I have been waiting for these to arrive since I have it on the authority of my friend Sonia, an excellent apricot jam maker, that the French ones are sweeter than the Spanish. So I bought two trays at the Bristol Fruit Market, one for a neighbour, and then we had an anxious wait of five days for them to soften. Eventually they felt ripe to the touch and today I made jam from 2 kilos plus 1 kilo of granulated sugar and the juice of two lemons.
The remainder of the box was transformed into a heavenly apricot and almond ice cream.
750 g apricots halved and stoned
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
10 ratafia biscuits
285 ml whipping cream
Simmer the apricots with the lemon juice and honey until meltingly soft, then puree and sieve and then chill. Put the biscuits and meringues in a small bag and crush with a rolling-pin but leave fairly large chunks. Whisk the cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks then gently fold in the biscuits, meringues and the apricot puree all at the same time. Transfer to a lidded container (this amount made 2 x 1 litre containers) and freeze immediately. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before you plan to eat it to just soften enough. I added the meringues to the recipe to make it a little sweeter and this worked well. The flavour is superb, intensely almondy and the texture gorgeous.
This week I cut white hydrangea, spires of white Linaria, cosmos and eau de cologne mint. The white sweet peas on the allotment have been hit by a virus which I was concerned about a few weeks ago. The plants looked bedraggled, stopped climbing their supports then white splodges appeared on the leaves with absolutely no sign of any flowers. I’ll dig them out and destroy them but I noticed the local florist still has pots of sweet pea seedlings and these I’ll plant in the garden here.
My neighbour’s rose R.Cerise Bouquet, described as a modern shrub growing to 2.50m, has climbed much higher and is supported by the branches of a walnut tree. It looks fantastic especially with a carpet of Campanula poscharskyana next to it on top of the wall. This alpine has seeded itself in every available nook and cranny of the walls and steps along the street and looks very charming against the more sedate architecture.