Monday, 21 August 2017

Grilled Peaches with Cheese - Sweet or Savory

I had some amazing peaches arrive at Cook House a few weeks ago, the perfect sweetness and the perfect ripeness, I have been putting them on the menu at home and at events as much as possible ever since. It's a good time for these late summer fruits; apricots, nectarines, grapes too... I've been cooking, grilling, pickling, poaching and more.

We held a big BBQ night at Cook House a few weeks ago and decided to do every course on the BBQ, including pudding and cheese accompaniments... When you have cooked all the meat and vegetables on your BBQ it often gets to the point that you think it's a shame that you still have such a nice fire and nothing else to cook. So I loaded the grill up with fruit! Grilled grapes are delicious with cheese I've found, just pop them on the BBQ at the end until they start to blacken and burst, let them cool a little and let people pick at them with some lovely local goats cheese.

Grilled peaches are my current favourite, and can be served in a number of ways, just with a dollop of cream or here I've included two recipes; a lovely lunch dish with feta on toast, and also served as a pudding with a delicious sweet whipped cheese.

Your peaches need to be ripe to start with, there is just no point in putting on a rock hard under ripe peach. This might mean buying them a good few days before you need them if they are not ripe in the shops.

Run a knife round to half them and twist to free from the stone, then lever the stone out with a knife. Brush the cut side with some oil and place cut side down on the grill. I grill them for about 5 minutes on this side, don't move them around, just leave them, if your fire is particularly hot they may need less time. Then using a fish slice scrape them free and flip over, and leave them to grill until hot and juicy, until they look like they are starting to collapse a bit. The fire brings out all the juices and delicious sweetness. Remove from the heat when you think they are done, they can be served hot or left to cool to room temperature.

They are great in a salad, with crumbled cheese, toasted nuts and rocket or with some cured meats. Here I have included a savory lunch dish and a sweet pudding both based on the same idea of fresh cheese with peaches and mint...

Grilled Peaches with Feta & Mint on Toast

Toast some sliced sour dough and drizzle with some good quality extra virgin olive oil, crumble over some feta cheese and top with the room temperature grilled peaches, some torn up mint leaves, a bit of black pepper and some more olive oil. The sweet peaches are delicious with the salty cheese and fresh mint.

Grilled Peaches with Whipped Fromage Blanc, Mint & Toasted Hazelnuts

Whip together 150g cream cheese, 100g double cream, 150g yoghurt and 75g sugar. Whip with an electric whisk until it starts to thicken, it takes a while, then add the juice of half a lemon and whip for a few more minutes. Serve this sweet cream with warm grilled peaches, a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts and some torn mint leaves. The sweet cheese is a bit like a cheesecake topping and is so delicious with the juicy peaces and the crunchy toasted nuts.