Saturday, 24 August 2013

Hedgerow Plums - Food for Free

It's plum season and you'll find loads of fresh picked English plums in your local farm shops now, buy them straight from the orchard grower for real freshness, most pick daily and sell out before the end of the day.

But while you're out and about this Bank Holiday weekend keep your eye out for wild plums in the hedgerows. Whilst not as big as cultivated plums and maybe not quite a "plummy" tasting they are food for free and can still be utilized for jams, chutneys and pies.

And of course some make very good Damson Gin!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

What to do with green tomatoes - Some green tomato recipes from Lionel

At the beginning of April Lionel gave us the super recipe for Rhubarb and orange chutney, here are his family recipes for a glut of green tomatoes ~


3 lbs Green tomatoes,
1 lb Cored cooking apples,
1 lb Onions
8 oz Sultanas/raisins
1 lb Dark brown sugar
1 Pint Malt Vinegar
2 tsps Ground Ginger
2 " Curry Powder
1 " Chilli Powder
2/3 Cloves Garlic

Cook all ingredients together until thick. This takes about 2/3 hours. Then place in containers for use after 4 weeks.


3 Lbs Small Green Tomatoes, Prick and sprinkle with salt overnight to remove moisture from Tomatoes, then drain.

1lb 8 ozs Sugar,
1 pint Malt Vinegar
12 Cloves
1 tsp Cinamon ground.

Boil together. then add the Tomatoes and boil until the Tomatoes are clear ( Translucent).
Place the Tomatoes in preheated jars, add syrup and Seal.

Ready after about 3/4 weeks. Lovely with cold meat.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Plum Season and favourite recipes from the orchard kitchen

They are in the shops now, the first of the English plums, plum season has arrived so to celebrate here at The Orchard Year  these are a few of our favourite recipes.

Plum Crumble:

 Everyone's favourite and you've probably all got your own recipe for this. But just in case, or if you fancy a change, here is our crumble topping recipe:
3ozs butter, 4 tablespoons self raising flour, 2 big handfulls of porridge oats, 4 tablespoons of cane sugar.
(I feel strongly that cane sugar always works much better than white with plums)
You know what to do don't you, rub the flour with the butter etc, etc

Plum Tarte Tatin:

 1 packet ready made puff pastry, enough half de-stoned plums to line dish, 3ozs butter, 4 tablespoons cane sugar
Melt the butter in a thick bottomed frying pan or stove top / oven proof dish, sprinkle sugar evenly and add plum halves, cut side down. Cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes until the juices are bubbling then remove from heat.
Now if you've had to use the frying pan transfer the plums to an ovenproof dish, reserving the syrup. If you're already using the ovenproof dish drain the syrup into another bowl carefully keeping the plums in place.
Roll the pastry into a circle slightly larger than your dish then place it on top of the plums, tucking the edges of the pastry into the dish around the fruit to form an upside down tart case.
Bake in a preheated oven  (gas mark 6, 200 deg C) until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes.
Leave to cool for about an hour before turning the tarte tatin onto a serving dish. With all that butter it'll turn out quite easily with a little help from a spatula around the edges.
To serve,warm the reserved syrup for pouring.

Barbados Cream is also good with plums.

Barbados Cream:
 So easy to make, you'll need -
1 carton of thick Greek yoghurt (like Total), 1 carton double cream, cane demerara sugar and a shallow dish.
Simply mix equal qtys of cream and yoghurt and pour into the dish. Sprinkle with a thick layer of the sugar. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

So get down to your nearest farm shop this weekend and buy yourself a few lbs / kilos of plums, remember to buy more than you need for cooking as you're bound to eat a few in the car on the way home.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Big Butterfly Count in the neglected orchard

The Orchard Year took part in The Big Butterfly Count (thanks to Flighty for letting us know about it) and this is what we saw in our 15 minutes:

3 x Ringlet

5 x Meadow Brown

12 x Small White

1 x Small Tortoiseshell

Have you joined in the Big Butterfly Count? What did you see?

Ringlet  D. Gordon E. Robertson licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Meadow Brown  © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Small White © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Small Tortoiseshell nottsexminer licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic