Mint Julep Peaches via Iran

5 Jul

I’ve been saving this recipe for a long time, waiting for when peaches came into season here. There’s quite a complicated reason why I wanted to try it so much, that I will explain. But first, here are the beautiful peaches. I was so happy to see them.

  I read a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Set in Iran in the late 90’s, it is a true account of a teacher and her former students, seven young women, meeting every Thursday to discuss forbidden works of Western literature.

The books discussed are Pride & Prejudice, Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Their personal stories are intertwined with those they are reading, creating a rare glimpse into women’s lives in revolutionary Iran.

Reading about these classics made me want to discover them for myself. I am particularly interested in The Great Gatsby but still have not got around to purchasing a copy, mainly because most of my time is now spent cooking, photographing and blogging about food. That leaves little time for anything else.

 Which brings me back to the peaches. I was watching an episode of Nigella’s Forever Summer when she started talking about The Great Gatsby too, this is what she said:

There’s something about mint juleps that I associate with the deep heat of midsummer. I have to say this association is an entirely literary one: I’ve never sat in the wilting sun drinking a mint julep in my life; the most I can muster is a few in cold college rooms in my cocktail-drinking student years (which certainly dates me). But there is, I always remember, I hope not erroneously, from The Great Gatsby, that pivotal scene, when they’re all sitting around in the airless heat, deranged, before everything happens, drinking mint juleps. Anyway, there is something intensely summery – leafy, fresh, spicily aromatic – about these peaches, poached in sugar-syrup and bourbon and sprinkled with mint”.

That was it, I was hooked. I had no choice but to make them. I don’t have time to read the book but I can make the Mint Julep Peaches. It’s a definite case of food over fiction at this moment in time.

In case you are interested, this is how you make  a Mint Julep:


4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water
Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
Mint Julep Peaches Recipe
Serves 2 – 3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer
  • 350 ml water
  • 350 gr caster sugar
  • 125 ml bourbon
  • 4 peaches, white flesh with pink skins if possible
  • fresh mint leaves & sprigs to garnish

Put the water, sugar and 100 ml of the bourbon in a large frying pan, swirl it about to start dissolving the sugar, then put it over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Let it boil away for about 2 minutes then turn it down and let it simmer.

Meanwhile, cut the peaches in half and remove the stones if possible (you can remove them later when cooked if not). Put the peaches, cut side down, into the gently bubbling syrup and poach for a couple of minutes before turning them over and poaching for another 2 or 3 minutes cut side up.

It depends on the ripeness of your peaches as to how long they need.  You can test the cut side with a fork to see if they are tender but not too soft. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and continue until all the peaches are cooked.

Pour any of the pink syrup on the plate back into the poaching liquid. Then measure 100 ml of the liquid into a small saucepan with the remaining 25 ml bourbon (or maybe a bit more), put on the heat and boil until reduced by a third. Don’t reduce it too much or you will get a toffee- like syrup that won’t pour out of the jug and hardens on contact with the plate (like I did)! Luckily I still had the rest of the poaching liquid to use.

Meanwhile, carefully peel off the skins of the peaches, they should come away easily. You can leave them, cut side down, on a plate covered with cling-film until you are ready to serve them.

Pour the reduced syrup into a jug and leave to cool. You can freeze the rest of the poaching liquid to use next time, just add a bit more water and bourbon and reheat.

To serve place 2 or 3 peach halves cut side down on a plate and pour over the thick pink syrup. Sprinkle over some chopped mint and garnish with a few sprigs.

Retire to a shady spot, sit back and enjoy……

32 Responses to “Mint Julep Peaches via Iran”

  1. tony ward July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Sounds DE VINE !! I’ll turn the heating up a notch, switch on my imagination, et voila !!!

    Off in search of fresh peaches, superb blog once again. xx

  2. chicaandaluza July 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Have read Reading Lolita in Tehran too – it´s a wonderful book. I love your recipes and photos, and am now just waiting for my husband´s cousin to bring us some of his lovely peaches from Periana and I´ll give these a go!

  3. Lindsay July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    These look incredible! I really enjoyed “Reading Lolita in Tehran” (I read it while in India this spring), and I was also inspired to add the literature they discussed to my ‘to read’ list.

