Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Lot of Plums

Dom’s assessment of the orchard this week is that there are no more plums, so it is likely (no matter how hard you search) that you’ll find the same now. Perhaps you have another source of plums, or have stashed some in your freezer to be able to enjoy the offering from Rebecca this week:

Here is a sweet, warming chutney to eat with dal, or in a sandwich. Nigella seeds are surprising little black specks, with an intense umami flavour resonate of onions.

Plum and Nigella Seed Chutney
Makes 1 jam-jar

Ingredients
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
12 plums
3 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 lime, zest and juice

Preparation
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, until they become toasted and smell delicious. Leave them to cool.
Meanwhile stone the plums and chop them roughly into pieces. Put them in a saucepan along with all the other ingredients aside from the cumin seeds.
Grind the now-cooled cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle and add them to the saucepan as well. (Apparently if you grind cumin seeds while they are very hot the flavour is not as good.)
Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is a bit jammy and the plums have broken down.
Cool and decant into a sterilised jar. Store in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Guardian,28 Sept. 2019.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Grandmother’s Plum Cake

My Austrian grandmother was a rather difficult person, but an excellent cook. Here is her recipe for plum cake. It is easy and very tasty, and you can use other fruits in place of the plums. My friend Lizzie has invented a delicious variation that uses fresh pears and ground almonds (add half a cup along with the flour). This makes a small cake but the recipe can easily be doubled.

Pflaumkuchen (Plum Cake)

This recipe uses US cup measures, which equate to 8 fluid ounces.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
3 egg yolks
1 cup flour
3 (unbeaten) egg whites
as many plums as you like, cut in half. You can also use other fruit in place of the plums.
icing sugar, for dusting on top

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 190C.
Grease and flour a 20cm cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Stir in the lemon zest, egg yolks and flour.
Add the unbeaten egg whites and spoon the mixture into the cake pan.
Place the halved plums on top, cut side up. ‘Do not push in’, says the handwritten recipe from my grandmother. You can place them close together or far apart, as you prefer.
Bake at 190C for 30 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 180C and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar when it is cool.

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