Plums are totally 'in' right now. And I don't just mean that they are in season right now (which they of course are), but their colour, THE colour purple, has also been designated as this year's official tone by none other than the colour gods at Pantene. So because we always strive to be on trend at Mandagery Creek HQ, this post is dedicated to all things good and purple and here, now, that means plums.
Our little orchard boasts two plum trees that (despite being ignored all year) were particularly generous this season. We have been eating them like crazy, giving them away by the bagful and loving every juicy mouthful. And because plum season has a while in it yet, here are a few of our favourite recipes with the colour purple.
Plum and cinnamon 'leather'
I was inordinately proud of this little creation, right up until the point I went to pack it into Alice's lunchbox for the second day in a row. She told me that yes it looked and tasted good but didn't quite cut it because all the other kids have fruit leather from the supermarket that leaves some kind of carton imprint on your tongue. Harrumph. In any case, making fruit leather at home is a great way to use up seasonal excesses and aside from its lack of novelty-factor, it's full of energy and colour. Makes about one large sheet of 'leather'.
1kg plums (or other stonefruit, berries, apples or pears)
Juice of one lemon
4 tbsp honey (optional)
4 tbsp honey (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to its lowest setting (mine only goes down to about 100°C). Halve and stone the fruit and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add a tablespoon or so of water. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until your fruit has completely collapsed and softened (stirring often so it doesn't catch and burn on the bottom). Add the honey and cinnamon then transfer to a blender. Blitz until you have a very smooth paste, then line a large biscuit tray with baking paper then spread the plum paste over in a large, thin layer.
Place in the oven for 8 hours or overnight if your oven goes down to 60°C or so. Once the fruit has been dehydrated into a deep purple sheet of soft 'leather', remove from oven and set aside until cool. Then you can just store in an airtight container until needed/wanted. It rolls up beautifully or can be just torn into shards and eaten at will.
Tray-baked chicken with plums, soy and ‘crumble’This beautiful dish is full of colour, flavour and texture, plus it's incredibly easy = winner winner chicken dinner. The crumble mix is a real favourite of mine at the moment, make a big batch and use it over basic salads, steamed greens or pretty much anywhere you fancy a little extra flavour and crunch. Serves 4.
For the 'crumble'';
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine the oats, seeds, syrup, garlic and olive oil in a bowl and mix until well combined. Spread in a thin layer on a lined baking tray and cook for 15 minutes or until golden (toss mixture about halfway through). Once completely cool, store in an airtight container.
For the chicken;
8 free-range, boneless chicken thigh pieces (skin on if you can find them)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
8 plums, halved
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 200°. Place the chicken, garlic, ginger and plums in a roasting tray. Season well then drizzle over the soy sauce and add a couple of tablespoons of the chicken stock.
Cook for 25 minutes. Check that the chicken and plums aren’t drying up and sticking to the base of the dish (if so, add the rest of the chicken stock) then return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, scatter with the ‘crumble’ and a handful of micro herbs or coriander. Serve with steamed greens.
Frozen plum yogurtThis is so easy and a great alternative to ice creams when you are trying to be a bit good. And of course, you could swap the plum puree (pictured below) with any pureed fruit that's in season (rhubarb is another big favourite of ours).
1/4 cup water
Honey, to taste
500g natural 'Greek-style' yogurt
For the plum puree: halve and stone the plums then place them in a large saucepan with the water. Heat very gently, stirring often and cook for about 15 minutes until the fruit softens then tip into a blender and puree until very smooth and sweeten with honey to taste. Place in the fridge to chill.
If you have an ice cream machine, place the yogurt and chilled plum puree in the machine and churn according to instructions then place in the fridge to chill. If you don't; just mix together the yogurt and plum puree then place in the fridge for two hours. Remove and whisk then return to the fridge. Repeat this process twice.