Peaches & goats’ cheese with roasted almonds (Honey & Co: Food From the Middle East)

Rarely eating fruit, forever protesting of the high sugar content as my excuse to not hit my ‘5 a day’, I do however find myself buying it all too often. Beyond the necessary citrus bowl, there is always aPt least one piece of fruit in the fridge bought with good intentions. Given the choice between the calories and sugar content of fruit or chocolate, I will always opt for the less virtuous option. Aside from the occasional pavlova, the only way that fruit enters my diet is as a complimentary flavour to cheese or meat. Some people don’t understand the addition of sweet fruit to a savoury course, these people are wrong. It’s a perfection known across many different cuisines across the world including the Middle East. Enter the Peaches & goats’ cheese with roasted almonds from the Honey & Co. cookbook.. 

I always like to buy fruit in season at its best, and in Summer (even in Britain) we have the glorious peach. The velvety skin of a peach isn’t for me, but luckily I find that the peach of today has lost some of that excruciatingly suede like texture of my youth and it is now tolerable. Doughnut peaches are easily my favourite variety of the fuzzy fiend, they’re by far the easiest to chop for cooking purposes. Seeing my faves on offer in my local Lidl, I had to buy some. Unsurprisingly, they sat softening in my fridge for the best part of a week. On their last day of acceptable consumption I came across this recipe for a salad of Peaches & goats’ cheese with roasted almonds in the first Honey & Co. cookbook. I was very disappointed to have missed their popup evening in Cardiff last month, promoting the release of their most recent tome. Nonetheless, I could sample one of their fine salads in the comfort of my own home. 

Peaches & goats' cheese with roasted almonds
Not a bad attempt at a dish or photography given the copious amount of gin consumed up to this point.

Making the Peaches & goats’ cheese with roasted almonds was simplicity itself. I was entertaining a visiting pal, but still managed to assemble it after my third Gin and Tonic. My head was as fuzzy as the peach skin by this point. An jumble of soft – not limp – lettuce leaves, goats cheese, the doughnut peaches, coriander and some seeds (a substitute for the roasted almonds I am still unsure if I have an allergy too). The dressing was sharp and sweet, softened by the perfumed orange blossom water, shaken in a jar and drizzled over. There were compliments all round for the salad, even though at this point we were on our fourth G&T and soon to be tucking into a Paprika and Fennel Spatchcock chicken that was stinking out the whole house with roast chicken and heady anise. 

Unusually, I wouldn’t change anything when I make this salad again as it was perfectly balanced. I will add that it isn’t substantial so you would need to add some grains or legumes if you wanted to make a main out of the Peaches & goats’ cheese with roasted almonds. Something bland like couscous or mograbieh if you’re so inclined. As it is, it is a perfect starter or component of a mezze banquet. Most importantly, it was a perfect reminder of how much I love the Honey & Co books. They will be upgraded to the high rotation cookbook shelf asap.