Victoria Plum Crumble

We had a lot of plums this year, all from one Victoria tree (this is the tree I’ve nearly killed plenty of times).

We’ve made lots of plum jam but we quickly had to get a move on as they were rotting in the fridge so I made a plum crumble. It seems to have been a hit and here is the recipe if it tickles your tastebuds…

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Victoria Plum Crumble

(Serves 6)

For the fruit: -1kg Victoria plums, de-stoned -3tbsp granulated sugar

For the crumble: -110g plain flour -55g granulated sugar -170g salted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the fruit at the base of an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the sugar generously over the top, and mix it in.
  3. In a bowl, using your fingers, rub the flour, sugar and butter together, so that the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Scatter the crumble over the top of the fruit.
  4. Place the dish in the oven and cook for about half an hour, until the fruit is hot and bubbling and the crumble is golden brown.
  5. Serve warm. Keep in the fridge for up to three days.

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A Jammy Week – update

It has been a week of making preserves here.

Mum made her jostaberry (gooseberry and blackcurrant cross) jam.

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I’ve just made blackcurrant jam and more raspberry.

Recipe: Raspberry Jam      Recipe: Blackcurrant Jam

Not much has been going on in the veg patch as time has been taken up with watering and picking, again. The raspberries are nearly over, the strawberries have finished. Now we are onto harvesting potatoes, runner beans and courgette/ zucchini by the bucket-load.

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Also picked this week beetroot, broadbeans, cucumber, lettuce, rocket, spinach, first tomatoes, blueberries, blackcurrants, loganberries, boysenberries, jostaberries, redcurrants, onion, garlic.

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A much of ALL homegrown produce – cucumber, lettuce, rocket, spinach, potatoes, broadbeans and beetroot. Self-sufficient! 

Bad news is the birds are still being pesky. We have quite a few pairs of blackbirds taking up residence in the acre. They already stripped the morello cherry by sneaking under the netting and stripped a blackcurrant bush yesterday that got exposed. They are not very good at sharing…

Slugs and snails – touch wood – have not been trouble lately due to the hot dry weather but almost had a heart attack when I nearly stepped on a grass snake when I was locking up the other day.

And finally, celebrated my sister’s 20th with a homemade cake which I have to share because it has unicorns on it…

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To get the recipe, check it out here — https://bellasbakingsite.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/sachertorte/

Have a good week, everyone!

Recipe: Blackcurrant Jam

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Blackcurrant season has been long over but I have only just managed to make my first batch of blackcurrant jam from this years crop from the bags we stored in the freezer. It had to be done a) make space in the freezer for the last of the runner beans (and my brother and sister are complaining there isn’t enough space for ice cream in there), b) blackcurrant jam is just what I crave on wet, cold days in winter so I needed some at the ready, and c) blackcurrant jam is delicious.

Blackcurrants are high in pectin so you should not need to add any. This is the best recipe from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. It is easy and delicious, as far as jam making goes.

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Blackcurrant Jam

(Makes 7-8x 340g jars)

– 1kg blackcurrants -600ml water – 1.5kg granulated sugar

  1. Remove stalks and leaves from the blackcurrants (the dried flowers at the end are fine to leave). Put them in a large pan and add the water, bringing it to the boil before allowing it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the fruit is soft and broken down to let all the juices out but not completely slushy/disintegrated.
  2. Add the sugar and stir in until dissolved then bring the pan to a rolling boil. Leave it to boil furiously for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until it is room temperature (try pectin test here if you would like and if it has not set, bring back to the boil or add a little liquid pectin).
  3. Leave it to cool – if the blackcurrants are going to float to the top of the jars, leave it to cool a little longer. If they still refuse to sink slightly, then bring it back to the boil for a couple of minutes until they do.
  4. Once cool, bottle in sterilised jam jars and store in a cool, dry place overnight to allow it to set a little more.

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Update: 28th August 2016

It has been rather busy – again. When is it not in the garden? It is a never ending project!

Lots of weeding and watering in the surprisingly hot August weather.

Lots of picking and freezing of beans, plums, raspberries, some gorgeously big blackberries despite the lack of rain (shh, I did not say that, let’s not encourage it to come back!) and mum even froze some broccoli today.

Still getting gluts of courgettes/marrows and cucumbers. Digging up some lovely potatoes and onions and I used my first homegrown leak in a made from scratch Homity Pie. I will try and put the recipe up sometime as it uses so much wonderful garden produce in it and went down a treat with the family.

Finally got round to making my first batch or raspberry jam – I know, slacking – and today I finally made strawberry jam. Just in time because I’ve nearly finished all of my homemade strawberry and rhubarb and might have cried. Plum and blackcurrant next to go…

Pruning funny shaped cherry trees before autumn creeps up on us. Getting rid of blighted stems on my celery and celeriac. Tried our first turnip and everyone liked it, even my mum and dad who both had been scarred in their childhoods from its interesting taste. Of course, now that we have been brave enough to try them and discovered we like them, something has taken a huge chunk out of the one of four I have left in the ground… Murphy’s Law.

Fun news: I have started testing out the scythe I was gifted for my 21st on the meadowland we have in the vegetable garden (that was previously known as the field, I should probably add, before I got stuck in). So far I haven’t destroyed any hoses, crops or cats that like to sunbathe there. Here’s hoping the good-luck continues! It is really good fun and I will hopefully get round to writing a post about them one day. Problem is I have so many ideas I want to share online but so little enthusiasm for sitting down all day when I am itching to get back to being a busy-bee in the garden. Talking of bees, ours are certainly not being busy. They are more like bees sitting on the sofa waiting for the delivery of sugar water to come to them rather than to step outside into the magical world of flowers and pollen. Thank goodness bumble bees are a little more enthusiastic.

Aubergines finally growing. Cape gooseberries producing! Picked our first okra this week (haven’t tried it yet…). And our first couple of sweetcorn, which were yummy. I have included a picture of a Japanese Wineberry from our bush we bought and planted earlier this year. A couple of berries grew and this is one that was ready for harvesting a couple of days ago. Is it not beautiful? It is such a light, red colour, like a ruby.

Hope the sun shines on all but that the heat does not kill the plants or us – anyone else feeling like a slug moving around in this odd weather? Not that I am complaining, there is a reason other than my large frizzy hair that makes people compare me to a sun-worshiping lion and that is my love of hot weather. Happy bank holiday and gardening to all.

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