Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Plum & Blue/Blackberry Melba

Peach Melba is a classic dessert consisting of a poached-in-syrup, vanilla-ice-cream-filled peach-half dressed with raspberry sauce. Simple but scrumptious at the same time, it's wonderful on a late-summer day, echoing the season's mellowing towards autumn. However, there were only plums along with blue and blackberries available from our potager. The smaller plum pinch-hitting for a peach meant a reasonable serving can consist of both halves, hence, two different ice cream flavours could be chosen without any loss of decorum.

Scoops of vanilla & coffee ice cream topped with peeled plums and blue/blackberry coulis

Plums, unlike peaches, when very ripe, can be peeled without poaching. The plum I used was so ripe, it resembled a small, water-filled purple balloon. Once halved and pitted, its skin was eased off with a sharp knife. Not poaching the plum means this version is easier and quicker to make than the original while augmenting its fresh impact.

Variety of plum is d'Ente which is often dried to make prunes

Put a handful of berries (three-quarters blackberries, the rest blueberries) in a sieve placed over a bowl. Squash them first between your fingers, then finish mashing them with a fork against the strainer. Sweeten the juice to taste with confectioner's/powdered sugar. Position a scoop of vanilla ice cream next to one of coffee on a dessert plate. Drape a plum-half over each and douse with berry coulis. Garnish with a few berries.

Instead of filling the halves, topping with plums allows for much more ice cream!

Here's the vanilla ice cream.

It brightens the heavier flavours of plum and berries

And the coffee ice cream.

Coffee, blackberry & plum comprise a heady trio

Halfway through eating, I unexpectedly heard myself exclaiming, this is the best dessert I have ever had. The words were uttered, it seemed, on their own accord. And I doubt that my experience will be duplicated. Perfection often can't be repeated. The ripeness, temperature, depth of flavour of the fruits, proportion of ingredients, and other variables like the eater's sensory perception and psychological state at the moment are all an one-off. But I am sure that any future ones will be pretty good! Who knows, I may tempt fate and add a splash of fruity red wine to the coulis.

Ice cream well marbled with berry coulis & a glistening chunk of plum

In the potager, Joie de la Table, a French variety, carries its medium-sized tomatoes en grappes (in clusters).

The Calm One's tomato structure has proven worthy:  all 12 tuteurs are holding their own

Haricots verts (green beans) flowered well, and now, tiny, adorable pods are beginning to form. Since they grow so fast, it's important to check daily so they are picked before becoming fibrous and, therefore, less delectable.

Growing your own makes it possible to harvest green beans at their most tender

Corno di Toro Rosso red peppers are impressive in their size and taste. This Italian variety is piquant and juicy. Hopefully, enough will mature by the end of September so tons of Roasted Sweet Red Pepper & Garlic Spread/Dip can be made.

Shaped like a bull's horn (per its name), this particular pepper is nearly a foot (30 cm) long

Honeysuckle continues to flower as it wraps itself over a heap of slow-decomposing prunings from trees and shrubs. Their incomparable and exceeding lovely fragrance makes bringing garden and kitchen detritus to a nearby fast-compost pile a delight.


NOTE:  Souped-up Garden will be taking a two-week break. See you then!

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Musings about Peach Melba and my attempt to make it