Thursday, 13 January 2011

Fruit Compote

Health kick anyone? So January is well underway and the guilt to get healthy is upon us... well, for the next couple of weeks at least, or maybe just until the weekend...

I always start with a change to my breakfast habits; no more bacon and eggs, Nutella on toast, or Bloody Mary's (Christmas and new years day only) it's time to get serious! 

My favorite breakfasts at this time are mostly inspired by my beautiful Swedish/Italian friend Elena; Low fat cottage cheese on crackers with fresh sliced tomato and a pinch of homemade lovage salt/ Mashed ripe avocado on Rivita with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a little salt & pepper/Smoked salmon with beets and crackers...

Here though is another favorite; mixed fruit compote. This recipe uses pears but only because I had some left over from a job I did before Christmas; you can really replace the fruit with anything you want; apples, strawberries, rhubarb, blackberries, blueberries.... and the dried fruits and spices can be mixed up too as long as you go for the more mulling spices (cloves, cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise...). It is a great way to use up all the tired looking fruit gathered with very good intentions at the start of each health kick that never quite made it out of the fruit bowl...

4 medium pears, peeled, pips removed and sliced into large chunks. Place in a sauce pan with;
2-3 large chunks of ginger (I leave them whole so they can easily be avoided at the end, though if you like it a little fierier grate the ginger or chop into smaller chunks),
1 handful of sliced dates,
1 handful of sliced apricots (Use the natural ones. Unlike the bright orange variety they are a dark brown as they haven't been treated with sulphur)
A large stick of cinnamon,
A teaspoon of honey (for even greater health benefits try and source a local 'unfiltered' or 'unstrained' honey if you can. This apparently will help you immensely if you suffer from hay-fever as your body will start to build up a natural resistance to the pollens in your area),
2 slices of orange peel and a squeeze for good luck,
The juice of half a lemon,
A splosh of fruit juice, I used apple but whatever you have in the fridge, a little water if you don't.

Simmer the fruit, juices and spices over a low heat until the pears have softened. Transfer to a jar or tuppa and refrigerate over night. I like to eat it for breakfast with low fat Greek yogurt and a handful of oats sprinkled on top. It is also great with porridge. Or save it for an evening pudding and serve re-heated with a little custard (not healthy) or low fat creme fraiche (better).

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