The height of summer is such a wonderful time to cook because the produce is so flavourful that little needs to done to make tasty meals. When glorious fruit and veg grow at a faster rate than I can consume them, I start preserving. Admittedly, not because I love the process but because I don't want to let go of the flavours - I lock them in a jar - hoping that later, I can be transported to my favourite time of year. The simplicity of this recipe is a bit of a revelation because it treats the fruit gently, the stone fruits remain firm and the grapes become plump and juicy with the warm flavours of the spices.
Adapted from Rachel Roddy
6 cups of water
2 cups of castor sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
1 stalk of fennel pollen (alternatively, use a small pinch of seeds)
12 black peppercorns
Rind of 2 lemons, cut into thick strips
4 white peaches
a medium bunch of good quality purple grapes
Wash all the fruit. Cut the apricots in half and remove the stones. Cut the white peaches in quarters and remove the stones. Take the grapes off the stem.
In a large heavy based saucepan, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit and simmer for 6 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit into a large preserving jar (or divide into smaller jars) and pour the syrup over the fruit. Keep the jar in the fridge and eat as desired. Sublime with yoghurt or ricotta on toast.