Grilled Peaches, Pashmak and Ice Cream
When I think of modern Australian cuisine, the word "fresh" leaps to mind. Perhaps it's the bevy of Aussie chefs who go on any chance they get about how fresh, seasonal produce makes for the most luscious, tasty food ("Fresh" is quite possibly Kylie Kwong's favourite word -- at one press event I heard her say the word four times in one very long sentence; Neil Perry calls his line of bottled sauces and marinades "Fresh" and he'll tell you that "just because you are time poor, doesn't mean you have to compromise on freshness and flavour"). Not that there's no truth to that. Indeed, Mod Oz cuisine truly is the finest testament that fresh, seasonal produce and flavours is well, best.
These peaches, carted home by CL's mum from their trip to Sydney, are a perfect example of Australia's bountiful harvests. Sweet, plump and perfumed, they were lusciously delicious on their own. But if there's anything I like better than fresh peaches, it's grilled peaches. I love the way the heat caramelises the sugars to render them mellower and those sexy grill marks they leave on the peaches' saffron flesh. For a luxurious touch, I spooned over a generous helping of vanilla ice cream and topped it with a handful of saffron pashmak. Pashmak, by the way, is Persian fairy floss, which CL and I adore and consume in vast quantities when either of us gets a chance to pick up a bag (or three) from Jones the Grocer in Sydney. Unlike regular fairy floss, pashmak is silkier and has a mild, elegant nutty sweetness. On this trip, CL brought three packets home in chocolate, vanilla and the aforementioned saffron. Sadly, she couldn't stay to devour the lot with me, so they sit in the darkness of my cupboard while I munch on them slowly — neat or on top of ice cream. I'm still thinking of other ways to use in them desserts. Suggestions are welcome :-)