I'm back already. So much to share and I'm on a roll. Plus it's about 38 degrees outside, far too hot to be shovelling cow manure onto the garden, which was my original plan for the day.
We have had a hot and dry spring and summer this year but that seems to have suited the stone fruit: there were lots of apricots...
and a good haul of nectarines..
After making enough apricot jam to last until next year I still had lots of apricots to use up so instead of stewing them I decided to make caramel apricots, which can be eaten as a pudding,
or put in a tart.
About a kilo of apricots, stoned and halved
125g castor sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split
Put the sugar and water in a frying pan and cook to a light golden caramel. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then try not to stir it while it is bubbling away. Don't walk away because it will burn in a matter of seconds. As soon as it starts to colour nicely, take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute, giving the pan a bit of a swirl so the colour is even. Stir in the butter and vanilla bean then add the apricots and return to a gentle heat for 6-8 minutes until the apricots soften.
These are bloody delicious just with ice cream and some toasted nuts but you could also use the crumble topping I mentioned last time. This also works with nectarines....equally delicious.
While we are on the topic and because I had a couple of requests, here is the recipe for the Nectarine Cake I put on Insta the other day. You could do this with apricots or plums, I'm sure.
About 1 kg of nectarines (it doesn't matter if you don't quite have a kilo)
200g butter, room temperature
1 cup castor sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 teasp vanilla extract
250g SR flour
1 teasp baking powder
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter and line a 22cm springform pan.
Peel the nectarines by dropping them into a pan of boiling water for about a minute. Remove and let them cool slightly before peeling and halving, removing the stones and cutting into quarters.
Cream butter, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Sift flour and baking powder and add with the buttermilk and fold gently until well incorporated. Pour into prepared pan then arrange the nectarines on the top. Bake for approx 45-60 minutes until cooked when tested with a skewer.
While it is cooking gently melt the honey and when the cake is cooked brush with honey to glaze (you could also use apricot jam). Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing the side of the pan.
So make the most of the last of the stone fruit, which I noticed is still in the markets.
I also wanted to share a couple of podcasts that I have been listening to...both are totally addictive and I can't wait to go on a long drive of do the ironing so I can listen. And I hate ironing. I am a bit slow of the mark with the first one, Serial, which came out a little while ago, but I started listening to it late last year and have been trying to catch up ever since. Two fascinating stories analysing possible miscarriages of justice; I won't go into too much detail because it will sound more boring than it is but see what you think...only proviso is that you must start at the start.
The other one is Chat 10 Looks 3, a chatty discourse between Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales in which these two engaging super women "talk about books, television, radio, movies, food, politics and whatever else they feel like". I have been onto this one for quite a while. It is hilarious and haphazard: taped at their houses, or in a car, or a random ABC office and is always fascinating. Both of them have demanding, deadline-driven jobs in journalism, write books, produce television shows, keep abreast of politics and have young families so how on earth they manage to even read a book or watch television is beyond me. How I would love the intellectual dexterity to actually remember the book I have just read, let alone chat wittily and intelligently about it....and I no longer have small children (which usually causes a degree of brain rupture) as an excuse.
It may only serve to confirm any feelings of inadequacy that you might harbour but it definitely worth a listen.