Like when you’re on holiday, cut off from specialist food stores, with just a regular supermarket and a hankering for a feed of cheese.
That was me at Waikanae, my friends.
Thankfully I’d listened to an interview with Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend, authors of Composing the Cheese Plate. So sage advice in mind, I headed to the supermarket.
Sage advice #1 – get inspired by what’s in season.
OK, I had rhubarb from my garden, plums from a roadside stall and I know raspberries are in season. A rhubarb, plum and raspberry compote or some such gentle jamminess would work wonders with cheese.
My compote would have the sweet of plum, tart of rhubarb and fragrance of raspberries. So a light fresh Goats cheese would make a fine companion.
I’d seen those little rindless logs of goat chèvre at the supermarkets. Perfect.
Sage advice #3 Think about whether you really need bread or crackers.
Brian Keyser noted that we often serve bread or crackers out of habit, rather than because they make a plate better.
My textures would be sloppy stew and crumbly cheese so I’d need some form of transport. Crispy lavosh, with sea salt seemed my best option, and I was able to get a commercial version at the supermarket.
Here’s the recipe for my compote. I added lightly toasted pistachios. They gave colour, a rich base note and a little more crunch.
Rhubarb, plum and raspberry compote
- 4 plums, halved
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons sugar
1. Slice rhubarb in inch long pieces, cut plums in half and destone as carefully as you can be bothered.
2. Place the rhubarb, plum, honey and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
3. Simmer gently without a lid for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the fruit has softened and the sauce has thickened.
4. When it’s a nice jammy texture remove and cool. Gently fold in a handful of raspberries. Note, if the fruit has cooked and it’s getting too runny, remove the fruit and cook down the liquid.
5. Serve the compote cooled with goats cheese, lightly toasted pistachios and sea salt lavosh.