After months of ifs and maybes, we have some clarity. Moving day is approaching: we should be on a plane in 7-8 weeks, and the finality of that is sinking in. I am writing lists, sorting through cupboards, de-cluttering shelves and wondering what all this will mean. The planned destination is Accra (Ghana), which should be really interesting on many levels. I hear so many good things about Accra, and am very much looking forward to new opportunities there. It will be very challenging to leave Rome and friends here, and I am certainly a bit overwhelmed by it all. This morning we went for our usual Sunday cappuccino up the hill, in the heart of Garbatella, and it is hard to imagine being a continent away from here.
Part of moving is emptying out fridge, freezer, and most of the cupboards, all of which are stuffed. It calms me, sorting through section by section. We could live for weeks on stored food, and it does spark thought of why I keep so much on hand. Love of cooking, wanting lots of option of what to cook, recipe contents of Ottolenghi cookbooks, the hunt for certain ingredients in Rome (tarragon, lemongrass, custard powder…) and subsequent stockpiling when the item is located here or abroad. Or the interesting items discovered at local food markets: truffle salami, peperoncino honey (very spicy!), a new lemon-zucchini-pepper condiment….. No, it is time to enjoy it. I am sure Accra will have interesting food markets as well.
I had a box in the freezer marked “chocolate cake”, so yesterday I pulled that out for afternoon tea. Autumn is coming, it’s down to 23-24 degrees and sunny, so we’ve actually started having hot tea again. Freezer-burned mystery chocolate cake? Why not? But when I opened the box, it was rock-hard frozen chopped-up fruit, not cake. Possibly plums, probably hastily tossed in before some trip, with a vague idea of using those for a smoothie or a cake. Oh well. Our oven just broke, and as I have been reading Norwegian news about plums being in season there, I thought – aha! I’ll make a Norwegian plum compote! Very retro. More dessert than jam: plums cooked with water and sugar, maybe a pinch of cinnamon, until they collapse a bit, then thickened with potato starch. You serve it cold or lukewarm, with cold milk or cream. On closer examination the box contained ice-crusted peach wedges, so peach compote for Sunday dessert it is.
Salvaged peach compote for Sunday dessert
500 grammes stoned peaches (or plums), roughly chopped
200 ml water
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
75 grammes golden sugar
2 tbs potato starch, stirred into 100 mol cold water
Cook the chopped peaches with the 200 ml of water, sugar and cinnamon, ten minutes or so until soft. My peaches were frozen and needed 15 minutes. No need to skin them first, the peach pieces will gently collapse after a while. Taste it to see if you think it is sweet enough, if not add a bit more sugar. Now, take the pot off the heat. Stir in the potato starch + water by pouring it int the hot fruit mixture, then put the pot back on the heat and bring to the boil again, for a couple minutes. Keep stirring, you feel it thicken and become more gelatinous. Cool. Serve cold with milk or cream, with a little sprinkle of sugar if needed.
And for afternoon tea, I am now baking banana bread in our old bread machine……. There is always some way to make cake!