herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Nice and peachy

Make the most of in-season grapes and peaches with this fresh and fruity menu to help you stay cool as the weather heats up

I just got back from doing the Taste of Dublin which was a blast. While travelling I was thinking about what food is coming into season right now. Peaches are beginning to ripen beautifully and I always feel like grapes are better in summer than other months, so I decided to create a clean and crisp white gazpacho.

Of course, I am not going to leave you without a cocktail this week. This green gin tea cocktail can also be enjoyed as a non-alcoholic drink. Enjoy!

White gazpacho with almonds and mint

Serves 6

Ingredients:

>500ml chicken stock

>200g white bread, cut into small pieces, crust removed

>100g slivered almonds, blanched

>1 tsp salt

>200g white seedless grapes

>2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

>4 tbsp white vinegar

>100ml extra virgin olive oil

> Mint and slivered almonds, to garnish

Method

>Bring the stock to a light simmer in a saucepan and add the bread.

>Put almonds and salt in a food processor and pulse.

>Add bread and stock mixture and pulse again.

>Add grapes and cucumbers and blend.

>Mix vinegar and olive oil and pour in a steady stream into the food processor until well blended.

>Pour into a container and chill in the fridge for two hours.

>Serve in bowls and garnish with mint and almonds.

Grilled peaches and bacon salad with buttermilk dressing

Serves 6

Dressing:

>100ml buttermilk

>100ml sour cream

>100ml light mayonnaise

>2 tbsp mint

>2 tbsp chives

>1 tbsp tarragon

>2 tsp white vinegar

Salad:

>12 slices thick-cut bacon

>3 tbsp maple syrup

>4 sweet onions, such as Vidalia

>Extra virgin olive oil

>4 peaches, cut into segments

>2 bags mixed greens

Method:

>Preheat oven to 180°C

>In a food processor, blend all dressing ingredients until well combined.

>Set aside in the fridge.

>Lay bacon slices on parchment paper on a tray and place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

>Remove the bacon after 15 minutes, drizzle with maple syrup and place back in oven for remaining time.

>Slice onions into ½ in slices and sauté in a large saucepan with some olive oil until well browned, about 10 minutes.

>Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.

>Cut segments from peaches and grill on a grill pan or a barbecue until you get nice grill marks, about two minutes each side.

>Assemble salad as follows: place greens in middle of plate, top with cut bacon, onions, peaches and finally drizzle with dressing.

>Serve with some crusty bread.

Green gin tea

Makes 1 litre

Ingredients:

>750ml brewed fresh strong green tea, use extra bags

>4 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

>100g caster sugar

>150ml lemon juice

>100ml gin

>Ice

>In a food processor, blend the green tea, cucumbers and sugar. You may need to do this in batches.

>Transfer to a large jug, add lemon juice and gin.

>Stir well.

>Pour into glasses filled with ice.

>Garnish with mint and extra cucumber slices.

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