Seasonal Recipes

Various Plum Recipes

 Rich spiced Plum Chutney Plum Chutney

Preparation time – 30 mins   Cooking time – 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1kg plum , halved, stoned and finely chopped
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped (red onions are good for this recipe but brown or white will be fine)
  • 100g dried cranberries, sultanas or raisins, roughly chopped with an oiled knife
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. black mustard seed
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin (personal note – I sometimes cumin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (Personal note – I prefer to use 1 tsp of crushed black peppercorns and often add black onion seeds too)
  • 400ml red wine vinegar – cider vinegar is good too but avoid non-brewed condiment or malt vinegar)
  • 500g light muscovado sugar

Rich spiced Plum Chutney – Method

Put all the ingredients, except the sugar, into a large pan and stir well.

Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the plums are tender.

  • Stir in the sugar plus 2 tsp salt and keep stirring until it has dissolved.
  • Boil the chutney for 20-30 mins, uncovered, until it is thick and pulpy.
  • Stir frequently to prevent stirring
  • Pot into sterilised jars, seal, label and store for at least 2 weeks before eating. Will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark place

Sugar Plums By Nigel Slater

Ingredients:plums2

  • granulated sugar 350g
  • water 200ml
  • lemon 1
  • plums 900g, just ripe

Sugar Plums – Method

Put the sugar into a large, deep saucepan, pour in the water and let it come to the boil. Remove three strips of lemon
 peel with a small knife or vegetable peeler and drop into the syrup, letting it simmer for 10 minutes. It should be clear and quite thick, and should smell sweetly of lemon.

Wash the plums, halve them and remove the stones, setting four or five of them aside. Lower the fruit into the simmering syrup, then add the reserved stones and leave at a gentle bubble for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave overnight, unstirred and in a cool place.

Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the fruits from the syrup, placing them tenderly in a bowl so they don’t fall apart. You will be left with a pale-pink syrup. Return the pan of syrup to the stove, add the juice of the lemon, bringing to the boil and letting it bubble furiously for as long as it takes for it to come to 108C on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have one, then stop boiling when the syrup will set almost instantly on a fridge-cold saucer.

Pack the plums carefully into a sterilised Kilner or other preserving jar (a few minutes in boiling water will do the trick.) Once the flurry of bubbles has subsided, scrape off any froth then pour the syrup over the fruit and seal tightly. It’s worth taking care not to drip any syrup around the rim of the jar, otherwise you’ll never be able to open the thing.

The fruit will keep in a cool place, but it’s much better to keep them in the fridge where they can remain chilled and ready to serve.

Chinese plum sauce by Nigel Slater

Bottled and refrigerated, this sweet-sharp sauce is one for duck pancakes, but also for spreading on a roast chicken sandwich or serving as an accompaniment for roast pork. Makes enough to fill two medium-sized bottles.

Ingredients

  • plums 800g 
  • red-wine vinegar 400ml
  • dried chilli flakes 1 tsp
  • star anise flowers 4
  • Sichuan peppercorns 1 tsp
  • ginger a thumb-sized knob
  • garlic 4 large cloves
  • salt 1 tsp
  • dark soy sauce 80ml
  • soft brown sugar 125g 

Chinese Plum Sauce – Method

Wipe, halve and stone the plums, then put them in a wide, deep saucepan. Pour in the red-wine vinegar, add the dried chilli flakes, the star anise flowers and the Sichuan peppercorns.

Peel and slice the garlic and add to the plums. Peel the ginger, then slice into thick coins and add it to the pan, together with the salt, then place over a moderate flame and bring to the boil. Lower the heat so the mixture simmers gently and leave for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the plums are soft.

Place a large sieve over a bowl or clean saucepan, pour the plums and their liquid into it then push as much as you can through the sieve. Return the mixture to the stove, add the soy sauce and the sugar and simmer, with the occasional stir, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for five minutes, taking care the mixture doesn’t burn. It should be dark and glossy.

Taste the sauce, it should be sour, sweet and salty and fruitier than the commercial variety. Pour into a bottle and store in the fridge.

Spiced plum & apple chutney

Preparation time: 25 mins  Cooking time: 1 to 1 ¼ hrs

MAKES 4-5 1lb JARSPlum chutneyIngredients

  • garlic bulb peeled and cut into slivers.
  • thumb-size piece fresh root ginger peeled and thinly shredded.
  • 2 large onion peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 1kg Bramley apples
  • star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500ml bottle cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1kg plums
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • you will need: 4-5 sterilised jars (wash and rinse then place in a low oven to sterilise)

Spiced Plum and Apple Chutney – Method

Gather all ingredients.

