Come On Over

“Peaches, ripe for the picking,” my neighbour tells me from atop his tractor as he passes by. “We can’t eat them all.”

No need to ask me twice. This morning I headed over with an empty picking sack.

The peachy corner of the neighbour's garden, which was established in the late 19th century.

The peachy corner of the neighbour’s garden, which was established in the late 19th century.

I’ll be honest, in all the years I’ve lived next door to this farm, I thought they only had one kind of peach. Pêche de vigne, vineyard peaches, of which there are several types.

The one grown next door isn’t a pretty variety on the outside, it looks a bit rough, a cowboy peach that’s been out in the weather too long and smoked a few hundred too many cheroots.

Pêche de vigne.

Pêche de vigne.

But there are two heavily laden peach trees, and the second is bending with the weight of green peaches that look vaguely unripe, but are soft to the touch and ready for harvest.

The green-yellow peaches, soft and ripe.

The green-yellow peaches, soft and ripe.

I’m happy to say I took a few of them, too. Because while I have no idea what this kind of peach is called (there are over 2000 kinds of peach), it’s a revelation of taste.

Tangy peach scent with a hint of vanilla, and the flavour is crisp with an aftertaste of honeydew melon.

The first small plate of harvested peaches, the first of many.

The first small plate of harvested peaches, the first of many.

The scent of the pêche de vigne is completely different, a heady mix of sweet and rich red earth. The flesh looks like it’s been steeped in port wine, and that’s pretty much what it tastes like, too.

In the past I’ve made sorbet using these red peaches with a dash of port, and if I do say so myself, it’s not bad.

I was under the close supervision of this guy, who was sitting in the sheep meadow on the other side of the fence.

I was under the close supervision of this guy, who was sitting in the sheep meadow on the other side of the fence.

I foresee a large amount of peach jam, preserved peaches, peach pie and peach sorbet in my near future.

Thanks, neighbour!

Beach Sandskrit

DSC02349We were walking on Malibu beach yesterday as the tide was going out.

It left behind a long tale of the previous few hours, written in seaweed and flotsam.

I didn’t count how many different types of seaweed left their notes on the sand, but from the number of red lobster shells in the receding water line, I’d say local birds, seals and otters have been feasting. And if there were no lobster claws to be seen, that’s because the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) doesn’t have any in the first place.DSC02351

The high tide of our own past few hours was marked by an evening spent on a warm terrace with a good friend, and the Auchentoshan Triple Wood he pulled out to share with us.Unknown

As the name says, this Lowland whisky is matured in three different kinds of wood: Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks, bourbon casks and Oloroso sherry.

It has a combustibly sweet aroma, with a taste that echoes dark chocolate, applesauce, toffee and rum.

It was a delight, as was the day and the company.

One who knows how to read what's skirt in the seaweed.

One who knows how to read what’s skrit in the seaweed.