So many people have wondered where I’d disappeared to… A year of doing other things, creating art, writing, and cooking of course. But here I am, I’m back! I shall no longer attempt to post every day, the tasks involved are just too time-consuming. What about Wednesdays or Thursdays, just once a week, to give you time to shop for ingredients before wow-ing your family and friends with a French meal at the weekend? Or no schedule at all, maybe I’ll just write when I have a recipe I just can’t keep to myself?
So let’s get back to work!
You’ll notice I have finally figured out the way to add audio clips of the pronunciation of a few words into the text. I shall gradually update all past posts, I hope this will help you and that you will practise repeating the words and phrases. I have left the written description of the sound as well.
Pêche is a complicated word, it means several things, and can be written with different accents.
pêche (feminine noun), la pêche, une pêche, des pêches = peach, pronounced paysh
un pêcher = a peach tree
NOT to be confused with un péché = a sin, un péché mortel = a mortal sin, pécher = to sin, commettre un péché = to commit a sin, un pécheur = a sinner
la pêche = fishing, pêcher = to fish, un pêcheur = a fisherman
Expressions using pêche (in the sense of peach) :
la peau de pêche , meaning either literally complexion, a skin like a peach, but it is also a type of material, sort of suedey, velvety like peach skin.
avoir la pêche = to be on good form
And to do with fishing:
une canne à pêche = a fishing rod, “bonne pêche” = tight lines (or have a good day’s fishing), un garde-pêche = a game warden (fishing warden), un droit de pêche = fishing rights, un permis de pêche = a fishing permit
And finally in the sense of a sin:
un péché de jeunesse = a sin of youth
un péché mignon = something you have a weakness for, ex. shoes, or chocolate. (What’s your péché mignon ?)
My recipe today is for Pêches Pochées, poached peaches
We have had, for once, a really glorious summer, and fruit is plentiful and ripe. This recipe is so simple, but very impressive, and I’ll suggest a few ways in which it can be dressed up.
- 1 ripe yellow peach per person (buy the most colourful peaches possible, with deep red skins)
- Icing sugar
- Wash the peaches quickly. Place a pan of water on to boil, large enough for the water to cover all the peaches.
- When the water simmers, gently lower the peaches WITH THEIR SKINS ON into the pan. Bring back to a very gentle boil and poach for one minute. (If you have doubts as to the ripeness of your peaches, make that 2 minutes, but much better to choose ripe fruit.)
- Remove with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper to drain and cool just enough to be able to handle them.
- With a sharp unserrated knife (so as not to leave scratches on the surface of the peach), remove the skin. (Actually, once you have made a nick in the skin, it almost slides off with just a little help from your forefinger.)
- Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar (through a sieve so as not to have little lumps). This will melt with the heat of the peach and glaze the fruit.
These peaches can be eaten just like that. It is better not to handle them once the icing sugar has been added, so if you do want to make a more complicated dessert, only add the icing sugar at the end, but be aware that if the peach is no longer warm, the sugar will not melt and glaze.
They are tricky to eat just as they are, difficult to “get hold of” even with a fork, and can slip and slide and even shoot across the table on occasion. Best to serve them in bowls or glasses that will prevent them from doing this.
You can also cut them in half and stone them just after peeling, this will make them easier to eat; and use these halves to make peach melba, with cream and ice cream and some red currant jelly. Or serve them on a bed of creamy rice pudding (my favourite!). Or good old English custard (crème anglaise in French).
I have photographed two variations, one with creamed rice in the bottom of a martini glass, with a tiny dribble of peach liqueur on top, and the poached peach on top of that. And a slice of wholemeal brioche which I turned into pain perdu, cut into triangles with a poached peach. I just had this for my lunch, and the peach was so beautifully ripe that it was no problem separating it from its stone on the dessert plate. But I have to say that I bought wholemeal brioche to kid myself into thinking I’m eating healthily, and it’s not nearly as nice as ordinary brioche, or gâche vendéenne (a speciality of the Vendée region of France) with which I usually do my pain perdu.
The colour that transfers from the skin to the peach is simply stunning and the sheen of the icing sugar sets this off beautifully. Good for candlelit dinners, they glow. Guests are usually pretty impressed and never guess it has been so easy to prepare.
Do take advantage of the summer season to buy some really ripe, tasty peaches for the weekend.