Damsons, Rocket, Cherry Tomatoes and Green Beans

September 11, 2009

We might be enjoying a bit of sun at the moment but there’s no denying that summer (well what we had of it) is drawing to a close. We still have lots of summer produce – gorgeous Tomatoes, Courgettes, Grapes and Aubergines but the early autumn stuff is making it’s way into the bags – Butternut a few weeks ago, today there’s  lovely new Leeks and Damsons or Quetsche Plums to give them their full title. If you haven’t had them before, Damsons are plums that are generally used for cooking because they aren’t as sweet as the  plums we normally eat.

This week’s recipe is for a crumble with almonds. If you’re not a baker don’t worry, crumble-making doesn’t really count as baking as it’s just so easy. You literally crumble the flour, butter and sugar with your fingertips until you have something resembling large breadcrumbs. Even if you end up with something different it’ll still taste fine just as long as some attempt has been made to mix the ingredients. My son Dan (4) does all the crumbling in our house except of course when I have him polishing grapes for Home Organics (just kidding!!!). If you’re avoiding puds Damsons are a perfect stewing fruit. Rinse and put in a pot with 2-3 Tablespoons Sugar. Turn on the heat and give the pot an occasional shake to help the Damsons burst and release all their lovely juices. As you’ll see, these Damson are yellow on the inside but the  skin colours everything  that gorgeous plummy red after they’ve been the pot a few minutes.

halved damsons

halved damsons

Cook for about 10 minutes making sure all the plums break up so you can get at the stones afterwards. Allow to cool down a bit before you remove the stones and  you’ve got a compote which makes a  perfect breakfast with Greek Yogurt. This week’s crumble won’t take more than 15 minutes to  put together so if you do fancy dessert it’s an easy one and really tasty to boot….

Damson and Almond Crumble

You’ll need:

450 gr Plums (about what you have in this week’s bag)

3 Tablespoons of Sugar

100gr Flour

40gr Ground Almonds

75gr Butter

60gr Sugar

Prepare the fruit as I’ve described above and while it’s cooking get on with the crumble (or rope in a small child to do so). Put all the ingredients in a bowl and crumble (!!) This should take about 5 minutes (small children will take anything from 2 minutes to an hour and a half). Remove all the stones from the fruit and put into a baking dish and top with the crumble mix. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown and hopefully some of the ruby juices from below have bubbled up and speckled the topping. Eat with Cream, Ice-cream or Yogurt.

damson crumble

damson crumble

One other thing to do with Damsons is Damson Gin. Far easier than baking but there is a bit of waiting involved. Most recipes will tell you to prick the plums, add sugar then throw in the booze but Margaret (no doubt reliably)  informed me yesterday that the stones in Plums contain cyanide so should never be left after the fruit has been cooked or opened. So, rinse and halve about 450gr plums (what you have in this week’s bag) then add 150gr Sugar and 75cl Gin. Put the lot in a sterilized wide-necked bottle. Close the lid and shake well and continue to shake every day until the sugar has dissolved. Keep for at least 6 weeks and then it’s cocktail time!

This week’s Green Beans need very little done to them. A light steaming then toss them in Butter or Olive Oil with a little Maldon Salt. A step further is to crush or finely chop a couple of cloves of Garlic, saute gently on the pan then add the precooked Beans just before the Garlic is done. Toss for a minute or 2 more and you’ve got a very tasty side. Lot’s of Black Pepper is great with this too.

In case you’re wondering..

This week’s salad leaves are Rocket a beautiful peppery leaf that is great in salads and sambos. Have it with this week’s Cherry Tomatoes and some Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for a very quick and tasty salad.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

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