There used to be two things that my mum would regularly commission from me for breakfast on Christmas morning. The first (strawberry daiquiris) has been banned from Riches family festive proceedings since 2006 due to the fact that everyone was so smashed by 10.00 a.m. that Christmas lunch became all but impossible. We now have a vastly more civilised Campari and orange and / or champagne cocktail while we open presents which seems to make it easier to get to the post – pudding glass of Benedictine.The other thing is my peaches poached in rose geranium syrup.
I got the idea of cooking with rose geranium while working for a friend who ran a business making exquisite ice-creams and sorbets. It really is gorgeous, like turkish delight without the sugar. This is an absurdly simple dish and the only difficulty lies in finding some rose geranium. You can’t buy it from a regular grocer so I have some of my own growing happily on my deck. Make sure the peaches are almost ripe and poach them until just tender. This ensures the best chance of the skin staying in good condition. The skin isn’t good to eat but I like to keep it on for presentation because they blush the colour of sunset when cooked and look very beautiful served with a dollop of the pink syrup in a white bowl. I like white peaches more to eat but the ordinary yellow peaches look prettier.
Rose geranium peaches
- Firm, almost ripe white or yellow peaches, skin in good condition (1 per person)
- Quantity of light sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 2 parts water) – enough to cover your peaches.
- 1 large or 2 small sprigs of rose geranium leaves or flowers, washed
To make your sugar syrup stir together the sugar and cold water in a heavy based pan until the sugar is dissolved. Bring it to the boil and then drop it back to a gentle simmer. Add the rose geranium leaves and simmer very gently for 5 – 10 minutes. Do not boil the syrup too hard or the rose geranium will turn a bit bitter. Gently add your peaches and simmer gently, covered, until peaches are just tender. You can stir them once or twice but be careful not to break the skin. When tender, remove the peaches from the syrup and allow the peaches and syrup to cool separately. Remove the rose geranium from the syrup and gently return the peaches to the cooled syrup. The peaches will keep quite well in a sealed, sterilised jar.