Mojosmom’s suggestion of a peach cobbler sent me off to Google. I’d only ever encountered cobblers in fiction, but Google quickly turned up a plethora of recipes, all completely different. In the end I found one that seemed to resemble what she’d described, so (after a bit of tweaking to adapt it to metric measurements, halve the size (the original recipe served 8!!!) and replace the self-raising flour (which I hate the taste of so always use real flour plus baking powder instead)) I gave it a go. The ingredient list is pretty similar to the muffins, actually:
2-3 cups sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Make up a syrup with the water and half the sugar, and boil the peaches in it for 10 minutes. Mix flour, baking powder, remaining sugar, and milk to make a thin batter. Melt butter in a baking dish, and pour the batter over the top, without mixing. Spoon fruit and syrup over the top, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 180C for 25-30 minutes.
The batter rises up around the fruit, and you end up with a sweet, slightly chewy, doughy fruity mixture. Delicious, but very heavy – I had to share it with friends to be able to get through it all.
I’m having a very enjoyable long Easter weekend so far. On Friday Harvestbird and I went to see a Chilean film at Alice’s, preceded by a walk through the wide open spaces of the ex-CBD. After the movie we went for a very late lunch, sitting outside in the sun and discussing literary theory and the application of narrative to everyday life – a very pleasant afternoon, and it gave me some very helpful new ways to look at the world.
Then on Saturday night I went out for dinner with Jenny and MrJenny – another lovely meal and great conversation. They’re off on holiday to Dunedin this week, so I was sharing my (rather out of date) local knowledge of the best things to do and see (I made sure to direct them to the beach where Skyring nearly tripped over a seal, so they can have their own wildlife close encounter).
Yesterday it was bottling day. Despite my best efforts at muffins and cobblers and eating a huge amount fresh, I still had a large pile of fruit left.
So I set to work making nectarine chutney.
That only used up half the fruit though. I thought about making a second batch, but I didn’t have enough of the other ingredients left, and it being Easter Sunday, the supermarket would have been closed. So I decided to be very brave and attempt some bottling.
I used to help Mum and Dad with bottling fruit all the time when I was a kid, but generally only with the preparing the fruit part – once it got to boiling hot sugar syrup being poured around, I kept out of the way. And my memories of it being a very arcane and esoteric process meant I never tried it for myself as an adult. But here I was with a pile of fruit and plenty of jars and lids I’d already sterilised. So there was only one thing for it – consult the trusty Edmonds book, turn my big stock pot into a water bath, and dive in (metaphorically, that is – literally diving into the stock pot would have been quite painful… and a bit difficult, seeing as it’s only big enough for my head).
Not many photos this time – there was way too much sugar syrup getting spilt around the kitchen for me to want my camera anywhere near!
End result, 11 jars of chutney, and 10 of bottled peaches and nectarines (and only 3 jars that failed to seal, which I’ll have to use up first). That should keep me going for the winter!
The long weekend was rounded off quite nicely (though it’s not actually over yet for me – I’ve got tomorrow off as well) by breakfast with Dad and Stepmother, who were on their way back from Australia. They were staying at a motel just up the road, so we went to a nearby cafe for breakfast, then they dropped me off in Riccarton on their way out of town. After a quick dash into the mall to get a couple of things, I headed to Deans Bush to play with my camera in the gardens.