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How to make your own plum sauce

Little did I realise how timely this book would be when it arrived on my desk a few weeks ago. Caroline Dafgard Widnersson’s colourful book ‘Condiments’ has recipes to make your own hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa, harissa, ferments, pickles and spice blends from scratch. We might need to learn these kinds of skills if we have to stay at home or the supermarket shelves are empty . . .

Once you've tasted homemade condiments, where you're in charge of the flavour profile, you'll never go back to store-bought, says Caroline Dafgard Widnersson.

Too often, commercial versions are loaded with extra salt, sugar, allergens and preservatives, and can taste bland and uninspiring. So why not make your own? From ketchup, sweet chilli sauce and taco seasoning, to peppery American hot sauce, sizzling Tunisian harissa, tangy Dijon mustard, as well as infused vinegars, aromatic spice blends, pickles and preserves, there are more than 90 simple recipes that show you step by step how to make your own condiments.

This book is a love song to condiments and the joy that making them brings — that weeknight stir-fry will taste so much richer with your homemade oyster sauce and your tacos even more mouth-watering when paired with the hot sauce you've fermented at home.

• Caroline Dafgard Widnersson is based in Sweden and is a freelance chef and food stylist for a variety of food production companies and magazines.

Plum sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1kg plums 100ml apple cider vinegar 90g light brown sugar 2½ tablespoons light soy sauce 2 garlic cloves 1 x 4 cm piece ginger, grated 1 star anise

METHOD:

• Cut the plums into quarters and discard stones.

• Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil and boil for 20–25 minutes until plums are thoroughly soft.

• Cool slightly, then blend the sauce in a blender until smooth.

• Pass through a fine sieve and pour into sterilised bottles with tight-fitting lids.

• Keeps refrigerated for about 1 month.

• Makes 1 litre (35 fl oz)

This sauce is nice with Chinese food — it's excellent as a dip for fried spring rolls, or served with pork or crispy duck.

Or perhaps with foie gras, where it offers a nice contrast to the richness of the liver.

It can be made with most types of plums — when your local plums are in season, they'll be the most delicious.

The ingredients for plum sauce are pictured above. The sauce goes well with Chinese food - it can serve as a dip for spring rolls and it goes nicely as a condiment to pork or crispy duck.
Condiments by Caroline Dafgard Widnersson Published by Murdoch Books RRP $27.99