Blueberry Compote

May 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

They were in season and I asked the guide to reserve me 3 paper plates – that was how they sell them at the Saturday Market in Sagada.  A plateful is about 1 cup.   It was market day but we were also on our way to Bomod-ok falls hence the need to reserve or run out.  These wild blueberries are grown on the slopes of Mt. Ampacao usually during the months of April and May.  Due to the short season, these local berries go fast.  The locals usually make pies and jams from it.

I made a sauce, more like a compote actually that went well with pancakes, ice cream and even a trifle, which will be for another post.

Local blueberries are not only found in Sagada but are usually gathered from the pine forest of the entire Mt. Province.  Compared to their cooler climate cousins, these berries are a bit tough on the skin.  Also a bit more sour but packed with more flavor, me thinks.  While stewing the blueberries, the fragrance filled up my entire kitchen.  The blend of sour to the sweet sauce added a welcome dimension, bringing out the blueberry tang.

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or throw in a bark
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice (depending on your preference)

What you do:

  1. Place the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and water in a medium-sized saucepan.  Stir until smooth.
  2. Stir in the blueberries and place the saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Cook the sauce until the liquid thickens and becomes clear.
  4. Taste to see if there is a need to add more sugar or more water if a thinner sauce is desired.
  5. Let cool and then cover and refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup.


Squash & Figs

April 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Although dried figs are available anytime of the year, there is nothing like the distinct taste and texture of fresh figs.  Such a treat is rare since it does not transport well, and is hard to come by in my part of the world.  Soft and sweet with many seeds, this fruit is great topped with yogurt or eaten as is.  Recently on a trip to the US, I learned that it goes well with savory dishes too.

When I was visiting friends last October, I managed to pack some figs in a plastic container to bring home with me.  It survived and enabled me to whip up this easy recipe the friend I was bunking with made one dinnertime.

This is best with pancetta but unfortunately my local deli didn’t have it at that time.  I settled with some left over farmer’s ham.  Bacon is a good substitute too.

What you need

  • A few pieces of figs, halved
  • 1 cup squash, peeled and cut to 1” cubes
  • ½ cup pancetta, bacon or ham, chopped
  • a few sage leaves, chopped or 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do

  1. Cook the squash in a little oil.
  2. Add the pancetta/ham.
  3. When the ham is a bit toasty or the pancetta/bacon has rendered its fat, toss in the figs and sage.
  4. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

The result was sweet and savory with different textures from the figs and squash.  Sage, I found out is perfect partners with squash.


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