Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peach Melba

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, July 31, 2010

I was very ecstatic when Ivy, a journalist with The Star Newspaper approached me for my opinion regarding an article they are planning to write on. It is for an article which comes with a theme and will be published every Monday in a cooking column of the paper. The coming up theme was set to be canned food and Ivy would love to hear what is my favourite canned food dish and why. Here's what I have to say:

My favourite canned food would have to be canned peaches. The celestial combination of peaches with both sweet and savoury dishes will have you yearning for more.From savoury dish such as Chicken Confit with Peach Purée to sweet things in life such as Peach tart, canned peaches definitely capture the essence of summer, albeit it being winter here Down Under!

The link is found here and below is a clip form the paper itself.

On top of that, I am also posting this easy and an all-time Aussie-French favourite recipe with canned peaches. This is Peach Melba and Wikipedia has a good write-up on the history of this dish. In a nutshell, a 118 years ago, a French Chef named Auguste Escoffier who works for the London's Savoy Hotel, created a dish known as the Peach Melba. He was very much inspired to do so after seeing the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, perform in Covent Garden. It is also fun to know that January 13 is National Peach Melba Day in the States.

The Peach Melba is nothing more than poached peaches served with good scoops of vanilla ice cream and a good raspberry coulis. The colour combination is so vibrant and yet the flavour comes through so well. Escoffier definitely executed this dessert well.

This is my version and instead of just poaching peaches, I've chosed to used canned peaches and infused it in a thyme-vanilla syrup. Not very original but this is how I like it. I added a touch of lemon juice because I felt the sudden acidic punch would bring out a burst of flavour from the tart raspberry and sweet golden peaches. I also made a French Vanilla Ice Cream to pair with it. You can use store-bought stuffs but I really just like making things from scratch. However, canned peaches is the only thing I always have in my pantry. Maybe I just don't like the idea of poaching and peeling stuffs. I hate peeling peaches and tomatoes, for some reasons. Yes, I know I have issues!

Anyway, feel free to tweek the recipe, you can add in a good splash of dessert wine such as Moscato or something stronger such as Cabernet Sauvignon and omit the water. For those with real sweet tooth, feel free to add more sugar but I've used the canned syrup to poach so it is sweet enough for me. Finally, a classic Peach Melba should be serve with dollops of ice cream in a glass, with peach slices or peach halves scattered on top and the whole lot dribbled with raspberry coulis but on this occasion, for better presentation and photo purpose, I've chosed to plate it the way I think it will look presentable. Feel free to play around, it is in no way affecting the taste, though I believe people always eat with their eyes first.

Peach Melba
(makes enough to serve 2 to 3 people as an after meal dessert)

One punnet of fresh raspberries (120g)
One canned peaches in syrup (450g)
1/2 vanilla bean (you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste instead)
2 tbsp castor sugar
1/4 cup water or wine
1/2 cup of peach syrup from the can
1/2 a small lemon
1 small sprig of lemon, juiced
1 tbsp castor sugar
Softly whipped Cream, to serve (optional)
French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, to serve

Place the water, peach syrup, lemon and its juice and the sprig of thyme in a small pot with a lid. Scrap the seeds from the vanilla pod with a tip of a small sharp knife and place the scraped seeds and the pod into the pot as well. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. When boiling, let it cook for a minute or two and remove it from heat. Drain the peaches completely of its syrup and place it into the pot. Cover with the lid and let it infuse for 30mins or so, flipping it once in a while and giving the whole pot with lid on a good shake to coat the peaches with the flavoured syrup.

Drain the peaches and reserve the liquid. Use 2 tbsp of the reserved liquid and blitz with the punnet of raspberries using a food processor until fine puree form. Pass it through a strainer to obtain a smooth puree. The word Coulis means 'Strained Liquid' in French so do not skip this step!

To assemble, arrange the peaches in 2 or 3 serving glasses. Dribble each glass with a tablespoon of the reserved poaching syrup. Top off with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the raspberry coulis.

You can choose to fold the raspberry coulis with the cream lightly to create a ripple effect else just the coulis by itself will not be too tart too but I always try to incorporate as much dairy as possible in my diet, just cuz I like it.

Ivy, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to be featured in my very own local newspaper in Malaysia. A large part of me feels very homely and another part of me feels amazing to be able to talk about food in such distinguished paper. Just so you all know, Ivy also blogs about food at

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18 comments on "Peach Melba"

cariso on July 31, 2010 at 6:47 PM said...

I always eat the canned peach but never try this method, Shall try one day!

busygran on July 31, 2010 at 7:04 PM said...

Congrats Quinn! Will we get to read what you write?

Quinn on July 31, 2010 at 7:27 PM said...

@busygran and also to everyone else:

I felt I should clarify that I wasn't invited to write any article whatsoever. Ivy and her team are responsible for the whole discussion about canned food and all I contributed/wrote was a statement of what's my favourite canned food an why, which I've mentioned in this post. Ivy thinks they should try to feature bloggers because there are many who post good recipes and photographs, and they'd like to help promote food blogging. It's a great way of preserving Malaysian cuisine, as well as encourage the development of new recipes.

The article will be out on August 2, Star Two Cooking Column of The Star, a Malaysian paper.


Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on August 1, 2010 at 2:26 AM said...

Congrats! You deserve it! =)

Yea, canned peach is one of my fave canned fruit, besides canned mandarin orange. (I know we can hardly come by the latter in Malaysia.)

Shirley @ Kokken69 on August 1, 2010 at 9:14 AM said...

I think it is great that The Star came to you irregardless whether you get to write an article - it at least goes to show that people out there believes that you are good at this! I love Canned Peaches too.. though I have not done alot with them, other than eating them straight out of the can. Peach Melba - this will always be a pleaser.

Anncoo on August 1, 2010 at 11:19 AM said...

Congrats Quinn! You deserve it ;)
Too bad I don't think I can read this article in Singapore. When the article is out, do you think you can make a copy and post up here?
I love canned peaches too and always like to use it in my bakes and I love your creation, looks so good.

Swee San on August 1, 2010 at 11:42 AM said...

Wow.. congrats! I should keep an eye on The Star then ;) Canned peaches are good!!

Honey Bee Sweets on August 1, 2010 at 11:47 AM said...

Great choice Quinn, canned peaches is also a Dave in my household. Your peach Melba sure looks good! It's great that you get to contribute on the Star Two article, and yes it will prompt / preserve the Malaysian cuisine. Happy for you.

Quinn on August 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM said...

@Anncoo: The article will be available online and I will have the link tracking back to this post here.


Jo on August 1, 2010 at 10:54 PM said...

Quinn, this is definitely a classic dessert. Looks absolutely good and congrats on the article.

reanaclaire on August 1, 2010 at 11:56 PM said...

wow... what a swirling dessert! makes me swirl now.. tongue lapping on the ice cream.. sounds like a dog, huh.. lol...

zurin on August 2, 2010 at 1:26 AM said...

congrats Quinn! I told you you shd be a chef. you just have th'it' thing. your e a natural. :))

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) on August 2, 2010 at 6:20 PM said...

Congrats! Yes, i saw your short write up in Star paper today, mine too! This dessert sound really delicious and refreshing,can i have some now, very hot here..

Anonymous said...

Love the rainbow colour of this dessert!!

MaryMoh on August 2, 2010 at 10:39 PM said...

Awesome...congrats Quinn! :D Very beautiful dessert...mmm. I'm sure everyone likes it.

Yummy Koh on August 5, 2010 at 1:50 PM said...

Yours is so beautifully arranged. Yes, indeed this is a very nice cake and pretty as a gift.

Quinn on August 5, 2010 at 11:17 PM said...

Thanks all for the very lovely comments. I've update the link and also added a small scanned page of the paper itself.

Pei-Lin: Not sure bout Malaysia, but canned mandarin is a pretty common sight here.

Zurin: Awwww come always say that and it always makes me blush!

Ellie: White Ice Cream + Yellow Peaches + Rippled Coulis-Cream, how on earth is that not gonna be colourful???

Yummy Koh: I think you meant to compliment me on my fruit pastry cake. Nonetheless, thank you. I honestly didn't spend a lot of time arranging the fruits on top. I do agree it will look good as a gift!

youfei on August 9, 2010 at 7:33 PM said...

Hi Quinn!

This looks absolutely delicious!

You Fei

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