While there’s nothing better than plum juice running down your chin or crunching on a wedge of watermelon next to the pool, recipes will always come in handy when your fruit bowl is looking a little limp and you need to use all twelve of your peaches, pronto. We compiled some great ideas on how to pickle, bake, slice and spice up your summer fruit.
• Add a bit of colour to your homemade vinaigrette by adding a handful of blueberries. Shake it well and to season to taste.
• Blueberries make a lovely compote to drizzle over cheese or to revive the weekend’s chocolate cake. In a small saucepan simply mix a few handfuls of berries, a stick of cinnamon and a vanilla pod with a cup of berry juice or flavoured vodka. Bring it to a gentle simmer and then leave it to bubble away until the berries start absorbing the flavours and become nice and plump. Spoon over the cheese/reheated cake and serve immediately.
• For a pretty dessert that looks like it took hours, mix lemon curd and cream cheese and drop big spoonfuls into ready-made tart cases. Top with blueberries and raspberries and dust with icing sugar.
• Make beautiful and delicious blueberry truffles by gently heating 200g dark chocolate, 50g butter and 125ml double cream. Cool it in the fridge until it begins to set. Now take a little bit of the chocolate mixture and a few blueberries in your hand and gently roll into a ball. Toss in cocoa powder and eat/serve/wrap.
• Try this panettone and berry terrine.
• Make French toast with brie and boozy vanilla bean berry compote.
• Pound fresh figs, olive oil, garlic and a few anchovy fillets (soaked in cold water to remove the salt) to make a delicious spread that’s perfect for warm ciabatta or bruschetta.
• Make a quick summer salad by combining fresh figs, sliced nectarines, fresh mint and wild rocket, and drizzling with a mixture of lime juice and olive oil.
• Sliced ripe figs, dollops of cream cheese, strips of Parma ham and a few torn basil leaves are the perfect topping for tagliatelle or toasted ciabatta.
• Roasted figs and butternut sprinkled with cinnamon, brown sugar and olive oil make a beautiful, delicious side dish that’s particularly good with pork chops.
• Poach figs in liqueur and serve with crème fraîche and freshly cracked black pepper.
• Make this free-form sweet fig and ricotta tart, with a hint of vanilla and golden pastry.
• Try char-grilled salmon with litchi and cucumber salad.
• Muddled litchis and a squirt of honey turn classic mojitos into exotic sunset drinks.
• For a beautiful seasonal smoothie, blend a handful of litchis, a dash of rosewater, a cup of clear apple juice and some ice.
• Make a refreshing summer salad by combining peeled litchis with chunks of ripe avocado and fresh coriander. Drizzle with a mixture of lime juice, avocado oil, crushed ginger and garlic, and thinly sliced, fresh chilli.
• Add some freshness to your stir-fries by adding bits of litchi at the end of the cooking process.
• This take on the Eton mess with litchis instead of strawberries is light and fresh.
• Make these simple litchi, vanilla bean and yoghurt ice pops.
• Mango chutney is easy to make and is a delicious accompaniment to roast meat, duck or charcuterie, or can be spread on gourmet sandwiches. Simply fry chilli and mustard seeds in oil for a minute, add chopped mangoes, vinegar and castor sugar. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for just under an hour until it’s very thick. Pour into sterilised jars and set aside to cool.
• Mango salsa is perfect with salmon or gammon. Combine chopped mangoes with deseeded and sliced chilli, lime juice, finely chopped red onion, shredded mint leaves, crushed garlic and a shredded lime leaf. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• Meaty mangoes are perfect for meat-free Monday meals, like this lettuce, mango and mozzarella wrap. (It’s equally good as a big salad.)
• Got freshly caught tuna? Simply sear it and serve it with handfuls of rocket and slivers of ripe mango. Squeeze a lime over it and season.
• Mango lends great flavour to roast chicken. Add the fresh mango along with garlic, onion, thyme and seasoning (as per a standard roast chicken recipe) and use mango juice instead of stock.
• Try this refreshing fruity take on a classic vodka cocktail, the mango and chilli mule.
• Overripe or dried peaches can easily be turned into chutney, which is perfect for moreish sandwiches, to marinade meat or to add to curries.
• For a decadent breakfast, poach peaches in cranberry juice. Top warm brioche or French toast with the peaches and syrup, and serve with crème fraîche.
• Peaches are perfect for summer salads – especially when combined with crisp leaves, mint, goat’s cheese and caramelised macadamia nuts. Alternatively, try this beautiful white peach and salami salad or this grilled cling peach and pea salad.
• Sliced peaches, chunks of mozzarella, pistachios, basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil make a delicious topping for warm flatbreads.
• Roasted pork asks for a peachy salsa. Make it by tearing ripe peaches into chunks and mixing them with roughly chopped coriander, a fresh chopped red chilli and lemon juice.
• For a zesty meat-free Monday, try this plum and feta tabouleh.
• This smoothie with plums, pistachio nuts and pomegranate rubies is good enough for dessert.
• Plums make an interesting addition to a roast chicken with rosemary and garlic. Only add the plums for the second half of the cooking process.
• The fruit can add a bit of extra juiciness and flavour to lamb shanks. Use your normal recipe and herbs like rosemary and thyme, but add halved plums to the casserole for the whole cooking process.
• Make a simple sambal of plums, onion and mint for serving alongside curry or fish.
• Plum tartlets, plum cake, plum tarte tatin… In terms of baked desserts, the options are endless. Most recipes calling for apple or berries would work just as well with plums.
• Make hot days a bit more bearable with watermelon lollies. Simply mix chunks of peeled and deseeded melon in a food processor. Transfer to another bowl, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whisk until smooth. Pour into moulds and freeze for four hours or until set.
• For a cool take on prawn cocktail, combine the cooked, peeled prawns with small blocks of watermelon. Drizzle with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, castor sugar, salt and pepper. Crumble feta over the top and garnish with basil leaves.
• Combine smoked or seared salmon with blocks of watermelon, watercress and caper berries dressed with flavoured balsamic vinegar for a lovely light lunch.
• Chunks of watermelon topped with crumbled feta and sprigs of mint make a simple, delicious side salad for a summer braai – especially with lamb. To make the salad more Christmassy, cut the watermelon with star-shaped cookie cutters.
• Make a refreshing drink by blending peeled, deseeded watermelon, apple juice, mint leaves and ice cubes. Add a few shots of vodka or rum for a more festive twist.
By Anelde Greeff and Linda Scarborough