I’m from the peaches and cream generation.
A few weekends ago, on probably the hottest Sunday Queensland has seen in about 20 years, I was stupidly perusing the halls of the biggest literary haul of the year at the Lifeline Bookfest. Given my shopping stamina is about the size of an almond, in the short 15 minutes I managed to last I stumbled upon a book called Baby Boomer Recipes. It was filled with horrendous recipes like mayonnaise made with condensed milk, Keens mustard and vinegar and got me thinking about the classic old school dishes that I grew up with.
Reading through that book made me feel like I grew up in the 50’s. I’m not sure if my parents just had a soft spot for corned beef fritters and Sheppard’s pie, or it was just that these classic staples were kind on the budget, but as much as we like to think it, food trends don’t really change that much over time. I’m certainly not serving up tuna mornay every second night but moving away from the exciting convenience foods and meat and veg dinner plates of the post- war era is going to take more than the lure of newly exotic Kantong Asian dinner in a box.
I was never made to eat everything at tea time and if I wanted to leave my bangers and mash untouched, that was fine. I always hear stories about kids being made to sit for hours at the dinner table, pushing around cold, stale peas around the plate waiting for the final permission to leave the table. Maybe in those houses the lure of some elaborate pudding or tower of jelly made the wait and the ordeal worthwhile, but in our house dessert was nothing worth struggling through soggy carrots for.
Peaches and custard or tinned Golden Circle fruit salad and icecream were on the very small rotation list of after dinner sweets. I remember the exciting night where I was allowed to add a spoon of Milo to my plain vanilla icecream and will never forget the time my dad topped his with honey. As you can see, dessert time in our household was off the chain.
Now that I’m an adult, and could have my freezer stocked with as much Milo covered icecream as my heart desired, dessert is rarely more than a bliss ball or a few spoons of yogurt. For those nights I crave a little more I’m reverting back to my roots and reinventing a classic. The peaches are also great for breakfast on top of your morning bircher
Tea and thyme poached peaches, almond milk anglaise and granita
Peaches: 4 peaches, cut in half and skin left on – I used both yellow and white
600ml black tea, brewed to your liking
3 tbs raw honey
4 springs of thyme, left whole
½ star anise
500ml almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs honey
1. Combine tea, honey, thyme and star anise in a saucepan and bring to the boil
2. Reduce to a simmer and add peaches, skin side up
3. Simmer gently until soft, then let cool in poaching liquid
4. Drain liquid into a shallow container and freeze for at least 3 hours
5. Gently pinch the peaches and pull away skin
6. Combine almond milk, vanilla and honey in a small clean saucepan and bring to the boil, then take off the heat
7. Combine egg and half of the cornflour in mixing bowl
8. Add the hot milk mixture all at once, whisking quickly until combined
9. Return mixture to saucepan along with remaining cornflour which has been mixed with 1tsp warm water
10. Cook anglaise until mixture coats the back of the spoon and cool
11. To serve, divide anglaise amongst serving dishes, top with peaches and granita which has been made by gently scraping the frozen poaching liquid with a fork