Put onions in a large, wide saucepan or a preserving pan with the garlic and ginger.

Peel, core and chop the apples, then add to the pan with the spices, vinegar and salt.

Slowly bring to boiling point stirring regularly to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan. The lower the heat and cover the pan to prevent evaporation and simmer until the apples and onions are a soft pulp. (aprox 30 minutes)

While the apples are simmering, stone and quarter the plums. Remove the cover and add the plums to the cooked apples with the sugar. Stir well and leave to gently bubble away, uncovered this time, on a low heat for approximately 45 minutes stirring regularly.

The plums should be cooked but still retain some of their shape.

Ladle into warm sterilised jars, seal and label. Do not use for a few weeks to give the vinegar needs time to mellow. If you don’t want the flavour of the spices to develop any more, then take out the cinnamon and star anise before potting. It will keep for 1 year in a cool dark place but once opened store in the fridge and use within a month.

Plum Marshmallows

Preparation time: 20 mins  Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 450g ripe plums (weighed after stoning), roughly choppedPlums
  • 550g granulated sugar
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g cornflour
  • 11 sheets gelatine
  • 2 large egg whites
  • More icing sugar and cornflour mix for dusting and storing.

Plum Marshmallows – Method

Put the plums in a saucepan with 50g of the sugar. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until really soft and mushy – this will take about 20 mins.

Leave to cool a little then blitz in a blender or food processor to a smooth purée.

Line an 8inch (20 cm) square tin with baking parchment. Sift the icing sugar and cornflour together, and sprinkle a little over the base of the tin.

One by one place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften.

Put 200 ml of water in a saucepan and stir in the remaining sugar

Place over a low heat stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Increase the heat, add a sugar thermometer, and boil until it reaches 125C.

Whilst the sugar is coming to the boil beat the egg whites in your largest heatproof bowl until stiff peaks form.

When the sugar syrup is ready, stir in the plum purée

Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine leaves, add to the mix and stir until completely melted.

With your whisks running, or whilst continually hand whisking, slowly pour the plum and sugar mix over the egg whites and continue beating until the mixture is think and creamy looking.

Pour into the prepared tin and leave at room temperature to set for a few hrs.

When set the mixture will spring back when pressed gently with a finger.

Lay a piece of parchment on the worktop and dust with the cornflour and icing sugar mix and turn the marshmallow out onto it.

Using a sharp knife dipped in the icing sugar mix cut the slab into square chunks and toss in more of the icing sugar mix. To store line a tin of plastic container with parchment with sifted icing sugar mix in the bottom and dust each layer as you fill to prevent sticking. Keep in a cool place.

 

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Raspberry Vodka

Raspberries

If you want to make Raspberry Vodka you will need a large jar with a screw top lid.

I use a large Kilner jar with the two-part lid but clip tip will be just as good

It is okay to use slightly over ripe fruit for making liqueurs as they give up their juice more readily but it will slightly dilute the alcohol content of the finished product and may ferment. You would have to release the gasses periodically if used.

 Method for Raspberry Vodka

  1. Fill the jar three quarters full with fruit.
  2. Tip out onto scales and weigh
  3. Put back into the jar with half the equivalent weight of granulated sugar.
  4. Put lid on and leave for several days (2 to 5)  for the fruit to macerate and juices to flow.
  5. When sugar has dissolved top up the jar with Vodka. It does not have to be an expensive variety.
  6. Set aside in a dark place. (a kitchen cupboard is fine)
  7. Leave for at least three weeks. Taste for sweetness. If you wish to add more sugar either dissolve it in a little of the warmed liquid or gently shake each day after adding until dissolved.
  8. Line a large dish with a jelly bag and tip contents into the bag.
  9. Suspend bag over the dish for several hours. Preferably overnight.
  10. Bottle and label the liqueur
  11. Use fruit over ice-cream or in cold deserts,

You may need to be sweetened a little first.

 To ring the changes, use any fruit of choice as it comes into season .

 Other spirits may also be used e.g. Brandy with cherries or apples. Sloes with Gin

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Quince or Plum Brandy

plum-brandy

This is a very straightforward and simple recipe for Quince or Plum Brandy and works equally well for either fruit. It can be scaled up for any amount of fruit or any number of bottles.

Ingredients

  • 3 quinces or equivalent in plums, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick broken into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon barberries (optional)
  • Enough brandy to fill the bottle (approx 330ml)

Plum or Quince Brandy – Method

  1. Place the ingredients in the bottle and cover with brandy.
  2. Leave the mixture to sit for at least two weeks.
  3. Strain the brandy into a sterile bottle and drink.

