I deceive you not when I say this really does taste like sour peach sweets, one of my top five candies of all time. Peaches are such cheeky little, playful fruits, with their teasing bum-like shape and baby fluff exterior- although that description makes them sound pretty strange and almost disgusting, but that juicy, soft flesh and fragrant aroma just makes them irresistible despite their resemblance to human buttocks! Plums don’t elicit the same thoughts and reactions in me but they do provide a good, well-needed tartness. Partner the two stone fruits and you have the perfect companionship.
When you don’t have dessert in the house, a heaped spoonful of sickly sweet jam on some buttery toast totally hits the spot, which brings me to the compote concept. Compote is basically a lazy version of jam since it requires less cooking and as a healthier option (since there’s normally less sugar in it and the fruit is cooked for a much shorter time, retaining more nutrients), it works out better for me because I can have multiple helpings without the guilt trip. Also, if you’re too lazy to peel or chew fruit, compote is the next best way of getting it into your body.
I’m currently living in China and quite often wonder the busy side streets when hunger strikes, crammed full of food vendors and stalls selling a heck load of groceries. On this one particular day, I noticed an elderly man, stick-thin and carrying a wooden cart on his feeble shoulders filled halfway with peaches and plums. The majority of these were a little beyond ripe, but I had to take the load off his shoulders (literally) and bought at least three quarters of his supply. Since my ability to carry things is ridiculously terrible, I started giving bags away to strangers on the street on my way back home, but a large load still remained in my hands – I had to do something with them and quick.
The plums were wonderfully tart and the peaches contrastingly sweet so I dumped them together in a pan to create this sweet and sour compote. My last few days have been filled with cereals with compote, custard with compote, ice cream with compote, naked compote, friends over for compote, basically everything and compote, but I’ll definitely be doing it again because compote can be used to jazz up anything so even the most boring foods can be made surprisingly fun – well, what doesn’t become fun with the candy factor?!
I will warn you now, it’s a tad niggly peeling peaches and removing the stones, but just by cutting them in half, the stones can be popped out easily. For the peeling bit, immerse the peaches in hot water for 20 seconds to loosen the skins, making them unbelievably easy to remove – consider this part a form of relaxation therapy!
Makes 2 large jars
- 300g peeled peached
- 300g stoned plums
- 40g sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before eating.
Pour a dollop or two on pretty much anything you want and be prepared for that flavour explosion.