making the most of the season: plum compôte


Plum season in Kenya is nearly over, but don't despair - you can continue to enjoy the glorious flavour of plums by preserving them in a sticky jam or a delicious compôte.

This recipe draws inspiration from Nigella Lawson, and can be found in her book 'Kitchen' which I love for its heavy, sugar laden treats, and zero apology for calorific content. Her 'Cinnamon Plums with French Toast' are a classic ode to breakfast in all it's glory, although if it's your favourite meal of the day, make an excuse to repeat breakfast throughout the day... have some for tea (plum compôte in your Victoria Sponge). Or after dinner - (plum compôte with greek yoghurt). The subtle flavour of cinnamon will come through from time to time, reminding you perhaps of mulled wine at Christmas.  

The only part of this recipe that could be quite a bore is the halving and de-pipping of your plums, but as it's a messy job I think it would appeal to most children, and as long as you account for potential losses (of plums) during the process, it should be great fun. 

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250ml cranberry juice
4 tablespoons lemon juice
100 gms caster sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
500 gms plums


Halve the plums and remove the stones... this could take a while!
Put the cranberry juice and sugar into a wide saucepan and stir to help start dissolving the sugar. Then put the saucepan over a low heat and keep stirring so the sugar dissolves completely. Add the cinnamon and turn up the heat to bring to the boil and allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Add the plums and simmer for about twenty minutes. You can remove from the heat once the plums are tender but not disintegrating, or if you want more of a sticky, jammy compôte then keep simmering until the mixture thickens. You will lose the shape of the plums doing it this way, but it will be less liquid. Once you're happy with the consistency, remove from the heat and allow to cool before putting into sterilised jars. Leave the cinnamon sticks in and their flavour will get stronger with time. Spread with reckless abandon into your Victoria Sponge or onto your morning toast...