NB Use the fruit for use in a cake or pudding or with ice-cream

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Salmon and Asparagus Quiche

Ingredients

  • 700g shop-bought or homemade pastry
  • 50g butter
  • 1 large onion , halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • bunch asparagus (approx 400g), woody ends trimmed, then halved lengthways
  • 100ml milk
  • 300g skinless salmon fillets
  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 large eggs , beaten
  • ½ small bunch dill, stalks removed (optional)
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 100g cheddar cheese grated

Salmon and Asparagus Quiche – Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Dust a clean work surface with flour, then roll out 600g of the pastry to line a 20 x 30cm tin. Trim the edges with scissors so that the pastry sits 2-3mm higher than the sides of the tin. Prick the surface all over with a fork, then line with baking parchment and add an even layer of baking beans. Place on the hot baking sheet and blind-bake for 15 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining pastry and any off-cuts, cut into strips and plait together. Take the tin out of the oven, remove the baking beans and brush all over with a thin layer of beaten egg. Stick the pastry plaits onto the edges, brush with beaten egg and return to the oven for another 15 mins until cooked through but not brown.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook gently for 15-20 mins or until soft, then stir in the fennel seeds and take off the heat. Leave to cool in the pan.

  4. Remove the tart case from the oven and set aside while you cook the rest of the filling. Add the asparagus to a large sauté pan, cover with 2-3cm water, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Drain, then rinse in cold water to cool down quickly. Leave to dry on kitchen paper. Put the empty pan back on the hob, add the milk and salmon, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 4 mins, turning once.

  5. Carefully take the salmon out of the milk and lay on a plate. Pour the milk into a large heatproof jug and set aside. Spoon the onion and fennel seeds in an even layer across the base of the pastry case. Add the asparagus and, when the salmon is cool enough to handle, break chunks of it over the asparagus. Add the cream to the milk along with the rest of the eggs, the dill and lemon zest, then season. Pour the mixture into the pastry case, top with the cheese, then carefully put back in the oven for 45 mins-1 hr or until the filling is set and the cheese on top is turning golden. Serve  the Salmon and Asparagus Quiche warm or cold.

Serve with side salad or new boiled potatoes and carrot batons.

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Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 large beef tomatoes (about 200g each), such as Marmande
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150g long grain rice
  • 30g Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 15g fresh basil leaves, finely shredded, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 25g Parmesan (or cheese of choice)

 Baked Stuffed Tomatoes – Method

  1. Cut a 2cm thick slice off the top of each beef tomato. Scoop out the pulp with a melon baller or teaspoon into a bowl and set aside.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a medium heat, until soft but not browned.
  1. Add the tomato pulp to the pan, increase the heat slightly, and simmer vigorously for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the mixture is well-reduced and thickened.
  1. Stir in the rice, sun-dried tomatoes and the vegetable stock, cover and leave to cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the rice is only half-cooked. Stir in the basil, lemon zest and Parmesan and season to taste.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Put the hollowed out tomatoes into a lightly oiled baking dish and fill with the rice mixture. Replace the tops and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the rice is cooked through. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with a crisp mixed salad.

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Gooseberry and Orange Jam

Ingredients

450g/1lb gooseberries – (makes 675g/11/2lb of Gooseberry and Orange Jam)

Grated rind and juice of 2 oranges

150ml/1/4 pt water

450g/1lb warmed sugar

Gooseberry and Orange Jam – Method

Top and tail the gooseberries.

Place in a heavy bottomed pan with the juice and rind of the oranges.

Simmer until soft and yellowish in colour.

Add the warm sugar and dissolve slowly.

Boil rapidly until the setting point is reached.

Pour into warm sterilised jars.

Cover and label ensuring a tight fit, use screw top jars if available.

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Raspberry Vodka

You will need a large jar with a screw top lid. I use a large Kilner jar with the two-part lid but clip tip will be just as good.

Slightly over ripe fruit is Ok for making liqueurs as they give up their juice more readily but it will slightly dilute the alcohol content of the finished product and may ferment. You would have to release the gasses periodically if used.

Raspberry Vodka – METHOD

1. Fill the jar three quarters full with fruit.

2. Tip out onto scales and weigh

3. Put back into the jar with half the equivalent weight of granulated sugar.

4. Put lid on and leave for several days (2 to 5)  for the fruit to macerate and juices to flow.

5. When sugar has dissolved top up the jar with Vodka. It does not have to be an expensive variety.

6. Set aside in a dark place. (a kitchen cupboard is fine)

7. Leave for at least three weeks. Taste for sweetness. If you wish to add more sugar either dissolve it in a little of the warmed liquid or gently shake each day after adding until dissolved.

