What it Means to be Perfect: Chocolate coated dried plums marinated in white wine and a hint of thyme
February 11, 2011 § 9 Comments
When in Belgium I went to visit my great aunty and uncle Yvonne and Jos in the small town of Bellingen. Oom Jos just turned 90 and Tante Yvonne isn’t far behind. We ate cake with a fork and knife before a dinner of witlof wrapped in ham and baked in snowy white sauce. This is a very traditional Flemish dish. As a child I was always glad witlof was so hard to find in Australia so it rarely ended up in my mother’s kitchen. But now I enjoy it in small amounts provided there’s plenty of ham and sauce to go around.
During the Flemish conversations around the dinner table I mostly daydreamed at the paintings on the wall and marvelled at the young spirit of my aunt and uncle gossiping and laughing about the local goings on. At one point, the conversation briefly turned to English and my uncle proclaimed,
‘No one is perfect.’
Then after reflecting on this statement for a while he continued,
‘Except for my wife! She is Perfect. She cleans and cooks all day. She is perfect… only problem is she has no time for making love. She is too busy. She never has time to kiss me.’
I am always struck when I see an old relationship full of humour, love and adoration like this one, a little reminder that life can indeed be great, full of warmth and happiness.
So because the conversation here is about love and perfection and because it is almost Valentines Day and because I am sadly alone with my darling still in Africa, I have decided it is most suitable I share this recipe so perfect and delicious it will make you weak at the knees and your heart melt. Well at least I hope so.
I got the idea of chocolate covered prunes from Stephanie Alexanders book The Cooks Companion. She stuffs them with almonds and soaks them in brandy. I have adapted it some by using white wine and adding a few little bits and pieces for extra freshness. I think the thyme and lemon zest brings something unique and light to the richness of the chocolate. I also changed the terminology a bit because for something with a valentine spirit ‘prunes’ doesn’t really have the right um… connotations in regards to some of its well known uses. Dried plums on the other hand….
Recipe for Chocolate Coated Dried Plums
30 pitted prunes
3/4 cup white wine
Juice of an orange
Sprig of thyme
Zest of 1/4 of a lemon
200g dark cooking chocolate
Stuff an almond into each prune where the pip would have been and place in a bowl along with the white wine, orange juice, thyme and lemon zest. Allow to soak for 1 – 2 hours then drain well.
Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
Dip each prune into the chocolate. Allow to cool in the fridge on a tray covered with baking paper until the chocolate sets.
Serve on a pretty plate and eat with someone special.