Archives for posts with tag: plums

Things couldn’t be more different from a year ago when I first started writing this blog.  A walk past my local mulberry bush and the familiar hedgerows and plum trees near my house  a couple of weeks ago was disappointing in some ways, although probably closer to how things should be at this time of year, as they were yet not heavy with ripe fruit as they had been the year before but full of promising green berries waiting for the summer sun.  I too am waiting for the summer sun but will have a longer wait this year as I am now in a different hemisphere and have been plunged into the depths of an Australian Winter (which, it turns out, is marginally cooler than a British Summer). 

There has not been a lot of baking in the Bread for the Boys household over recent months but rather a lot of travelling, jet-lag and frantic packing and now, feeling as if I am waking from a rather confusing dream, I find that I have (s)emigrated. The Boys, all being dual citizens have emigrated proper but I have merely (s)emigrated on account of a not-quite-ready spouse visa. So, I wait, in tourist mode and think about another adventure when I need to leave the country again in three months time. 

There have, of course, been many distressing Goodbyes over recent weeks, mostly to family and friends of the two- and four- legged variety.  And then there was my sourdough starter.  Having become slightly obsessed with watching Border Security: Australia’s Front Line I realised that taking it with me was simply not an option. 

So here I am, ready to start again, with exciting foodie adventures ahead of me!

One of my most memorable breakfasts was at a little cafe at Bronte Beach in Sydney – poached figs with spiced ricotta and raisin toast.  Everything was delicious: the food, the company, the sunshine, the view of the beach and the sea.  Happy Days.

I make this breakfast from time to time on summer days when it is warm enough to have breakfast in the garden.  So, not very often!

It was raining today but I decided I wanted to make this breakfast anyway as my brain had been nagging at me to make it.  This was probably because we had originally planned to track down a fig tree near my parents’ house but, sadly, didn’t have time.  Since our foraging trip had yielded such a bumper haul of plums it seemed a shame to buy some figs so I decided to make a similar (and rather hastily presented) breakfast with plums poached with brown sugar and a vanilla pod I found lurking at the back of my Mum’s kitchen cupboard.

“It is like a jam factory in here” said Mum.

I’ve brought the boys to stay with my parents for a few days to do all the things we normally do, somewhere else, with extra pairs of hands.  We’re having fun.

One of our reasons for the trip is to collect late-summer fruit and make jam together.  My parents enjoy foraging just as much as we do so, equipped with large bags, punnets and a long pole, we head for the Dunton Plotlands, the remnants of an area of small holiday homes for Londoners from the early 1900s which became permanent abodes after The Blitz.  A variety of fruit trees, as well as the ubiquitous blackberry bush, are abundant in the area.

Being the summer holidays a lot of the fruit has already been collected but there is still more than we know what to do with.  We return home with early cooking apples, various types of plums, and damsons.

The apples went into a caramelised apple pie which we ate with cream for pudding.

We’ve decided that the best way to make jam-making less arduous is to simmer the fruit earlier in the day or even on the previous day and then add the sugar and make the jam in the evening, after the children have gone to bed.  Despite the fact that my Mum taught me to make jam we find that our methods have diverged somewhat over the years.  I like to use a jam thermometer, she doesn’t need one!  She likes to fish the stones out after the fruit is cooked rather than de-stone the cold fruit.

Our minor disagreements aside, we both agree that the jam tastes delicious!