There is something special about cooking with stone fruit. Eaten raw, they can sometimes disappoint; catching an apricot or peach at its best is a moment to cherish as it is actually quite rare. Cooking with them, then – teasing their sweetness on the charcoal grill, for example, or cooking them in a pan with sugar and spices – is a guaranteed way to achieve the delicious. As for the cherries, it just feels like a luxury to eat them after they’ve been pitted!
Grilled Apricot, Honey, and Goat Cheese Dip (pictured above)
Sweet and sour, perfumed yet bold, a perfect apricot in season can really transform a dish. This will work wonders as a canape, as a light lunch for two on toast, or simply as an appetizer to share.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Serves 4-6, as a starter, with delicious bread
½ tbsp vegetable oil
4 apricots (160g)perfectly ripe, pitted and quartered
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 lemonzest grated, to get 1½ tsp, and squeezed, to get 2 tbsp
1 tbsp olive oil
50 g fresh or frozen and thawed peas
2 tbsp mint leavescoarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dillcoarsely chopped
20 g walnutsroasted and crushed
⅛ teaspoon aleppo chili flakes
For the goat cheese dip
150 grams goat cheesepeel removed (120g)
120 g ricotta
Flakes of salt and black pepper
First marinate the apricots. Place a grill pan on medium heat and ventilate the kitchen. Lightly grease the pan with oil, then add the apricots and grill for three minutes on each side, until soft and charred. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and oil to make the marinade. Add the apricots and let cool completely.
For the dip, crumble the goat cheese in a small food processor, along with the lemon zest, ricotta and one eighth teaspoon of salt flakes. Blitz for 45 seconds, scraping the sides, until fully incorporated. Remove and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bring a small pan of salted water to a boil. Add the peas, blanch for 15 seconds, drain and submerge in ice water to cool quickly. Once cooled, drain and set aside.
To serve, scoop the dip into the center of a large, shallow bowl or plate. Make a well in the center with the back of a spoon. Drain the apricots and reserve the marinade. Place the apricots in a large bowl with the peas, herbs, walnuts, chilli, 1/4 teaspoon salt flakes and a generous amount of black pepper, toss gently and scoop into the well. Serve with a tablespoon of the marinade drizzled over it.
Leg of lamb with peach chutney and cumin oil
This lightly spiced, sweet and savory chutney is delicious with cold meats or a cheese board. If you like, you can make extra and store in airtight jars for up to a week. Swap out the rump for chops or another cut that you can easily grill or flash.
Preparation 25 minutes
marinate 1 hour +
Cook 35 minutes
For the peach chutney
45 g demerara sugar
60 ml cider vinegar
1 red pepperfinely chopped (10 g), pitted if you prefer less heat
15 g gingerpeeled and finely grated
3 peachespit removed, flesh cut into 1cm pieces
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Salt and black pepper
For the lamb
2 leg of lamb (500g)
4 cloves of garlicpeeled and crushed
1 lemongrated, to get 1 tsp, and squeezed to get 1½ tbsp
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp cumin seedsslightly bruised
3 spring onionstrimmed and finely chopped
10 g picked parsleyfinely sliced
1 teaspoon aleppo chile
1 tbsp salt flakes
Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the sugar, vinegar, chilli and ginger. Stir and cook for four minutes until syrupy and bubbling. Add the peaches, black mustard and a quarter teaspoon salt and cook for another five minutes, until soft but not completely broken down. Set aside to cool and thicken.
To marinate the lamb, place the lamb, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl with one and a half teaspoons of salt and well-ground pepper. Mix well and marinate for an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 240C (220C Fan)/465F/Gas 9. Rub a tablespoon of oil into the lamb and place in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place the leg of lamb, fat side down, and cook for three to four minutes, until deep golden brown. Now sear the lamb for two to three minutes on each side and then put it in the oven for six minutes – this will turn the lamb legs into medium-rare, so give them plus or minus two minutes in the oven, depending on the desired doneness. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining one and a half tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and, once hot, add the cumin and remove from heat. Stir in a pinch of salt and let it cool.
Combine the spring onion, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the lamb diagonally into 1½ cm thick slices and place on a platter. Drizzle over the cumin oil and sprinkle with the aleppo chili and three-quarters teaspoon of flake salt. Divide the spring onion salsa on top and serve with the peach chutney on the side.
Roasted Tenderstem broccoli with cherry and ancho ezme
Ezme is a spicy spice from Turkey that goes perfectly with grilled meat. The rich sweetness of seasonal cherries pairs wonderfully with the bitter heat of ancho peppers in this non-traditional twist.
Preparation 30 minutes
Cook 55 minutes
Serves 2 as a side dish, or 4 as part of a meze spread
50 g tahini
1½ tbsp lemon juice
300g tenderbroccoli stem
1 red pepper (10g)cut into thin rounds (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion (90g)thin sliced
1½ tbsp coriandercoarsely chopped
1½ tbsp parsleycoarsely chopped
½ tablespoon sesame seedsroasted
For the cherry molasses
200 g cherriesstems and seeds removed (170 g net), quartered
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 ancho chili (15 g), washed; stem, veins and seeds removed
Start by making the cherry molasses. Place half of the cherries, vinegar, sugar, ancho chili and three tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the cherries are glossy and soft and the liquid has evaporated to a syrup. Place in a medium bowl and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tahini, half a tablespoon of lemon juice, 50 ml of water and one-eighth teaspoon of salt until smooth and set aside. Set the oven grill to the grill position and place an ovenproof grill pan or roasting tray on the top shelf. Chop the broccoli, remove the woody bits and toss in a bowl with the red pepper, a tablespoon of oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Carefully place on the griddle pan and grill for two minutes on each side, until lightly charred and slightly softer.
Meanwhile, remove the ancho chili from the cherries, chop finely and return to the bowl with the remaining cherries and oil, red onion, herbs and a quarter teaspoon salt. Mix well.
Arrange the broccoli in the center of a large plate, sprinkle with the tahini and spoon the ezme on top. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.