Tuesday, 30 August 2011

More plums

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Here's the second installment of that 3kg of plums...

Plum and Ginger Chutney
(borrowed from Lotte Duncan's lovely 'Lotte's Country Kitchen' Absolute Press, 2010)

Again, a lovely activity to do with children because they enjoy squishing the plums and because you don't need to be too exact with everything else.

  • You will need:
  • 25g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 450g plums
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

Activity:

  • Show your child how to stone the plums, extracting them with (clean) fingers.
  • Grate the ginger together.
  • Chop the onion together - child using a table knife.

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  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion.
  • Add the plums and ginger and cook gently for 10 mins until the plums are soft. They will go a lovely pink colour. Add water if the plums are not very juicy.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar.
  • Transfer to a sterilised jar.

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Lotte Duncan says you should serve this warm, but we have eaten it as an accompaniment to cheese and cold meat. Delicious.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Plums

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All the fruit suddenly seems to be coming out as Autumn is creeping towards us. A walk around the Grandparent's village and we came across some bags of plums left out by someone whose tree had obviously had a bumper year. 3KG later, we almost had too many to know what to do with. We found two recipes: one sweet, one savoury (to follow). Both are brilliant to do with kids - super easy and stoning the plums was great fun (although watch small stones and inquisitive toddlers).

Roasted Plum Sorbet (borrowed from Hugh Fearnley Whittingtsall)

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You will need:

  • 1.5kg Plums
  • 1.5 vanilla pods
  • 75g caster sugar (or more if necessary)
  • Sieve
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Roasting tray
Activity:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  • Wash hands and the plums and put them in a large bowl.
  • Show your child how to remove the stone by opening up the plum. The plums we were using were very ripe, so just required a squish but you may need to help the process along by making a slit in the fruit with a knife. The children should enjoy getting stuck into the sweet, sticky plums.

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  • Open up the vanilla pods by cutting them length-ways, then cut into several large pieces.
  • Put the plums, vanilla, sugar and 180ml water into a roasting tin and put into the oven for about 1/2 hour.
  • When you open the oven, you will see that the plums have changed colour and now have a beautiful yellow flesh.
  • Leave to cool.

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  • Show your child how to push the plum mixture through a wire sieve to make a sort of coulis. We also put some of the less lumpy mush that was left in the sieve into the final mixture which seemed to thicken it up a bit.
  • Put the mixture into a shallow plastic container and into the freezer. You will need to come back to it once every hour for about 3 hours to stir it. This is a great way of teaching children about the process of freezing.

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The final product is delicious and completely addictive. HFW suggests serving it with a chocolate brownie which would make it even better - although ours didn't really even make it into a bowl...

Or you could:
  • You could make this sorbet out of anything really - experiment with different flavours.
  • Make 'granita' where you freeze the pureed fruit into a sort of ice. To serve, scrape it with a fork and put into glasses. Great with strawberries.