Plum crazy! – by Jenny Morris

Plum crazy! – by Jenny Morris
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

Walking around the supermarkets I noticed that not only are there Christmas decorations and gifts on the shelves already, but one can get large, juicy sweet plums already. Now what I love about this juicy sweet stone fruit is that it lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Whatever colour the plum, be it golden, black, deep ruby red or the green greengage, they are all juicy and delicious eaten fresh and when dried, they have a wonderful deep plummy flavour and a delicious sticky, chewy texture.

A plum is a drupe fruit of the subgenus Prunus and is a relative of the peach, nectarine and almond. When shopping for plums make sure that they are ripe and ready to eat. They should yield to gentle pressure. They are normally slightly soft at their tip. I always look for plums that still have a slight whitish bloom, a good sign that they have not been over handled. If your plums are not ripe enough , leave them in a bowl at room temperature and they will ripen further. Once they are ripe store them in the fridge. I find the best way to eat a plum and get the best flavour from it is to eat it at room temperature. They are at their best and juiciest that way. Besides being delicious, they are healthy too, being a very good source of Vitamin C. They are also a good source of Vitamin K, copper, dietary fibre, and potassium.

I love them baked or poached in port with star anise and cloves, but I love to eat them as a savoury sauce or chunky chutney alongside a juicy rare beef fillet, or an ostrich steak. I am looking forward to a full season of luscious, sweet, juicy plums. I’m going to make the most of them, whether fresh, cooked, juiced, jammed or relished. How about you?

Let’s cook!

Roasted Fillet with Chunky Plum
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 1kg whole trimmed fillet of beef
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 300g firm, ripe red plums
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tbls finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 3 tbls cup white sugar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 200 ml port
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbls balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbls soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tbls chopped fresh coriander

Method:
First get the sauce started. Stone and halve the plums.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan large enough to hold the plums. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and star anise, cook stirring till sugar melts adding a little port to prevent it burning. Once the sugar has melted add the remaining port and lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Place the plums into the mixture and simmer gently till plums are tender, but not overcooked – about 8 minutes should do. Remove plumbs with a slotted spoon, remove from the heat, remove the plums, stir in the sesame oil, orange zest and coriander, turn the plums to the sauce and prepare the meat.
Rub the fillet with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper and ground cumin.
Heat a fry pan till nice and hot and seal the meat on all sides till nice and brown. Roast on 180 for 15 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and then slice and spoon over the plum sauce.
Tip: This sauce is also delicious served with pork, chicken, lamb, duck and ostrich.
© Jenny Morris 2014