe. Again it will work with a plethora of fresh summer fruits and will freeze beautifully for later.
  • 3 peaches, cut in half, stone removed
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 2 punnets blackberries
  • zest and juice of half a lime
  • between 1/4 and 1/2c brown sugar depending on how tart your fruit is
  • a dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4c water
  • pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Add the lime juice, zest, olive oil, water and sugar into a bowl, stir well. Add the fruit and mix well, but gently so you don't break up the berries. Add the lot to an oven proof bowl, sprinkle over a little sea salt and roast until the berries have collapsed and the peaches are soft but still hold their shape, around 15 minutes. Check the sweetness of the compote before serving and add a little honey if it needs a boost. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream, or over toasted muesli, or as side to a cheesecake, or just out of the bowl with a shortbread biscuit left over from the tin Nanna gave you at Christmas.

Peach and Apple Chutney

I love making chutney. I adore taking the seasons finest produce, cooking it down with spices and aromatics and putting it into cute little jars and bringing it out for cheese platters, or ham and cheese toasties, or with corn chips and a crisp white wine. Whatever the reason, you can't have enough chutney in the fridge I think! This makes enough for 2 medium sized jars.
  • 8 peaches, a cross cut into the bottom of each, into a bowl and boiling water poured over so they can be easily skinned
  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped finely
  • 1 long mild yellow chilli (add a little fiery red one if you prefer the heat, I was after taste more than heat for this)
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • scant 1/2 tsp garam masala (use ground coriander or cumin, or curry powder here if you don't have garam masala, or leave it out completely if you want)
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1c brown vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Soak the peaches in boiling water for at least 5 minutes, this will help the skins peel off. Once peeled, the messy job of de-stoning and chopping into 2cm pieces begins. Add the onion to a pot and fry in olive oil until translucent, add the garlic, finely chopped chilli, apple and brown sugar and continue to fry until the brown sugar melts, this ensures the apple cooks down before the softer peaches are added to the pot. Add the garam masala and fry for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, stir until everything is coated in liquid and spices. Plonk on a lid and turn the heat down to low for at least 30 minutes. Check the liquid level at this stage, take the lid off for the last 30 minutes so the mixture has time to thicken up and reduce. If you think it's cooking a bit too fast and the liquid is evaporating too quickly, add a little more water. After cooking for an hour, taste for seasoning. Add more vinegar, sugar, salt or pepper, depending on what you think it needs more of, chutney is a very personal thing, after all. You want your chutney with enough texture so it doesn't just slide off the spoon when you're spooning it on to a cracker, its not jam. I like a little bit of chunkiness with my chutney, so will squish most of the fruit into pulp but leave a fair bit alone. Serve your chutney with a wedge of hard goats cheese, some sourdough bread or corn crackers and a nice spicy but luxurious red, like a delicious Ravensworth Shiraz Viognier . Happy stone fruit season, people! Cheers The Food and Wine Marshall

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