We Love Cooking! + [vanilla sugar]

:: Baked Peaches with Vanilla Sugar

We arrived in Cannes for a holiday last week, I came armed with a copy of Elizabeth David's French country cooking and Sofie my girlfriend with a copy of "The Notebook" (yes the soppy love story, the big screen version of which she has seen way too many times to count), so as you can imagine we have fairly different agendas on this summer holiday! I think it's always important to have a sniff around the local food market as a way of getting your bearings when you first arrive at a new place. It's been something that is engrained on my mind from an early age after hours of traipsing behind my parents on every family holiday, my dad busy comparing prices to the fruit and veg at home, while my mom being a bit more practical would be eyeing up a nice piece of meat for dinner. Needless to say it didn't take me very long to tire of reading by the pool and after a long drive the wrong way into Cannes and a fight with the GPS who I thought might be more interesting if we changed the language to French, we discovered the most beautiful French food market.

The Marché Forville is a massive covered market specialising in fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers and takes place every day except Monday's when it becomes the home to a spectacular antique market. The place literally crawls with activity. Big beefy stall holders eyeing up potential customers and of course the many well endowed Cote D'azur ladies, savvy French shoppers in the know, picking up up pieces of fish to inspect every inch of it, bronzed grannies beating their way through the crowds filling those distinctly French wheely bags to the brim with the best the market has to offer and then of course the tourists who like ourselves are busy snapping photos and taking it all in. You can't leave a place like this without a paper bag heavy with the summers finest fruit.

Baked Peaches with Vanilla Sugar
Stoned summer fruits are whack bang in season at the moment and there are lots and lots of different recipes you can use to make the most of them, however I think keeping things simple brings out the natural juicy flavours and leaves you with far less washing up to do. A win win situation I think you'll agree! If you can't get vanilla sugar you can quite easily make a homemade batch by popping a vanilla pod in a jar filled with caster sugar. Or alternatively just use caster sugar and a splash of good quality vanilla extract.

Serves 4
8 peaches, halved with stones removed
3 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons of water
Vanilla ice cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6.
Arrange the peaches in a non stick baking tray and sprinkle over the water.
Dust each peach with a little of the vanilla sugar until each one is nicely coated.
Place the peaches into the oven for around an hour or until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife.
Serve the peaches with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.