Since we living at Owl Cottage, the garden has graced me with an annual heavy crop of red plums from an old plum tree in the front garden. Situated on the boundary just behind the lemonwood hedge, it is often admired by passers by. In early spring it puts on a magnificent display of snow white blossom and a few weeks later the bright green leaves appear
There has been a problem with people wandering into the garden uninvited and helping themselves. One year a photo of a hedgehog was captured enjoying the ones that had fallen to the ground, he was “drunk” with the fermenting fruit but very happy, here he is:
After making the obvious preserves of plum jam, plum chutney and spicy plum sauce,I’ve been seeking an alternative for their use and came up with plum compote. It is a concentrated, rather tart brilliant crimson fruit sauce that is superb on muesli and with ice cream or yoghurt. It would equally be ideal for a cheese cake topping or partner waffles with cream.
I don’t measure quantities. Plums can be picked, stored in bags and popped into the freezer and used when required. Simply defrost and slowly bring to the boil and simmer. Remove any stones, stalks or odd leaves and reduce then add sugar to taste. Don’t add too much sugar or you will finish up with jam and that beautiful tartness will be lost. A secret addition that transforms the taste is the spice star anise. This pretty and beautiful smelling spice can be bought cheaply from Asian food stores, I normally add about 8 of them to a pan full of plums. Make sure you don’t leave the fruit unattended after you add the sugar and regularly stir with a wooden spoon to prevent it catching and burning on the base of the pan. When you feel it thicken to your desired consistency remove from heat and let it cool before putting in an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge up to a month.