Enjoy two delicious products from one set of ingredients

Taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book The River Cottage Year, this is a wonderful recipe which we have made at home time and time again.  We love the compote served with equal quantities of cold custard and unsweetened natural yoghurt but it is also great as a sauce for ice cream or trickled over rice pudding.  The dipping sauce is superb with crispy fried or grilled food, particularly prawns and pork.




1kg plums

500g caster sugar

1-2 finely chopped garlic cloves

1-2 small finely chopped fresh hot chillies

100ml light soy sauce

100ml brown rice vinegar or cider vinegar


  1. Put the whole plums and sugar in a large, heavy based ban with sufficient water to come halfway up the plums. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Simmer for 15-20minutes until the plums are tender and then strain off about 500ml of the juice through a sieve into a clean pan. Leave the plums to cool down while you make the dipping sauce.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the strained juice. Stir well and bring to the boil.  Continue to boil rapidly for around 5 minutes before pouring the liquid, through a funnel,  into sterilised bottles, ideally with a screw top.
  4. To make the compote, when the plums are cool enough to handle, remove the stones and some of the skins if you like, and return the sorted, stoned mixture to the pan. Boil hard for about 5 minutes to give a thick pulpy compote, almost on its way to being a jam.
  5. The sauce will keep for up to a year in the fridge and the compote for 3 months in a fridge – enjoy!
Tip: Choose small firm plums as they have more natural pectin and will keep their shape better