I bought some plums the other day, believing the promise on the pack that they were ‘luscious sun ripened plums from the Ceres Valley. Ripe and Ready to eat’. The only part of the promise that held was that they were indeed plums, and I am generously going to assume they didn’t lie about the provenance. The fruit turned out to be hard, sharp little buggers. Certainly not fit for uncooked consumption. I sat them in the sun for a few days, which did nothing to sweeten their demeanour. So I decided my only alternative was to cook them in sugar.
I had half a pomegranate in the fridge (SA has developed huge pomegranate farms … one of the ideas brought back by returnees), so I spun the seeds around in the blender a few times, then squeezed the pulp through a sieve to get the juice. Cut the plums up haphazardly, tossed them in the pot, added a couple of handfuls of brown sugar (though if your plums are sweet, you wouldn’t even need this), and a slurp of water and left them to simmer. True to form, some of them broke into mush and the rest mellowed into chewable nuggets. I then separated out most of the syrup, poured it into a clean glass jar, added a half-dozen tots of rum, a fistful of fresh coriander and left it to macerate for 5 hours. Then I packed Jack and the Nans and headed for the beach. Cape Town is having a glorious end-of-summer Summer. Hottest temps for the year, and – best of all, no wind.
When I got back I poured a generous shot over four ice cubes into a long glass, topped it up with soda water (though I think a feisty gingerbeer would be delicious too, long as it is not too sweet) and added a good squeeze of fresh lime (in fact, a full lime cheek) – it was delicious. Tart, refreshing and unusual. The three hero ingredients (as they like to call them on Masterchef Australia) worked really well and the pomegranate made the syrup bitter-sweet. Perfect for an end of summer afternoon.
As to the rest, nothing goes willingly to waste with me so I refrigerated the compote. Plopped a big spoon and some chopped up mango into my cereal bowl this morning, added some Special K flakes and a splash of mandarin juice and ate it in the sun. The perfect last-days-of-summer breakfast.
(Photos copyright campari&sofa)