Sunday, November 14, 2010

helen's plum compote

Perchance because my own mama left this mornin' to head back to the Midwest, I'm feeling nostalgic for all things mom-(mum-)ish and so my thoughts turn to my mother-in-law's plum compote (originally from a Le Cordon Bleu cookbook). She made this for us while she and my father-in-law were visiting recently. Oh my word. Amazing. Mum serves it with a dollop each of creme fraiche and mascarpone and the sweet-tartness of the plums fuses perfectly with the smooth creaminess of the two toppings.

You'll need:
  • plums (why not?)
  • red wine
  • red currant jelly (a whole jar)
  • creme fraiche and/or mascarpone (or ice cream)
Do this:

Wash your plums, halve them, and then take all the pits out. (No need to peel the fruit.) In a shallow (but wide) pan on the stove top, add the red wine and reduce it by half, then add the red currant jelly. Throw in your plums with cut sides upwards.

Bring it back to the boil and simmer with the lid on till the plums are poached and soft.

Devour hot or cold. Either way you're going to be plum happy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

guinness brownies

Beer. Brownies. What could be better together?

When a friend sent me this recipe (she's not sure where she got it originally), I knew I had to try it.

And a couple of years we are. Makin' brownies with a lovely beer.

These are actually better after sitting a day or two, so if you're planning on serving them to guests, make them at least a day ahead. The flavors meld and you can taste the slight hint of tart/sour Guinness, which works perfectly with the chocolate.

You'll need:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. flour (I used all purpose)
  • 3/4 c. sugar (I used a bit less than 1/2 c.)
  • 3/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I use at least 70%)
  • 4 oz. good-quality white chocolate
  • 1 1/4 c. Guinness
  • 6 T. unsalted butter
  • confectioners' sugar
Do this:

Preheat your oven to 375 F and butter an 8x8 inch pan. Combine the egg and sugar with an electric mixer till fluffy, then melt together the dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butter. Remove the pan from the heat then add the egg and sugar mixture to it. Sift the flour and cocoa together, beat it into the chocolate mixture, and then whisk the Guinness in. Pour into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool. Let sit for a day or so (OK, have one piece while you're waiting) and then chow, baby, chow. Cheers! Kanpai!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Tomato season came to Seattle a bit late this year and these were my final harvest (about 2 weeks ago). Aren't they purty?

And the taste--so flavorful they almost made your taste buds wince, but in a good way.