OMG OMG OMG! I’ve fallen in love… with a compote!
No you are not imaging these words and I really am saying them. But I’ve just made the most amazing tropical fruit compote that’ll having you thinking that you’re sitting on a beach from the very first spoonful – and by beach I don’t mean Southend (although, of course, there’s nothing wrong with good old Southend!)
It was my second attempt at making this compote. The first attempt wasn’t too bad but I felt it was missing something. So I added more spices, some honey, and some booze – because let’s face it, everything tastes so much better with booze!
Initially I wasn’t a hundred per cent sure if all the flavours would work well together, even though I knew that many of the ingredients used to give flavour worked well individually with the pineapple, mango and passion fruit used in this recipe. Thankfully they did and I was thrilled with the result.
I loved the heat you got from the spices and the rum; the fresh zingyness of the lime; the sweet aroma of the vanilla, and the somewhat simultaneous sweetness and tanginess of the fruit. Delicious!
But don’t just take my word for it – have a go at making it yourself!
Another thing I’ve discovered about fruit compotes – whether you use fresh or dried fruit – is that they are so versatile. You can serve them hot, warm or cold and they can be used as a topping for porridge or toasted brioche as part of a yummy breakfast; they can be served as dessert with cream, mascarpone, ice-cream or custard. Compotes can also be used as a topping for cheesecake or a sponge pudding, or can be used as a filling for pancakes, crumbles, pies, cobblers or tarts.
And if you’re feeding little people – and by little people I mean children not vertically challenged people like myself – you might want to leave out the rum.
THE HEAT IS ON TROPICAL FRUIT COMPOTE
THE FOOD STUFF:
1 medium pineapple
2 large mangoes
5 passion fruit
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 vanilla pod
1 star anise
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons runny honey
a couple of good glugs of Malibu
THE EQUIPMENT STUFF:
1 Sharp knife
1 chopping board
1 baking tray
A variety of spoons
- Turn oven on to
- Peel and core pineapple and cut into chunks.
- Peel mangoes and cut into large chunks.
- Cut each passion fruit in half and scoop out pulp.
- Place fruit in an oven proof dish.
- Cut vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out seeds.
- Add vanilla to the fruit.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Combine well.
- Pop in the oven and cook for 25mins or until pineapple chunks have softened.
- Take out of oven – and enjoy any way you wish!
As everyone knows, I really like the cooler months of the year rather than the blazing hot ones ( I don’t need to be told I’m strange – I already know that!) So I didn’t mind when it was pelting down with rain last Friday. I didn’t mind at all. I just wished I could have been at home watching the rain come down from the comfort of my own home rather than be outside in the rain, freezing in my lightweight summer clothes while carrying three times my weight in groceries!
Thankfully Mr. D. was on hand to give me a, um, hand with the shopping but even that couldn’t take away from the discomfort I felt as the rainwater slowly began to seep into my totally inappropriate ballet-style pumps. Just then an image of a steaming hot mug of chocolaty goodness with enough cream and marshmallows to concern Jamie Oliver flashed into my head.
“You know what?” I began as I turned to Mr.D. who makes carrying a multitude of grocery bags look so effortless, “this is perfect hot chocolate weather.” All I wanted to do was get home, change out of my damp clothes and into comfy pjs, and sit by the fireplace, sipping gloriously thick hot chocolate and munching on toasted goodies. OK, so I don’t have a fireplace but the radiator with a few candles around it would do! Then I realised – we didn’t have any hot chocolate. And we hadn’t thought to pick any up. But then again why would we? Summertime’s all about the Pimm’s and cider. Or perhaps I should say, it should be all about the Pimm’s and cider. But at that exact moment all I wanted was hot chocolate and I could very easily have kicked myself for not buying any, if it wasn’t for the fact that I felt as though I had a swimming pool at the end of each foot!
