Rosemary Shrager

THIS MONTH OUR CELEBRITY CHEF ROSEMARY SHRAGER IS CELEBRATING PLUM SEASON

September has come around again so quickly. This is the month to visit the fruits and nuts of the county of Kent. We have the plums, apples and pears. These give a different and richer dimension to any dish. I love the idea of the pigs eating the windfall apples and pears.

The history of the plum is fascinating; they may have been the first fruits domesticated by humans. The wild plums have mostly only been found around settlements. Plum remains have been found in Neolithic age archaeological sites along with olives, figs and grapes. The name ‘plum’ derived from old English plume.

The taste of plums are so different, they range from really bitter to very sweet – the wild plums seem to be mostly bitter; these make extremely good jams and jellies. It’s fun going foraging for these wild nuggets. We also like to pickle the sweet plums.

Some of the different variety names of plums are: Damsons, greengage, Mirabelle (one of my favourites) and also I love Victoria plums. The Siberian plum is the third most produced plum in the world, the damson is popular in Hungary, great for their preserves, and in China they like to produce plum wine. Then of course you have the Californian prune. The versatility is endless.

The nutritional value of a raw plum is 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein, less than 1% fat, and A small amount of vitamin C. There are more vitamins in the plums but you do have to eat a few to make a difference. 100g of plum is just 46 calories – they are good for us!

The late plums go so well with duck and game. One of my favourite family dishes is roast duck with caramelised plums and shiitake mushrooms, it’s very easy to make. Enjoy!

ROAST DUCK WITH CARAMELISED PLUMS AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

✪ Fill a large pan of water with sliced onion, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, fresh ginger, fresh herbs, honey, all you need to do is add fl avour to the water. Bring it to the boil, and turn down to simmer.
✪ Put in the duck and simmer slowly for about
30 minutes, take off the stove and leave in the stock
for a further one-hour. Remove the duck, cut in half then brush with teriyaki sauce. Put into the oven
220c for 30 to 40 minutes.
✪ Meanwhile, take six plums stoned and cut into quarters, 100g fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced, a knob of butter and dollop of olive oil, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan, gently cook the mushrooms until soft, now add the garlic and cook for a minute. Next, add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute, then add the plums and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat. Season with a little extra sugar and salt.

Also I have a spiced plum sauce recipe:

✪ 500g plums
✪ 2 star anise
✪ 1 short cinnamon stick
✪ 60g golden caster sugar
✪ 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
✪ 2 tablespoons soy sauce
✪ 2 teaspoons English mustard
✪ A pinch of salt
Cut the plums in half and remove the stones, cut into pieces, put everything into a saucepan and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the star anise and cinnamon, then put the rest into a processor and puree until smooth. This goes so well with pork or any game.