Sometimes, simple really is best. This summer, in an attempt to shed a few pounds, I picked up Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat and French Women For All Seasons at my local used book store. I’ve long given up on picking up a book hoping to find the miracle weight loss cure, and have resorted to following what all my family physicians over the years have told me: don’t eat too much, eat a balanced diet, limit desserts and sweets to a few times a week, and stay away from processed foods. Oh, and drink plenty of water, and stay active at least a few days a week. Reasonable, isn’t it? Well, Mireille’s books advocated much of the same principles. Enjoy everything in moderation, and eat good food.
What struck me as most delightful about Mireille’s recipes is that they were incredibly simple in preparation, without a long list of ingredients. The fact that she drinks champagne every day didn’t influence me, though I became an immediate fan of hers because she does, and maintains a trim waistline. I very much like the idea of a glass of wine with dinner every night, because the wine complements the meal, and creates an enjoyable dining experience. Mireille doesn’t advocate over-doing it in the drinks department; rather, she emphasizes the pleasure that can be had in the ritual of ending your day with a lovely meal, a nice glass of wine, and a pleasant dining experience. I sampled quite a few of her recipes, but this one became an immediate favourite for its simplicity and fantastic taste.
These oven roasted peaches are spectacular both in taste and presentation. Beautiful pink tinged peach halves soaking in a luxurious syrup of its own juices, some honey, vanilla and vermouth shouldn’t be missed. Before you turn your nose up at vermouth, I’m going to say that you don’t taste it at all in the finished dish. It just brings a fruity sweetness that complements the peaches’ own flavours, and blends in beautifully with the honey and vanilla. I cannot urge you enough to try this when peaches are in season, and Mireille’s original recipe called for apricots. Since I rarely have apricots at home, I used a fruit we more commonly purchase in the warmer months. Now that the weather is colder, why not try this with pears? These are equally at home for a weeknight supper as they would be for a dinner party.
This recipe comes from Mireille Guiliano's French Women For All Seasons, and is quick to prepare, and lovely to serve on any occasion.
If you don't have vermouth, you could certainly substitute white wine, or if you don't drink, I would try this with white grape juice.
Mireille's recipe originally called for apricots, but I substituted peaches instead. I fit 3 large peaches comfortably in an 8x8 pan, but you could use 4 peaches, and nestle them in a slightly larger baking dish without changing the ingredients for the sauce.
Keep the cooking time to about 20 minutes for smaller apricots, and closer to 30 minutes for larger peaches.
- 3 to 4 large peaches (or 16 small apricots), halved and pitted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 oz dry vermouth
- 3 oz honey
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Lay the fruit skin side up in overlapping rows in an ovenproof dish.
- Mix the vanilla with the vermouth, and pour over the fruit.
- Drizzle the honey over, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the fruit is tender.
- Allow to cool, then chill.
- Serve with creme fraiche, whipped cream or ice cream.