Mr first experience of compote was a trip to France when Simeon was six months old, which also brings back a terrible memory involving baby food.
I never bought jarred baby food (and never did again). I cook plenty of delicious fresh meals that my baby can enjoy blended and had lots in our baby-food freezer tray, but on the way to the airport I had a sudden panic that I needed to get some food for Simeon for the plane journey in case we were stuck on the plane for hours (yes, looking back, I may have become a bit of a new-mum drama queen).
We stopped at the Service Station and I bought a jar of ‘Spaghetti Bolognaise’. We got to the airport and then had to declare liquids. I completely forgot about this and then thought surely they will let a jar of baby food through, my baby needs it. They did let it through, but the lovely security lady asked me to taste some!
I opened the jar and the smell instantly hit me… I and the security guard turned a pale green colour. It smelled revolting. I asked “really? do I really have to eat this?” and she responded “yes, I am so sorry”. She did look sorrowful, but a part of me thought she might be enjoying this.
We were with friends, and they watched in anticipation with scrunched up faces as I put my finger in the food and put it to my mouth. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. I gagged. That was NOT spaghetti bolognaise. How are poor children expected to appreciate food if this is their first experience of it. Of course, there were eruptions of laughter as the security guard said “you don’t need to eat anymore, you can go through”. It went straight in the bin.
When we got to France and I was instantly planning meals to make and decided to get some baby yoghurts for Simeon that we could take on the beach for him to snack on. I was looking at the yoghurts and there were rows of compote – something I hadn’t noticed in the UK. They looked delicious and with few ingredients, the main one being fruit they seemed quite healthy. This became my new favourite ’emergency’ baby food when travelling and out of fresh meals, we used it for Toby too and even I enjoyed it.
I decided to make some compote yesterday to go with chia pudding and some plain Alpro yoghurt that we have at breakfast time. The smell as it is simmering is wonderful and both boys came into the kitchen asking for some.
It is easy to make and uses far less sugar than jam. You can enjoy it cold or re-heated with french toast, on bagels, in chia pudding or on ice-cream. I used some in our chia pudding for breakfast and I have plenty left over for the children’s toast and my yoghurt.
- 500 grams strawberries cut in half and hulled
- grated zest from half an orange
- juice from half an orange
- 1 tsp brown caster sugar
- Place all the ingredients in a pan.
- Bring the pan to a boil then reduce to simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before placing in sterilised storage jars.
- Keep in the fridge and enjoy re-heated or cold with your favourite recipes.