Wild plum semifreddo // blackberry coulis// ginger nut crumb – River Cottage Rising Star 2014 Entry






I don’t usually stray from regular recipe posts, so this is a little unusual for me.
Don’t panic though, it is still a recipe, just within a competition entry!

A few weeks ago, through the magic of twitter (tweet me @KloEllaDeVille) I learned about River Cottage’s Rising Star Competition. Basically, the prize, becoming the ambassador for the River Cottage Young Chefs’ Apprenticeship Scheme, was too good to miss. Although I’m although carving out a career for myself in food, formal training is something which at the moment I just can’t afford, even though I feel like it would really benefit me for the rest of my life. Having just finished a four year degree and literally having no money to my name means it’s just not possible for me at the moment. Which is so frustrating, as I also have tiiiiiime. This is the time in my life where I have no other commitments, I’m so passionate about it, and I really, really WANT to do it. So you can see the lure of the competition for me now!


So, to enter, you needed to make a video of yourself cooking something delicious. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, considering I’ve never made a video in my life, but I’ve got a video setting on my camera, I decided to give it a shot. After having sat down with my very good friend Giulia (check out her blog here: http://giuliamatteiblog.wordpress.com/) , who THANK GOD is a film maker and helped me edit the video, cutting all of the blurry bits with terrible audio, I compiled a list of things I’d do differently next time:

  • If your mum is filming you, make sure she’s got her contacts in.
  • Find out where the audio thing is on your camera and make sure your mum doesn’t have her finger over it.
  • In fact, use a tripod.
  • Plan each shot so that you know step by step what you’re filming next.
  • Try and shoot loud stuff like blending and whisking for as little time as possible.
  • Put your dog in another room so when you come to edit she’s not begging for semifreddo in the corner. (Love you really Mills)
  • Don’t forget to film WHOLE CHUNKS of REALLY IMPORTANT SECTIONS of your recipe. I forgot to film the cream being whipped, the blackberry coulis being made and the ginger nuts being crushed. I’m a bad person/director.
  • Try not to be nervous! For some reason I got a bit scared about doing this and nearly didn’t enter. I had to give myself a little shake and stop being such a weirdo and just be normal. Hope I look normal on the vid.

Sooooo, after all that, it’s onto the recipe! As you’ll see in the vid, I used wild plums for this as there’s a huge tree of them in a field near my house. My granddad John, being the biggest forager and fruit lover I know, actually pointed them out first. They’re quite sour straight from the tree so I left them for a few days at home, and they turned a beautiful deep reddy-purple, all ready to be stewed. You can use shop bought plums for this as well although you’ll probably have a different colour plum syrup depending on the variety. There was also thooousands of blackberries, as there always is, in the hedgerows and I just hate leaving them there so I grabbed a couple of those too!
I decided to make a semifreddo, which is like a no churn ice cream, made up of half meringue and half whipped cream, because when I picked the fruits we were in glorious sunshine. Summer fruits = summer food, right? Right! Unfortunately, and in a typically British fashion, it was raining by the time I went to make it. Sigh.
The reason I decided to forage the ginger nuts from the Shell garage down the road was because I felt that as they were such a small component of the recipe, as the crumb, I didn’t want to take up too much time filming the making of them, so that the semifreddo was the star. Had I come up with the excellent idea of ginger nut semifreddo sandwiches before that point I would have for sure made really big, flat palm sized ones, which would have been excellent. Next time!
Lastly I must apologise for the quality of the final shots of the semifreddo and accompaniments – I shot them at night which you can probably tell from the poor light. It’s not like me and I know lots of you who read this blog come for the piccys- I hope it still looks delicious! I’m kicking myself for running out of time!

VOTING opens on August 22nd and I would be so grateful if you guys would take the time to vote for me. I’ll post the link here when it comes up but it will be directly onto the River Cottage website.

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You will need: 

For the semifreddo

300g plums, halved and de-stoned
350g caster sugar
2 large egg whites
300ml double cream

For the blackberry coulis

200g blackberries
2 tbsp water
handfull of caster sugar

For the ginger nut crumb

6-8 ginger nuts

You will also need:

A sugar thermometer
A 20cmx30xm tin lined with cling film

Start by lining a 20x30cm tin with cling film. This is a good time to make sure it fits in your freezer ok. You can leave it in there to chill while you make your semifreddo.
Put your de-stoned and halved plums into a heavy  bottomed saucepan with 100g of your sugar and 2tbsp of water. Stir so that the plums are evenly coated then cover with a lid and leave to stew for about 10 mins. Once the plums are soft and have broken down a bit, blend with either a stick blended or a regular blender until nice and smooth, then push through a sieve to get rid of any bits of skin. Set aside to let cool.
Next, make your sugar syrup. This will be added to the meringue later while still hot to help cook it.
Place the 240g caster sugar plus 150g water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Place your sugar thermometer into the mixture and place over a low heat for the sugar to dissolve. You need to be really careful as it gets super hot – sugar burns are fun for no one. Remove from the heat once it gets to 120 degrees on the thermometer- about 5 minutes. I like to pour my syrup into a small jug with a handle at this point so that it’s easier to pour.
In a large, clean bowl, whip your egg whites until you have stiff peaks using an electric whisk or kitchen aid. With the machine still running, slowly pour in your sugar syrup, whisking until nice and thick. Gently whip your double cream in another bowl and then fold through 3/4 of your plum syrup. Add your meringue and gently fold so that you have nice rippled effect. Pour the remainder of the syrup on top and use a mini palate knife to gently ripple it over the top.
Place in the freezer for at least five hours or over night.
To make the blackberry coulis, place your blackberries in a pan and sprinkle with the sugar and water. Mix until combined then leave to simmer down, for about ten minutes. Remove fro the heat and sieve to get rid of any pips. Leave to cool.
For the ginger nut crumb, place your biscuits in a blender and pulse.

See the video below for tips on how to assemble!




  1. Look’s absolutely delicious Chloe. Will definitely give this a go. All the best – you have our vote! The Brannans x

  2. Pingback: Cardamom, orange and white chocolate shortbread // Hazelnut, milk chocolate and salt cookies // **VOTE FOR ME IN THE RIVER COTTAGE RISING STAR 2014 COMPETITION!** « The City Girl's Kitchen

  3. Pingback: Cardamom, orange and white chocolate shortbread // Hazelnut, milk chocolate and salt cookies // **VOTE FOR ME IN THE RIVER COTTAGE RISING STAR 2014 COMPETITION!** « The City Girl's Kitchen

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