Fruity fun: Summer means stone fruits
Apricots, cherries, plums AND peaches are oh-so-delicious. and in season now! Here are some scrumptious ways to include them in your meals
With the temperature reaching new heights every week, we're all looking for ways to cool down. And summer is actually the best time for a diet as it calls for lighter, more refreshing food that is less calorie-laden... if you choose well, that is. Here's how you can infuse a bit of summer into your diet.
Give in to the fruit sensation
Vitamin-rich stone fruits are very much in season right now, and so very refreshing. Choose between fresh peaches, apricots, cherries, plums and nectarines - or do what I did, and buy them all! I particularly like the Iranian cherries, Jordanian peaches and apricots, and other fruit that have been grown in the nearby regions as they have travelled a shorter distance to reach our plates. The great thing about buying them in season is that not only do they taste their best, but they are also much more affordable. Which is why this is the time to stock up on the bounty of succulent, juicy stone fruits at their prime - as well as gather extras to preserve in the form of homemade jams and jellies. They can also be frozen and used to make smoothies when out of season.
You can easily snack on fresh peaches, slightly chilled. Otherwise, slice and have them with labneh or yoghurt for breakfast, or as a fresh side with your eggs and sausage links. You can also toss fresh peach slices into your salads for a vibrant seasonal revamp. Roast them, face down, in a little ghee in the oven or brush them lightly with oil (like organic sunflower oil) and toss them on a hot grill pan until you have lovely grill marks.
One of my favourite ways to serve peaches is to poach them in aromatic spices like ginger and cinnamon, which are also brilliant digestion aids. I sweeten the stewing liquid with artisanal, raw, organic honey and cook them in just enough water to almost cover them. This allows the liquid to reduce and thicken into a light syrupy consistency. Stewed peaches are great to keep in the fridge and later include in your oatmeal, yoghurt or ice cream.
If you add pitted prunes, dried figs, apricots and dates along with peaches and stew them, you'll get a very potent high-fibre preserve that is superb at combating constipation in both toddlers and adults. The addition of the dried fruit lessens the amount of honey needed to preserve it as well. For younger children, remove the cinnamon and ginger after stewing, purée it and add to cooked oatmeal or probiotic yoghurt.
Perfect as plum
Plums and duck go together like peanut butter and jelly. Replace chicken with roasted duck in a salad and add slices of fresh plums for a flavour match made in heaven. You could also roast the duck with plums in a pan to infuse a rich fruity flavour into the flesh.
Pit cherries to make a wonderful low-carb rustic French dessert called clafoutis. You can also masticate it with sugar overnight and then gently cook and reduce it for a lovely fruit preserve. This beauiful compote can be spread over cheesecakes, tarts, or tea cakes or served with clotted cream and scones to add a very special flavour to your teatime. You can also pit loads of them and freeze so that you have something to add to smoothies later on.