Sweet Summer Fruits (4)

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The season is short for such fruits as apricots, nectarines and peaches which makes it all the more precious. I found all three fruits in beautifully ripe condition and I sliced them up and roasted them in the oven which intensified their flavor – they were absolutely heavenly as a dessert all by themselves.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 ripe apricots – sliced

1 large, ripe nectarine – sliced

1 large peach – sliced

Place the sliced fruits on a piece of aluminum foil on a baking tray and roast in the oven for half an hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Why on earth would I photo - lamb, prune and apricot stewmake a stew in August? It’s just that I had an idea and had to act on it (dog likes it as she has just licked my plate clean!). Had stewing lamb in freezer and thought that it might be nice with dried apricots and prunes and then I flung in a can of Great Northern Beans (small white beans). In other cuisines (Moroccan – tagine) lamb is combined with fruit and in the UK roast lamb is served with red currant jelly, so it goes well with sweet flavors. After bringing all the ingredients to a boil in a cast iron casserole dish, I placed it in the oven for 3 hours at a low heat. Then I brought it out and brought it back to boil to reduce the liquid a bit. And then I added 2 tbsp. of red pepper jelly (easily available in supermarkets in the US, not sure about elsewhere but red currant jelly could be a substitute and almost 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard and added it to the sauce. Mashed/baked sweet potato would complete the meal.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 1/4 pounds of stewing lamb cut into cubes

3 cups veg. broth/stock

1 x 15.8 oz can of reduced sodium Great Northern Beans

8 x prunes – roughly chopped

10 x dried apricots – roughly chopped (managed to find some with no preservatives)

2 tbsp. red pepper jelly

Just less than 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat 1 tbsp. seasoned olive oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic and cook until a little browned.

Remove from pan and place aside.

Heat the other 1 tbsp. of olive oil and when sizzling add lamb and sear on all sides.

Add veg. broth, prunes and apricots.

Bring to boil, then place in low oven for 3 hours.

Remove from oven, place on cooker, bring to boil and reduce liquid for about 5 minutes or so.

Add red pepper jelly and Dijon mustard and stir well.

Apricots with Yuzu Mango Puree

Apricots with Mango Puree

Here in Florida mangoes can be a problem – too many of them. People with a mango tree in their garden are overwhelmed and now a charity has been formed to deal with the issue – mangoesforcharity.com. I love mangoes and thought they might go well with the fresh apricots I bought the other day. A few drops of yuzu juice makes it really special. It is worth investing in yuzu juice available from Amazon. A small bottle goes a long way. This fruit salad would be good to take to work for lunch. My taste tester dog is asking for more!

Cut fresh apricots into slices (1 or 2 per person)

Puree a large, ripe mango in food processor with a few drops of Yuzu juice

Spoon mango puree over apricots

North African Salad (serves 4)

North African Salad (serves 4)

Probably not at all North African but has bits and pieces that remind me of those kinds of dishes. I remember my first couscous dish, actually eaten in France with an Algerian colleague who, when I said I had never heard of such a dish, took me to a really authentic traditional restaurant where customers sat on low seats or the floor and I think some people ate with their hands. It was quite an eye-opener! The dish was delicious but I never cooked it for years because couscous was not readily available in the UK back in the day. The base of this salad is quinoa to which I added dried apricots, chickpeas, red onion, cilantro/coriander, chopped cashew nuts and orange juice. All chopping can be done in the 10 minutes it takes the quinoa to cook.

1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups of water

2 tbsp. dried apricots – chopped into little pieces

2 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

2 tbsp. cilantro/coriander – finely chopped

2 tbsp. chopped cashew nuts

Juice and pulp of 1 orange

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pork, Apricot and Pistachio Muffins (makes approx. 12)

Pork, Apricot and Pistachio Muffins (makes approx. 12)

Am rather proud of this invention – tastes good, looks good, can be eaten hot as a main course or cold with a salad, fantastic for picnics and if made into mini muffins are perfect for hors d’oeuvres. Additionally, the meat and fruit component can be altered – think turkey and cranberries. To top it all, preparation is very easy, especially if you buy pre-shelled pistachios.

1 oz. shelled pistachio nuts
2 oz. dried apricots
8 oz. ground/minced pork
handful of parsley – finely chopped
1 x egg – beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for greasing muffin tin

Put shelled pistachios and apricots in food processor and process until they are in small chunks.
Place this mixture into a large bowl, add rest of ingredients and mix well together.
Make mixture into balls and place in greased muffin tin (I use a silicone muffin tin which is really non-stick).
Cook for 20 minutes and then turn oven off and leave for a further 10 minutes.
Turn out onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any fat and dab top of muffins too.

Apple, Nectarine and Apricot Compote (serves 4)

Apple, Nectarine and Apricot Compote (serves 4)

 

I was looking for plums but didn’t see any in the supermarket but I saw some lovely looking (and ripe) apricots and nectarines and I scooped them up hoping they would taste as good s they looked (and they did – not cotton woolly at all). Then I decided that they would make a great compote for breakfast or dessert. As I am trying to only use sugar when I absolutely have to I cooked the apples in apple juice and the apricots and nectarines in apricot juice – result, delicious and refreshing. If I had guests over, I would take a portion for myself and make the rest into a crisp or a crumble or I would serve a sorbet, maybe mango, with it.

 

1 pound apples – peeled and cut into chunks

1 tbsp. organic apple juice

1 pound ripe apricots – peeled and cut into pieces

1 pound ripe nectarines – peeled and cut into pieces

1 tbsp. apricot juice (I used Ceres brand)

 

Put apple chunks into a pan with apple juice and cook for 5 minutes.

Add apricot and nectarine pieces and apricot juice and cook for a further 5 minutes.