Peaches poached in red wine

During late august the prices of peaches falls very quickly. At the end of august you can normally buy fresh peaches for about 20p each. However, most peaches are quite hard and take a long time to ripen. Normally they do not ripen, but just go mouldy instead. Poaching peaches in red wine deals with this problem - hard peaches work better when poaching peaches in red wine because the peach holds its structure better and does not fall appart in the cooking pan.

Buy some peaches. This time of year they should be about 20p each. With a vegetable peeler, remove the peel, and cut the peach in half with a knife. Remove the stone and discard. You can quarter the peaches at this point, but I normally cook halves.

Find a pan that matches the number of peaches you are cooking and place the peaches in. Add red wine until the peaches float. Add about a tablespoon of sugar per peach.

Turn up the heat and bring it to the boil. Drop in a clove or two, or a pinch of mixed spice.

Turn the heat down and put a lid on the pan. Let the peaches simmer. The cooking time can be anywhere between half an hour and 3 hours. I normally plump for somewhere around 1 to 2 hours.

Carefully remove the peaches and let them cool a bit. Boil the pan furiously until the sauce has reduced and then pour a bit over the peaches. A blob of cream or homemade homebrew icecream will finish the dish nicely.

If you feel brave and want something unusual.. get some Roquefort cheese and mix it up with a few crumbled walnuts. Use this to stuff the top of the peaches (in the hole where the stone was) just before you serve them. A very odd combination, but some of my friends love it!

You can keep the rest of the cooking sauce in the fridge for several days and use it next time you make this recipe, just add more red wine as required.

Actually, if you reduce it a lot, you end up with a sort of runny jam which is lovely to dip toast in for breakfast!

THis is a proper seasonal recipe - enjoy it a couple of times a year when peaches are in season, but don't ruin it by trying to make it in March.