Friday, July 07, 2006

If you can't beat them... stew them

What is it about supermarkets and fruit? Do they imagine that I purchase plums because I can not work out where to buy cricket balls? Do they think I am going to test the quality of my nectarines by dropping them from a three-storey building? Maybe they believe I want to use apricots as missiles to scare away neighbourhood cats digging up my gardens...

Ok, or perhaps it is just to do with such boring issues as shelf life and profit margins and transportation. Whatever, they seem universally unknowledgable of the concept of 'ripe'.

When I can I'll buy my fruit from markets, or the stalls on the streets who can manage to procure fruit that actually smells and feels like fruit... But more often than not it's late when I'm shopping and I'm in a big refrigerated building with a basket.

Peaches and nectarines do often ripen if left on the side, but I ended up last week with a punnet of plums threatening to chip my molars.

So, not too confident that they would ever reach the luscious maturity they should have been allowed to, I decided the only way forward was breaking them down.

Halved and stoned, I popped them in a pan with a cinnamon stick, some orange peel and a sprinkling of brown sugar. After 30 or so minutes they succumbed to the gentle heating and were bubbling happily, soft and fragrant, in a fabulously pink viscous sauce. (NB - a note of caution, don't go and watch Big Brother whilst they are on, unless you have a big saucepan and a very low heat - otherwise your hob, as mine, may end up looking like a fantastic vermilion swimming pool).

As it happens, this compote was the serendipitous answer to my breakfast woes - with yoga before work, I don't have time to breakfast at home. A pot of compote and a pot of thick greek yoghurt in the work fridge means I have been able to easily fill my belly every morning with a summery fruity bowl of pink and white. yum!

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