“For Chris and Justin [the chefs] the Royal Opera House is a theatre and the ingredients, food and service must ‘sing’ – as if in their own opera”

Kitchen Garden Experts, Cinead McTernan


A couple of months ago I went to see Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (the Elixir of Love) at the ROH. The menu included a pud designed to complement the name and atmosphere of the opera which consisted of chocolate mousse and plums in crème de cassis. If you can get it British cassis is even better being slightly less sweet and more fruity.

Here is my version of the plums – in fact I think they go better with the richer, more solid petit pot au chocolat. They certainly go well with  elegant Nutella cake. And they also go brilliantly and simply with dark crêpes dentelle and thick Greek yoghurt. The plums are poached in the blackcurrant spirit together with a heavenly pairing of cardamom and vanilla

For six – with chocolate mousse, chocolate tart, or hot with  bought vanilla ice cream, or super-simple no machine needed homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s also good covered with a blanket of thick yoghurt and then peppered with soft brown sugar which slowly sinks through the creamy counterpane.

Cover the plums with yoghurt and sprinkle with soft brown sugar

Cover the plums with yoghurt and sprinkle with soft brown sugar


  • 12 dark plums
  • 360ml/1½ cups crème de cassis – Briottet is a good make
  • 12 crushed cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste (Tahitian if possible, or if you are super picky – why? According to Niki Segnit Tahitian vanilla is sweeter and fruitier – it’s more floral and has less vanillin so it complements the cardamom better)
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar


  1. Wash, halve and de-stone the plums
  2. Bring everything else to boil in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the fruit
  4. Poach for about twenty minutes stirring every now and then
  5. The liquid should now be syrupy. If it isn’t take the fruit out with a slotted spoon and reduce the liquid until it is – cool and mix the fruit in once again.