8. Line a large dish with a jelly bag and tip contents into the bag.

9. Suspend bag over the dish for several hours. Preferably overnight.

10. Bottle and label the liqueur

11. Use fruit over ice-cream or in cold deserts, It may need to be sweetened a little first.

To ring the changes, use any fruit of choice. Other spirits may also be used e.g. Brandy with cherries or apples. Sloes with Gin

Read more

Elderflower Vinegar

Ingredients

Elderflowers, what else, it’s Elderflower Vinegar!

Cider Vinegar

Elderflower Vinegar – METHOD

  1. Fill a glass jar with a screw top lid with dry elderflowers trimmed from their stalks.
  2. Pour over cider vinegar.
  3. Remove air bubbles with a chopstick and re-fill jar with more cider vinegar ensuring that the elderflowers are completely covered.
  4. Close the jar firmly with screw top lid. Label and date.
  5. Place the jar in a warm, dark place for three weeks, shaking occasionally.
  6. Strain and bottle.
  7. Label and date.
  8. Use for salad dressings or in washing water or make a cooling drink with 2 tsp vinegar and 2tsp honey in a mugful of boiling water.

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Elderflower Cordial

Ingredients

20 elderflower heads (I forgot to keep counting and used half of the basketful I’d gathered) 
4 lemons 
2 oranges 
1.8 kg granulated sugar 
1.2l water 

Elderflower Cordial –  METHOD

  1. Place the sugar in the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. While the water is heating, place the elderflowers in a large bowl and cut the zest off the oranges and lemons and add to elderflowers.
  3. Cut off the ends of the citrus fruit and discard, then slice fruit and add to contents of bowl.
  4. Pour the boiling sugar syrup over the elderflowers and citrus fruits.
  5. Cover the bowl and place in a cool place for 24 hours.
  6. Put a plate on the top of the bowl to keep the citrus fruit submerged in the syrup.
  7. After 24 hours’ strain (eat the orange slices – they are amazing!).
  8. Strain twice more using either muslin or kitchen paper.
  9. Makes 4 pints of cordial. Pour into sterilized glass jars or plastic jars and freeze.
  10. Keep in the fridge and dilute to taste.

It tastes good with fizzy water. Serve in glass jugs with slices of lemon and a sprig of mint.

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Gooseberry and Mint Jelly

INGREDIENTS

2 lb (900 g) Barely ripe green gooseberries (over ripe produce too much water and the taste is not so good)

Large Handful of washed garden mint

Granulated sugar (Approximately 2Lb (900 g)

 

Gooseberry and Mint Jelly – METHOD

  1. Wash and drain the gooseberries and place into the pan with mint and 5fl oz (150 ml) water. (No need to top and tail fruit)
  2. Slowly bring up to simmering point and simmer very gently until the fruit is tender and juice is extracted. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Leave to cool
  4. Place the mixture into a jelly bag, suspend the bag over a large bowl and strain for several hours, Preferably overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag as this will cloud the jelly.
  5. Place a couple of small plates or saucers in the fridge ready for testing the jelly set.
  6. Measure the juice.
  7. Allow between 12 to 16ozs per pint of juice. If you like a sweeter jelly use 16ozs.
  8. Add the sugar and stir well over a gentle heat. Keeping the heat low, wait for the sugar to dissolve completely. Do not be tempted to boil before the sugar is dissolved as it could cause crystallization. Testing the liquid with a wooden spoon to make sure that there are no little granules of sugar left.
  9. Turn the heat up to its very highest setting and let the preserve boil rapidly for 8 minutes, then take it off the heat to test for a set.
  10. Spoon a little of the preserve on to one of the cold saucers from the fridge, and let it cool back in the fridge. You can tell – when it has cooled – if you have a ‘set’ by pushing the mixture with your little finger: if it has a really crinkly skin, it is set. If it is not set, boil for 5 more minutes and repeat until the preserve is set.
  11. (Whenever I have made this jelly I have been unable to get a set before the liquid has turned a lovely pink colour. I don’t know if it is the variety of gooseberry I have but now do my first test at this stage.)
  12. When setting point is reached allow it to settle for a few minutes before pouring it into warmed sterilised jars.
  13. Seal with waxed discs, put the lids on and label when cold.

NB

Nice with cold platters but also as an alternative to mint sauce with roast lamb

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