Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Comfort food & Maggie Beer!

This Librarian is still feeling challenged by the throat, sinus and chest infection she has had for over two weeks. Sure it is getting better. But tonight comfort food was on the agenda. Several things conspired. This morning in the pantry my eye had lighted on some plum sauce I had made a month or so ago from a Maggie Beer recipe. And this evening when I had finally been enticed to the kitchen by the hungry cats I turned on the television to get a bit of the Cook and the Chef, i.e. Maggie Beer. That was all about eggs, bacon, pastry, and other yummy things that I wasn't going to cook. They were also talking about food to eat when they felt sooky.

But what to eat? Comfort food was needed. Soup and toast offered one prospect. Then I remembered the plum sauce - yum! Next thing I was chopping up onion and potato, heating olive oil in a saucepan, popping in the onion and potato with a bit of Madras curry, tossing them around for a while, and then adding a basic comfort standby from the freezer, frozen peas, and a bit of water. Meanwhile I had retrieved some frozen plum sausages from the freezer and was thawing them in the microwave. What a great comfort meal resulted! Grilled sausages, peas, potatoes and onion, and the highlight: Maggie Beer's plum sauce.

And the plum sauce? A while ago, during plum season anyway, a colleague gave me a mass of blood plums. I hunted around my recipes and found a great recipe in Maggie's Orchard for plum sauce. Maggie says it was an interpretation of one of the recipes in the Barossa cookery book first published in 1917. It has also been re-published in Maggie's harvest.

You need:
3 kg blood plums
500 g onions
2 cloves garlic
1.25 kg sugar
500 ml red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Halve the plums but leave the stones in. Cut the onions into small chunks and slice the garlic. Bruise the ginger by pressing down on it with the blade of a knife (do not chop it up as I did, but keep it in one large piece!!). Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in a little olive oil in a large preserving pan until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the plum stones come away from the flesh, about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce and allow to cool. Fill hot, sterilized bottles with the cooked sauce and seal.

I had a great meal, while watching Spicks and specks. The good thing is that I still have some of the vegetables ready cooked and I have all the other ingredients to do it again tomorrow night if I am still feeling in the need of comfort food! Now, I can get off to chamomile tea and my warm bed! Hopefully, I will feel better tomorrow.

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