Peaches and nectarines
Oh, to be in either Spain or Italy when the peaches are ripe and fragrant and just about to fall from the trees.
The peach, beloved of artists, is a beauteous thing, with its deep-crimson, rosy bloom and voluptuous bright-yellow flesh oozing with juice. When we're lucky enough to eat them just like that – ready, ripe and warm from the sun – we need have no thought of recipes. But in this country, where peaches can't be grown on a large scale, we have to suffer tired imports picked too early, so that once the hard flesh becomes soft enough it has often turned woolly, dry and tasteless.
Both nectarines and peaches come with white flesh, but the yellow, in my opinion, has more flavour.
However, unripened peaches and their first cousin, nectarines, can be somewhat rescued in cooking, so poaching them is a good idea.
This wonderful summery compote is a great way to use up a glut of fruit if you grow your own or find some reduced in the shops. The joy of it is that you can use any fruit you like.
Predominantly fruit, this is a healthy summery dessert to serve to dieters who often feel they miss out on the pudding front. You can use any fruit combination you like - the lemon grass adds a subtle and intriguing element.
Completely irresistible, this wonderful pudding features a layer of ripe, juicy peaches topped with a cloud of fluffy almond sponge. Pudding heaven!
Jellies are always a good bet in the summer months, when all you really want is something light and refreshing. The joy of these is that they can also be made in advance, so are ideal when entertaining.
Peaches and Amaretti have a great affinity, put to good use here in this gorgeous dessert recipe, adapted by Delia from one of her all-time favourite cookbooks.
Perfect for late-summer entertaining, this wonderful dessert has to be made in advance, leaving you stress-free on the day! The combination of fresh apricots, Marsala and mascarpone cream is utterly sublime.
Pickled peaches are a brilliant way of keeping that summery feeling going all year round: perfect with cold meats and especially cheeses, these bottled fruits are certain to become a yearly tradition.