It seems strange to be writing a post that’s better suited to the Autumn months than in what should be a blazing hot July, but it did get me thinking about cosy and warming suppers; the kind that’d be a real treat after a trip out in the cold, wind, rain, and possibly even snow. Or when you’re indoors, all snug and cosy while it’s chucking down buckets outside. Or perhaps you’re just in need of some good old-fashioned comfort food. There’s no special occasion for this supper; you can prepare this when you need something warm and comforting. None of the following should be served cold; everything should be either piping hot, warm or lightly toasted. You could serve all the following courses as a kind of high tea if you really wanted to go to town, especially if you are having friends over. But the main idea here is to keep it simple (who wants to do a whole lot of cooking when you’re looking for some much needed comfort food?) so I would pick one or two of the food items and serve it with a hot drink. Furthermore, unless you’re going for your own brand of comfort food, a lot of the foods listed here are deliciously stodgy and high in carbs, so I would choose carefully! Oh, and a lot of it will most probably be dripping in butter…
The good thing about this kind of supper is that even if you’ve invited your friends to come over and join you, there’s really no need to go to town on dressing up or creating an elaborately decorated table. The key here is simplicity, comfort and warmth. So comfy trackies, sweaters, pjs, robes and slippers are ideal. Oh and don’t forget the blankets!
Sandwiches should ideally be made with thick-sliced, soft bread and toasted:
Bacon and tomato
Sausage and mushroom
Chocolate and hazelnut spread
Cheese and tomato
Cheese and ham
Serve with warm crusty bread:
Chicken and sweetcorn
BREADS AND PASTRIES
Don’t forget the butter, jam, marmalade etc:
Oat and raisin cookies
Jacket potato with cheese and bacon bits
Kipper with poached egg
Egg on toast
Mushroom on toast
Spinach and cheese muffins
Apricot tea bread
Tea – of any kind
Hot chocolate – with a splash of your favourite liqueur for the adults
Hot apple toddy
Hot milk with honey
And I’m well aware that we’re not all fortunate enough to live in a house with a fabulous fireplace (I know I don’t!) so we’ll just have to crank up the heating a notch and dream of romantic, roaring log fires! And you can always create that cosy glow with dimmed lighting, candlelight, and if you really want to push the boat out, fairy lights.
My hands are really in a shocking condition and I can’t understand why. Despite applying twice my weight in hand cream, and taking my vitamin E capsules religiously, my hands are extremely dry, rough and look as though they’re in danger of starting a fire if I rub them together! It’s actually quite embarrassing. My hands get used quite a lot in my job as they are always on show so I’m starting to feel more than a little self-conscious.
Feeling low at the dry condition of my hands, I’m considering hitting the bottle.
The milk bottle that is!
I’ve had dry skin pretty much my whole life and when I was in my late teens I developed a mild form of eczema. I only have flare ups maybe once every couple of years so I’m quite fortunate. But during periods when my skin is very dry, I use milk on my skin instead of water. It’s very moisturizing and hydrating, and I really notice the difference. After about two days, my skin comes back to life again.
So I’ll be resorting to this treatment for my dry hands but I’ll be using honey as well which is another ingredient I’ve found to be very effective for dry skin. And of course this treatment isn’t just limited to your hands. You can use it for your face, feet, elbows, knees, lips… anywhere where you’re skin’s a bit parched, isn’t looking it’s best and needs a much-needed moisture boost.
You can use any kind of milk or honey that you prefer. I generally stick to my favourite manuka honey. This treatment is so simple as it only uses between two to four ingredients, so it’s well worth giving it a go.
MILK AND HONEY TREATMENT FOR DRY HANDS
YOU WILL NEED:
1 tbsp. honey
Enough warm milk to fully submerge your hands in
- Apply honey to your to both sides of your hands. If you wish you could gently warm the honey before applying it to your hands.
- Leave for around ten minutes.
- Then place your hands in a basin of warm milk. Remember the milk should be warm not hot. You want to revive your hands not scald them!
- Leave them in the milk for about five minutes or until all the honey has rinsed off.
- Once you’ve taken your hands out of the milk, you can either give them a super quick blast with cold water to remove the honey-milk residue (with the emphasis being on super quick.)
- Or you could remove all traces of milk and honey with cotton wool soaked in rosewater.
- Slap on lashings of hand cream.
- Use this treatment once a day for as many days as you need.
- If you have any discolouration on your hands, rub a slice of lemon over it before applying the honey.
