Peachy recipes for scorching summer days

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Biting into a sun-warmed, fuzzy peach is one of summer’s great rites of passage.

But adding a few summery flavours to them when you’re cooking with them can lift your peaches to the next level. Lavender, ginger, lime and chilli all work surprisingly well with the succulent sweetness of peach. They are as good in sweet recipes as in savoury, working well with nuts, avocado and rich ingredients such as halloumi or chorizo.

Here are three recipes that showcase the versatility of this quintessential summer fruit, from breakfast to the barbecue.

Peach, berry and lavender breakfast crumble (serves 3-4)

This is one of my favourite breakfast or brunch recipes in summer. It’s quick to whip up on a lazy weekend morning, and leftovers reheat well in the oven or microwave. Lavender and peaches work so well together – in my mind they are the essence of summer, evoking Provençal landscapes and Mediterranean heat.

  • 4 large, just-ripe peaches, stoned and thinly sliced (peel if you wish – I leave the skin on)
  • 200g black/redcurrants, blueberries or raspberries (stalks removed if using currants)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh lavender flowers
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 150g jumbo oats
  • 40g rye or spelt flour
  • 4 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C

2. Put the peaches and berries/currants in a medium baking dish (around 25-30cm in diameter) and toss with the cornflour, lemon juice, ginger, lavender and brown sugar

3. In a bowl, mix together the oats, flour, flaked almonds, mixed spice and salt

4. In a small jug, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla or almond extract and water, then stir this into the oat mixture until evenly combined

4. Scatter this over the fruit and stir gently once or twice so that most of it is still on top

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the juices are thick and bubbling, and the topping is golden and crunchy

6. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving, with a dollop of Greek yoghurt

Griddled peach, chorizo and almond salad with avocado and spinach (serves 2)

A fabulously fresh summer combination, full of fruit and greens but with a smoky savoury hit from the chorizo. The combination of griddled peach, creamy avocado, buttered almonds and a tangy vinaigrette is everything you need on a hot summer evening.

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of sugar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Half a red onion, very thinly sliced
  • A couple of large handfuls of baby spinach (plus other greens such as rocket, if you like)
  • 2 ripe but firm peaches
  • 200g chorizo (preferably the cooking kind, not the ready-to-eat kind), thickly sliced
  • 80g whole almonds (blanched or skin-on)
  • 1 avocado, de-stoned and cubed into large chunks
  • A small bunch of fresh basil, leaves torn

1. Make a simple vinaigrette by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, mustard and seasoning, then taste to check the balance – you may want it a little more sour or oily

2. Put the dressing in a large bowl with the red onion and toss well – this will soften the onion and make it a little less strong, while you prep the rest of the salad

3. Slice the peaches into thick wedges, removing the stone

4. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and brush lightly with oil. Griddle the peach slices on each side until nicely charred, then set aside

5. Place a medium frying pan over a moderate heat. When hot, add the chorizo (you don’t need any extra oil as chorizo has plenty of its own). Cook the slices on both sides until crispy and sizzling, then remove and set aside on some kitchen paper

6.  Cook the almonds in the chorizo oil until lightly golden, then set aside too

7. Place the spinach/greens in the bowl with the red onion and dressing

8. Add the chorizo, almonds and peaches and toss well, then finish by adding the avocado and basil and toss gently again

Halloumi wraps with blackened corn and chilli & lime peach relish (serves 2)

Another good quick summer dinner, this is also great if you have a barbecue going and some vegetarian guests. The halloumi crisps up in seconds over hot coals, and then you just need to make the relish, blacken the corn and warm up some flatbreads.

  • 2 ripe peaches
  • Zest of 1 lime and juice of half
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, grated
  • A small handful of both basil and mint, leaves finely shredded
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 block halloumi
  • Crunchy lettuce such as baby gem, roughly torn
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 large Middle Eastern-style flatbreads or wraps/tortillas

1. Start with the relish – chop the peach into 1cm cubes, toss with the lime zest and juice, chilli, sugar, ginger and herbs. Taste and adjust if needed, then set aside for around half an hour for the flavours to mingle

2. For the blackened corn, either barbecue the whole corn on the cob until charred, or slice off the kernels and pan-fry them over a high heat with 1 tbsp rapeseed oil until slightly blackened and starting to pop. Mix with the lime juice, chilli flakes and seasoning and set aside

3. Cut the halloumi into slices around 1.5 cm thick. Cook on the barbecue or on a hot frying pan until golden and slightly crispy on each side

4. To serve, warm the wraps/tortillas in a hot pan or over the barbecue. Pile each one with crunchy lettuce, the hot halloumi, blackened corn, avocado and a generous helping of peach relish. Devour – you will need napkins!