Search This Blog

Monday, April 7, 2008

The early morning collision of the seasons

I love stone fruit.

Every year, despite not being a heat-tolerant kind of girl in general (perhaps something to do with my all-too-easily burnt skin every time I go outside!), I eagerly await the summer arrival of peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums, along with their myriad variations and cross-breeds. Admittedly, I usually get so excited by my first sighting of summer fruit in the stores that I buy up these early arrivals and am inevitably disappointed by their lacklustre taste and texture. One day I may learn my lesson - these imposter fruits must be put on the shelves simply to tease us with their outer beauty...

Nevertheless, the season goes on and the fruit, in most cases, gets better. And although we're pretty well at the tail end of stone fruit for this year, I did pick up some gorgeous plums at my local greengrocer this week.

So what about the collision of the seasons post title for today? Well, summer's been covered above, but with the slightly cooler weather over the past few days it seems my appetite was also whet for a bit of winter warming - thus a breakfast combination of tart and juicy poached plums with soft and comforting porridge was in order. It's probably not the most common of food marriages (stewed apples or rhubarb coming to mind more as fruits to serve with porridge), however if you haven't tried it I can assure you that there's something a bit inexplicably special about the combination.

Not so much a recipe, really, then - more of a general idea/guide: I quarter and stone the fruit, adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar, some vanilla bean paste (or a split whole bean if you have one) and a tiny splash of water. If I'm feeling impatient, they go on the stovetop over a low-medium heat until they collapse (a lid on the pan will quicken things further, but you will end up with a mushier finished product); on a slower-paced day I'll bake them (uncovered at around 170C) instead to retain more of the shape and texture and give a more syrupy, reduced liquid.

As for the porridge part, I will probably horrify some of you by admitting that I always cook my porridge in the microwave! Though a microwave does NOT do appropriate justice to the end result of most dishes - no matter what the manufacturers will tell you in those little 'recipe' books that accompany the machines - I make an exception for porridge as I'm generally in a huge hurry first thing and it's just plain easier without too much of a flavour compromise. I use 1/3 cup oats (normal, not quick-cook), 1/3 cup milk and 1/3 cup water - easy enough for pre-coffee brains! A couple of minutes on high, stir, then another minute or so to get the consistency you like. If you like sugar in yours, add it after the first cooking burst, although personally I prefer honey and stir it through at the end of cooking.

Enjoy your fruity, warming breakfast as is, or be especially indulgent and add a big dollop of thick Greek-style yoghurt...there's something very appealing about the cold creaminess offset against the tart, warm fruit that always wakes me up.

No comments: