It was a full moon in Pisces this week, so I don’t need to tell you that this particular horoscope stirred up some intense emotions. Luckily for me I was coolly prepared by already maintaining a lifestyle of nonstop emotional intensity! Also luckily there were lots of nice things going on, like eating a giant pretzel Momofuku cake for my girl Kate’s birthday, dressing up as Columbia for a special screening of Rocky Horror at work, more pats with Percy the corgi, and discovering and then watching the entirety of in one evening, the truly heart-wrenchingly delightful TV show Faking It. It was also the excellent Tim’s birthday, and I made him this peach balsamic barbecue sauce as a present (what is our friendship if it cannot withstand my coming out and ending our engagement?) I had a half tin of peaches in the fridge and many spices and condiments in the pantry and a budget that stretched to one small red onion. This recipe that I found appealed to me because of all these reasons, but also there’s something oddly pleasing about making your own preserves and sauces and such, and I thought the peachiness might add a sweet, summery Americana vibe to something already so very American. (Also…I had half a can of peaches in the fridge.)
Apologies for including a fiddly specialty ingredient like liquid smoke, but it’s not that hard to get hold of a bottle of it in fancy food shops or online, and if you like things to taste smokey then you can either find some or sigh perpetually about how nothing tastes smokey. (That’s as much tough love as I can possibly muster: buy this thing if you like, but only maybe, and either way I’m sorry.) If you can’t find it you’ll still have a deliciously peachy sweet-sour sauce, but as soon as the liquid smoke is stirred in it suddenly becomes like sunshine on your shoulders and protein seared on magma-hot metal (said protein could be tofu, I’m easy) and your hair being scented like woodchips for days and being ravenous and everything taking so, so long to be cooked through so you have to drink a lot of beer while you wait. So like, you might want to get some.
peach balsamic barbecue sauce
adapted from this recipe on damndelicious.net, makes around 250ml
- one tablespoon olive oil
- one red onion, diced
- one tablespoon chilli sauce (or to taste, I used sriracha which is kinda mild, hence a tablespoon)
- one teaspoon cumin seeds
- two large ripe peaches, diced, or the equivalent of canned peaches
- two tablespoons maple syrup (or golden syrup or honey – maple is smokier though)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- one tablespoon dijon mustard
- one tablespoon tomato sauce/paste/similar
- about half a teaspoon of liquid smoke
- salt and brown sugar to taste – it definitely needs salt, sugar though? Depends on you.
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the red onion till it’s soft but not browned. Throw everything else in, except the liquid smoke, and allow to come to the boil while stirring constantly. Simmer for about ten minutes, then either blend it till smooth in a food processor or use one of those stick things that you use for pureeing soup (they’re genius! So little washing up to do!) (my new flat has one, I’ve never used them before) (anyway) and pour it into a small jar/small jars or directly into a bowl to serve alongside/on top of your dinner.
This sauce is so delicious. And I’m not entirely a heathen, I didn’t go eating Tim’s birthday present, there was in fact enough to fill a jar for him and a small ramekin leftover for me. I intended to pour it over rice or something but I just ended up eating the lot with a spoon. The aggressive throat-pinching sourness of the vinegar and heat of the chilli sauce is mellowed by the sweet, sweet peaches, and the spices give it depth and, well, spice. And as I’ve already iterated at feverish length, liquid smoke is also good. It doesn’t make an awful lot but then at least you don’t have to stress about desperately pressing bottles of it onto visitors forevermore, and if it’s really not to your tastes then at least all you wasted was a couple of tablespoons of this and that. Conversely, if you really love it, the recipe is very easy to double or triple. Barbecue sauce for all! I always thought I hated barbecue sauce actually, but it just turns out that I dislike the particular overly sweet nothingness-paste that gets swirled onto certain takeaway pizzas, which tastes like neither barbecue nor sauce. And it certainly doesn’t taste like going on for paragraph after paragraph about sunshine on one’s shoulders, etc.
I’m flying up home this afternoon for the first time since Christmas, so that’s something. Am looking forward to seeing my family and the cats (the cats are family but you might not pick up on my implications unless I spell it out for you) and spending time knitting and reading.
Finally: It’s election time in New Zealand! Can’t wait for it to be over so that I don’t have to see billboards everywhere, but am looking forward to voting. It’s completely appalling that prisoners can’t vote, but hopefully my own small vote and my right to do it can help be a snowflake in an ever-rolling snowball of good change. Your politics are your own business, but what you do with them can affect everyone, you know?
But also: you can now buy my cookbook directly from me! Which is exciting because ya girl remains flat broke, and unlike when it was sold in stores, every dollar from books sold through me goes straight to me. Yay though, right? My cookbook isn’t so easy to get hold of anymore so if you’re wanting a copy you better get moving as my stocks are limited…
title via: Britney Spears’ important song Brave New Girl. It’s easily one of my very favourite songs of hers, that kind of headrush-pop that fills my heart with glitter.
Dum Dum Girls, Coming Down. Six minutes and thirty-two seconds of dreamy sad perfection.
Sarah Jaffe, Lover Girl. Was listening to my favourites Dark Dark Dark on Spotify and looked at related artists and was like, “Spotify, show me something new!” So I tried listening to this woman and I immediately loved every single song I listened to, starting with this.
Rita Ora, I Will Never Let You Down. Adorable and hopeful and happy.
Next time: seems like all I have in my pantry right now is pasta, which I’m happy about because I love pasta, so…yeah. We’ll see?