    Can’t wait to try these peaches! I think this will need to be cottage food!

  4. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Am so glad you posted this. It looks as good as I imagined it would! Beautiful pictures too.

  5. veggiegrettie July 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Love, love, love peaches…they are one of the reasons I get so excited about summer. What a gorgeous post!

  6. Maris(In Good Taste) July 6, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Really beautiful photos!

  7. sarah July 6, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Both this recipe and your pictures are gorgeous! Peaches are in full force here so I’ll be putting this on my must-make list for sure. Reading Lolita is one of my favorite books, by the way, and after I read it I went out and read The Great Gatsby in one sitting!

  8. Jill@MadAboutMacarons July 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    That was definitely worth the wait. Love this post with the peaches on the tree and what you’ve done with them. Simply divine and mouthwatering!

  9. Caroline July 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Those peaches are gorgeous. That is just sinful soaking them in bourbon,! Beautiful photos too. 🙂

  10. happywhennothungry July 7, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    What a great recipe! I’ve never had peaches like this. Definitely need to get some fresh peaches and try. Yum!

  11. Nami @ Just One Cookbook July 7, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Beautiful…. look at those vibrant color of the peaches! I usually just eat the peaches but this looks like a worth a try! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!

  12. denise @ bread expectations July 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Wow! Really gorgeous pictures!! The colours are just stunning! I have the most awful girlcrush on Nigella Lawson, the way she evokes imagery with her words, and I’m not just talking about food 😉 These really do sound and look divine, especially in this godawful heat 😛

  13. Tes July 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    what a lively dish! It looks so fresh and juicy 🙂 I love the pictures, they are so stunning 🙂

  14. marvie July 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    To see beautiful peaches on a tree is going to be heaven to me! I grew up seeing peaches in cans and would love to see one from a tree one day :). The mint julep syrup sounds like a very nice touch to the delicate peaches. I must try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  15. suzy eats July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    what a great idea. this dish looks amazing!!!

  16. peasepudding July 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Wow, I would certainly hang put for peaches too to make this and will have to till next Feb/march now but I can see it will be worth the wait. The photos are stunning.

  17. tiffany July 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    These peaches look out of this world!

  18. amisvegetarian July 9, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Hi Natalie, I’ve tried your greek style tomato and bean soup. And posted recipe and wrote about your blog. Check it out and give your views.

    Tc Abi

  19. thefooddoctor July 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    These look amazing!
    will look up the book too, sounds like it is worth reading

  20. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    You’re on FoodPress too! Rock Star!

  21. Calogero Mira July 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Thanks a lot for this recipe which reminds us probably of the political situation in this country.

  22. hassani1387Hass July 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Ummm… most Iranians consider “Reading Lolita” to be baloney. And incidentally, the “mint julep” originally comes from Iran. The word “julep” is a form of the Persian word “Golab”. Google both points.

  23. thewonderingchef July 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    The pictures are so beautiful! And the peaches sound just yummy! 🙂

  24. Emmy July 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    what a gorgeous post! and such perfect timing for me, as i’ve been wanting to read the great gatsby lately (after seeing midnight in paris, in which the fitzgeralds are key characters,) and have been wanting to drink mint julips for the longest time now, purely because i always think of them as so summer-y and glamorous. i loved this post, and congrats on being freshly posted:)

  25. Alexa Marsden July 18, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    These look HEAVENLY! Mmmf, peaches, you can’t go wrong. Congrats on the FoodPress feature! 😀

  26. Textbooks and Tea Cakes July 18, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    These look absolutely delicious! I’ve always been a huge fan of peaches and mint, and this seems like the perfect summertime treat. I loved the story you wove into your post as well! Reading Lolita in Tehran is on my reading list, and I highly recommend The Great Gatsby if you get the chance – the prose is very clear and it’s not a very long book, so you’ll get through it faster than you think!


  27. Beth Michelle August 20, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    I absolutely LOVE this and the inspiration to make them. Saving this recipe for one of the many sweltering summer days here in the desert.

  28. cleverchickadee October 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    So pretty.


  1. My 7 Links Challenge, Pass it on… « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - August 21, 2011

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