Thursday, 17 July 2014

More Roussanne Peaches

They are giant, juicy, ruby red and adored by bees, hornets, chickens and us. The competition is tough because as they ripen and fall, they are gobbled up by Mary rooster in less than 5 minutes and a dozen bees in 10. We have to be very vigilant or pick the fruit before they are ripe. Last week our local orchard delivered some to our AMAP, this week I have my own and next week I will have remnants and compote to remember them.

Despite nearly a month of heavy downpours, fruit is over-plentiful this summer. I don`t know what to do with all these peaches as I`m not a fan of jam but honey.  Plums are beginning to ripe and it looks like we`ll have enough to feed the american army.  The vegetable garden is in two minds about the weather with the squash celebrating every drop of rain, kale growing tall, beetroots juicing up but the tomatoes are terribly black and an hour has to be passed each day depriving them of the last of their leaves and fruit that have succumbed to this early and deadly mildew.

Billy the chicken severed her ties with three new chicks at five weeks old so I had to take over as she returned to Mary her man, egg making, walking sideways and being top chicken. She left these fluffy, barely feathered neophytes to the perils of nature and within 24 hours one of the sweetest was whisked off by a hawk  in full view of us all.  I`m now expected to spend my days teaching two lost babies how to find food, water and avoid snakes, birds and Lulu the cat.

We bought two new calves and the latest is sweeter than any peach possible. Jana is six months old, licks faces and polished toes and can knock you over with a hug.

 Isis is more reserved but plays protective older sister to her sibling which is essential when Granny is around. What used to be Maidelena is now just plain Granny, who rules the fields like Stalin once ruled Siberia - badly!

If we need to just pass through the field to go mushrooming we need to present a bucket of hay to the Granny or otherwise there is no passage. If another cow or calf is favoured, she will get a bruising from old grumpys` horns but then again she is the doyenne of the fields and is respected by all the others and even gets to be licked from head to toe by her minions each evening before sundown...

Roasted Peach and Almond Tart

250g homemade Puff Pastry
50g softened Butter
50g Cane Sugar
50g powdered Almonds
1 large Egg
2 tbsp fresh Cream
1 tsp Rum
6 fat Peaches
1 tsp Sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix the butter, sugar, almonds, egg, rum and cream together. Keep in the fridge till needed. Cut the peaches into six parts. Roll out the puff pastry and place in a 30cm tart tin. Spread the almond paste over the pastry and position the peach pieces in a swirling pattern on top. Cook for 30 minutes and cool before serving.

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