- If you are using this treatment for a part of your body that you cannot simply just dunk in a basin of water, wipe the honey of with milk-soaked cotton wool pads.
Summer has officially descended upon us and the weather is just making me want to drink… and drink… and drink! Forget food, I just want something to quench my thirst so no prizes for guessing what’s going to make up most of this week’s shopping list!
I came across some delicious sounding recipes for drinks which I thought I’d share with you, including one for a hot coffee drink which may not sound ideal for the warmer weather, but a girl always has to get her early morning coffee fix!
One of my fave coffee flavours – hazelnut!
A cup of whisked, warmed milk
1 tsp. coffee powder
A swirl of cream
- Put coffee powder into a latte cup.
- Add a tbsp. of boiling water to coffee and stir.
- Add hazelnut syrup.
- Top up with whisked, warmed milk.
- Add a swirl of cream.
I love mangoes and anything made from this delicious fruit so it’s no surprise that it’s something I always order when I go to an Indian restaurant – although I have yet to make it myself! This version also includes mint – something I’ve never tried in a lassi.
A small bunch of mint leaves
1 ripe mango, peeled, stoned and chopped
2tbsp. low-fat yogurt
1tsp. runny honey
- Whizz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Fill a tall glass with some ice.
- Pour lassi over ice – and serve!
Pretty much Bucks Fizz – something I usually have with breakfast Christmas morning but I bet an ice-cold glass of Clementine Fizz would go down very well on a hot day.
Juice of 1 Clementine
1tsp. triple sec
Prosecco or Cava
- Put the juice in a champagne flute.
- Add the triple sec.
- Top with Prosecco or cava.
Who wouldn’t like a glass of champers?
1 sugar cube
A dash of Angostura bitters
10ml brandy or cognac
Champagne or your favourite sparkling wine
- Place sugar cube in a fluted glass.
- Add Angostura bitters and brandy or cognac.
- Top with Champagne or sparkling wine.
WASABI BLOODY MARY
usually made with tobacco sauce, this version uses wasabi for an even more powerful kick!
1ltr tomato juice
3tbsp. wasabi powder
6 shots vodka
1tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 lemons, halved
6 celery sticks
Handful of ice
- Place ice in glasses.
- Put all other ingredients – except celery – into a large jug.
- Stir well.
- Pour into glasses over the ice.
- Serve with celery sticks.
Enjoy these gorgeous drinks. Enjoy the Summer!
All recipes from Woman’s Own, March 2014
All recipes serve one unless otherwise stated.
I stumbled across this recipe for a dessert called hot chocolate soup which sounds like a cross between the hot chocolate drink and a chocolate fondant pudding. And apparently if you leave this in the oven for long enough, it will become a fondant pudding. It’s an unusual dessert and I wanted to give it a go but unfortunately don’t have a couple of the ingredients (and I’m too lazy to nip out to the shop across the road) so I’ll try this out tomorrow.
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try and create this little piece of molten chocolate magic!
Malten Lava Chocolate Soup
PREP: 15 MINS
COOK: 15 MINS
50g milk chocolate, broken into squares
25g dark chocolate. broken into squares
50g Maltesers, crushed
2tbsp golden syrup
2 large eggs, separated
100g golden caster sugar
1 tub of clotted cream
1 Heat oven to 150C, Gas 2. Melt butter and chocolates in a small pan over a low heat.
2 Remove from the heat, stir in the cocoa, honey and egg yolks and 3tbsp clotted cream to make a paste.
3 Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually whisk in the sugar.
4 Fold the egg whites and sugar into the chocolate paste.
5 Divide amongst 6 heatproof cups or ramekins. Put on a tray and bake for 10 mins just until a thin crust forms on the top, but underneath is still runny.
6 Top each one with a small scoop of clotted cream. Serve straight away!
- Mint Hot Chocolate (whattocooktonight.com)
- The 20 Best Hot Chocolate Recipes (thepreppypostgrad.com)
- Melting Chocolate Pudding (boxofrecipes.wordpress.com)
- Sipping on a Classic: Hot Chocolate Recipes for All Taste Buds (redtri.com)