Thursday 24 April 2014

Adventures with plums: stewed, jam, with tempeh, soup and crumble

Plums are the latecomer in the stone fruit world.  While my fruit bowl is filling with cherries and peaches in early summer, there is nary a sign of plums.  Then in Autumn when most of the stone fruit has disappeared, plums are still hanging in there.  And most welcome.  Unlike most stone fruit, I don't eat lots of fresh plums but I love stewing them and baking with them.  Here are a few of the ways I have used plums this Autumn.

I have a penchant for plum jam.  When plums were cheap at the end of February, I bought some plums and strawberries to make jam.  Sylvia requested the strawberries be in the jam but we ate them.  Instead I added raspberries.

Plum and raspberry jam
It was my third jam of the summer so I was in the zone.  I was fairly cavalier with measurements.  Then I worried it wasn't sweet enough when we opened the first jar.  Later I tasted a supermarket jam we have in the fridge and it was like sugar.  It made me appreciate how good it is to taste the fruit in my jam.

apple, plum and quince crumble
One of our household's favourite dishes to make with plums (or any stewed fruit) is a crumble.  I made this apple, plum and quince crumble.  I cooked the fruit separately and then mixed it.  It probably would have looked better (and more plum coloured) if I had cooked it together before making the crumble.  But a nice crumble mixture means that it just doesn't matter.  E love custard with crumble so much that he actually made some custard while I was at the movies with a friend.

This post actually started off with decided to write about an odd tempeh bacon and plum sauce bowl that I made.  It wasn't the most brilliant dish but I enjoyed it and liked the idea.  The tempeh bacon (facon) was yummy though not crisp.  I made the plum sauce out of some stewed plums on a night when I was lacking inspiration and went to the fridge to see what was there.

Tempeh bacon bowl with plum sauce
The plum sauce was good with the tempeh bacon.  Any other grain or vegetable could work here but I highly recommend the combination of plum sauce and tempeh bacon.  I often think plum sauce is too rich for vegetarian dishes.  You could try this with tofu bacon or even smoky chickpeas but I think tempeh is a more robust flavour that is a great foil for the sauce.

Tomato, plum and white bean soup
I gobbled up the leftover tempeh bacon easily but was not sure about how to use the sauce.  Then again fate presented me with ageing tomatoes to use and a surplus of white beans in the freezer.  I blended them together with some extra seasoning and served it with cheese on toast.  It was pretty good.  I enjoyed the leftovers even more when I stirred in yoghurt, smoked paprika and black pepper.  It is more an idea than a completed recipe but again I wanted to record it because you never know when I will need ideas for leftover plum sauce.

Plum oat and cinnamon slice
I also made this favourite plum oat and cinnamon slice that I have made a few times.  It seemed less fruit this time.  Yet I still love it.  So full of crumbly, oaty, fruity yumminess.

Stewed plums
Lastly I thought I might take a photo of a recent saucepan of stewed plums.  We have had a lot of stewed plums this season.  Often eaten after dinner with a dollop of yoghurt.  I stone and chop them, throw them in a saucepan with a splash of water, two or three spoonfuls of honey and a cinnamon stick.  Then I simmer until the plums are soft.  Just enough honey so they lose their tart edge.  Delicious enough to eat from the saucepan.

Every time I see cheap plums I buy a bagful.  I bought some this week.  They are definitely at the end of the season.  I am not sure our kitchen will see any more this year.  Thanks goodness for apples coming into season.  It is some consolation as we farewell plums.

I am sending the jam to Karen of Lavender and Lovage who is co-host of Tea Time Treats with Jane of the Hedgecombers.   This month the theme is jams, curds and preserves. I am sending the soup to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays.  And I am sending the tempeh bacon bowl with plum sauce to Healthy Vegan Fridays #15, hosted by Suzanne at Hello Veggy, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan Socks.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Apple cider cake
Two years ago: WSC Chocolate Nut Roast with Chocolate Gravy
Three years ago: Why Does Food History Matter?
Four years ago: Cookbooks update and easy roast dinner
Five years ago: Tempting prune cake
Six years ago: ANZAC Day and the Biscuit Police

Plum and raspberry jam
Adapted from my previous jam recipes
Makes about 1 litre or 4 jars

2 scant cups of sugar
850g plums, stoned and chopped
150g raspberries
juice of half a lemon

Bring all ingredients to the boil and simmer 60-80 min.  To test, put a small teaspoonful on a saucer that has been in the freezer.  When you run your finger through it, the jam should stay either side of the trail where you finger has been.  (It will firm up somewhat as it cools.)  You will also know the jam is done when it clings to the spoon rather than all running off.  I sterilised my jars in the oven and boiled the lids (See previous sterilisation notes.)  Spoon jam into sterislised jars and screw on lids tightly.  Keeps in the cupboard for months.

Tempeh bacon bowl with plum sauce
serves 2

1 cup cooked pearl barley
2-3 golden beetroots, chopped
1 large zucchini, thickly sliced
oil spray
tempeh bacon (below)
plum and mustard sauce (below)

Place beetroot and zucchini on a baking tray lined with baking paper and spray with oil.  Bake for between 1 and 2 1/2 hours until soft and golden brown.  Heat the pearl barley.

Arrange pearly barley, beetroot, zucchini and tempeh bacon in a bowl.  Drizzle with plum and mustard sauce.

Tempeh bacon
Adapted from my tofu bacon recipe

3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp liquid smoke
good pinch salt

300g tempeh, sliced into 0.5 cm strips 
2 to 3 tbsp of rice bran oil (or other oil)

Mix everything except the tempeh.  Arrange the tempeh strips in the marinade and marinate for about 30 minutes.  Heat oil over medium heat in heavy based frypan.  Fry tempeh slices for about 20  to 30 minutes until a deep golden brown with a little charred edges.  (I can just fit the slices from a packet of tempeh in my very large frypan but if you can't have them all lying flat in your frypan, you might need to do two batches.)  Retain any marinade left in the container for the plum and mustard sauce or other soups and stews.

Plum and mustard sauce

1 cup stewed plums*
2 tbsp tempeh bacon marinade (above)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp each of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion salt

Blend all the ingredients and then heat in a small saucepan.

*I stew my plums with honey but other sweeteners such as maple syrup or brown sugar work just as well for a vegan version.

Tomato, white bean and plum soup
serves 2 for a light lunch

2 tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup cooked white beans (mine were unseasoned)
100ml plum sauce
1 cup water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp stock powder
1/4 tsp onion salt
Dollop of yoghurt, some black pepper and smoked paprika, to serve

Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for 15 minutes.  Blend.  Mix in yoghurt, black pepper and smoked paprika.  Great served in a mug alongside cheese on toast.

On the Stereo:
Little Victories: Wild Pumpkins at Midnight


  1. I always forget that it's autumn in Australia now when we are just about to enter summer. I cannot wait for plum season. A soupl with plum sauce sounds really interesting. I would never have guessed the ingredient!

    1. Thanks Mihl - it always feel a bit topsy turvy to read about opposite seasons to ours but thank goodness we can bookmark for :-) I don't think I would have come up with the plum sauce in soup but I was wondering what to do with the leftover sauce and soup is often the answer when I need to use up food.

  2. Great display of the versatility of plums! I should consume more of them while they're still in season, they're so delicious.

    1. thanks Leaf - I bought some more cheap plums today so there might still be an opportunity

  3. Who would have thought that the humble plum would make such beautiful dishes. Your cinnamon and oat slice caught my eye ;) x

    1. Thanks Deena - that slice is from Delia and is a wonderful way to bake with plums - I have made it a few times and highly recommend it

  4. Great way of showing all the uses you can get from a simple plum :-) Love it!

    1. Thanks Sandy - I think plums are definitely a favourite fruit to cook with

  5. You do gorgeous things with your plums! Most of mine are eaten fresh, but I am sure I'd love all of the recipes you have here. Your pictures are beautiful too - I love that first one.

    1. Thanks Kari - I don't love sweet juicy plums the same way i love other sweet juicy stone fruit so I am a bit fussier about eating them fresh - and I do love them stewed

  6. What a delicious collection of plum recipes. I love the bright vibrant colour of your pluma nd raspberry jam. I really must get back into jam making this year. I love stewed plums with cereal and yoghurt for breakfast or custard for dessert. Their colour is just so inviting.
    Never tried plums in soup before - will have to try it

    1. Thanks Katie - I've been quite into jam making this summer - I love stewed plums and yoghurt for breakfast - sometimes I add some toasted oats but that is only if I have the energy. I was a bit unsure of the plums in soup until I ate the leftovers.

  7. This is a jam packed post Johanna, literally - loads to take in. Like you I don't eat plums fresh, but do like them stewed in jams, flapjacks and crumbles. I've not made plum sauce though, so that will be on my list to make this year when I actually harvest my own plums - yeph I have a plum tree :) Thank you as always for taking the time to come on over and comment on my blog, its always warmly appreciated x PS Intrigued by the plum soup!

    1. Thanks Shaheen - love your pun and am jealous of your plum tree - sounds wonderful - I did polenta fingers with a rhubarb sauce once and wonder if they would also work with a savoury plum sauce. Lovely to hear from you - love visiting your blog too

  8. Plums are always around as the weather gets too cold. I hang onto them as long as I can because I get tired of pears and apples during winter! Sugar plums are my favourite :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I don't get tired of pears and apples so long as they are crisp and crunchy but when they get old and soggy I tire of them quickly

  9. Your plum jam looks wonderful and I love the sounds of that sauce and what it did to liven up the tomato soup--especially combined with the smoked paprika. That sounds like such a tasty combination. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. It's always a pleasure to have you. ;-)

    1. Thanks Deb - I think anything tastes great with smoked paprika - even plums it seems :-)

  10. WOW! What a wonderful array of recipes Johanna and thanks for much for sending your divine Plum and raspberry jam over to me for Tea Time Treats!

    1. Thanks Karen - happy to be part of your jammy fun :-)

  11. I LOVE plum crumble! We used to have it regularly as a kid, and still do now! Delicious. I'm also bookmarking the tempeh bacon for later use - I'm still finding my feet with tempeh, so all recipes gratefully received! (I made your coconut bacon the other day and it was amazing, so really looking forward to a bit of tempeh with similar flavours!)

    1. Thanks Joey - I love plum crumble too - rarely had it as a kid - I think we just ate lots of fresh blood plums - which seem less common these days - glad you enjoyed the coconut bacon - hope you enjoy the tempeh bacon too - highly recommend this tempeh bacon it is the crispiest I have found yet

  12. I LOVE plums so much! Wish I had my own tree. What a fantastic round-up of recipes.

  13. I am so lucky to have my own plum tree which year on year supplies me with a wonderful harvest of fruit. Normally I would just make plum jam but I like your idea of also adding raspberries to the mix, luckily I grow those too so should make for some cheap jam.



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