Showing posts with label plums. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plums. Show all posts

Monday, October 31, 2016

Orange and Plum Muffins #MuffinMonday

Shiny deep purple plums and bright oranges vie for my attention in my local grocery store these days. How could I resist baking them both into orange and plum muffins?

I briefly considered making sugar plums with orange zest and putting those into muffins. But, you know what, I am just too lazy for that. After all, once they are all cut up and mixed with muffin batter, who would know they had ever started life as sugar plums?

I brought these muffins round as a welcome for a new neighbor who moved in across the street while I was away last month. Shortly after, I got an iMessage: “Thank you so much for the muffins. My daughter doesn’t usually like muffins but she’s on her second one now!”  As you can imagine, that made my day! May they get as good a reception in your house.

2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest 1 orange plus juice
4 small ripe, yet firm, plums (Mine weighed about 8 3/4 oz or 250g total, whole)
1 egg
Enough milk to orange juice to make 3/4 cup or 175ml
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted then cooled

Optional: Pearl sugar for decoration

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan or grease it well with butter or non-stick spray.

Cut the pits out and chop the plums in small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Zest your orange into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a fork to combine and separate the zest strands from each other.

Add in your chopped plums and stir till they are well coated with the flour mixture.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and the 3/4 cup or 175ml orange juice/milk mixture.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle on some pearl sugar, if desired.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.


We are so glad that you’ve stopped by for Muffin Monday! We've got some beauties for you this month.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Braised Venison with Plums

Lean but flavorful, venison benefits from long, slow cooking. The hint of sweetness from the lovely plums pairs beautifully with the lean meat, creating a rich gravy that can be served over rice, potatoes or pasta for an even heartier meal.

It's almost deer hunting season where I come from so I know a lot of folks will have their freezers well stocked before too long. In Dubai, if I want to cook venison, it comes from farms in Australia where the deer roam freely and are completely pasture fed and free from antibiotics or growth hormones. Many years ago, on a holiday in Tasmania, I booked my family to stay overnight on a deer farm. As we drove up the long and winding dirt road to the farmhouse, the deer ran away swiftly as a herd, reminding me more of a school of fish underwater, so fluid, graceful and in sync were their movements. We never did get photos of the skittish deer (understandably!) but dinner that night in our tiny house was a spontaneous meal of foraged wild mushrooms and venison fillets I bought from the farmer, then simply pan-fried. He gave me a quick tour of the spotless abattoir and the area where they hung the meat to age as well. The place is called Deerfield Farm and I'm pleased to say it's still in business, although under new management.

The little B&B sign cracked me up. Our tiny house was it! 

It’s such a lean meat that venison is best cooked either quickly like in a stir fry and served medium rare or braised, that is to say, fried lightly and then cooked long and slow in a closed container.  Since our Sunday Supper theme this week is Warming Trends, we are sharing recipes that will warm you up, from stews and soups to hot beverages and desserts, so you know I had to go the braised route.

I served this delicious warming dish over pasta but it would work as well with mashed root vegetables or rice or even atop soft polenta.

1 lb 9 oz or 710g venison
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
Bacon drippings or olive oil for frying meat
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
5 dark red plums (Mine weighed 13 1/4 oz or 375g)
1/2 cup or 120ml red vermouth
1 3/4 cups or 410ml beef stock
Several sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons corn starch

Trim your meat of any silverside and gristle and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Season the meat with a good sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Now sprinkle on your flour and then toss the pieces around gently to coat.

Chop your onion and garlic. Quarter the plums and remove the stones.

In a skillet over a medium to high heat, brown the meat in batches in a little bacon fat or olive oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove each batch as it browns and continue until all the pieces are done.

Add the chopped onions and garlic to pan and sauté until lightly colored and all the sticky stuff on the pan has loosened.

Add half of the sautéed onion and garlic mixture to the bottom of your slow cooker. Then add half of the browned meat along with any juices that have collected in the bowl. Follow those with half of the quartered plums. Sprinkle on half of your fresh thyme.

Repeat with the other half of everything.

Add in the vermouth and the stock.

Cook on low for about six hours without removing the lid. Go get cozy in front of a fireplace if you’ve got one, pour yourself a cup of tea or cocoa and read a good book until the whole house starts smelling wonderful.

Almost done now!

Remove meat and plums with slotted spoon, leaving behind the liquid.

Mix the cornstarch with a little cool water to make a paste.  Add a little of the hot slow cooker liquid into the cornstarch slurry. Add it all back into the slow cooker.

Put the lid back on and turn the slow cooker up to high for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically till the sauce thickens. Return the venison and plums to the pot and warm through. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.

Serve over wide egg noodles and garnish with some more fresh thyme.


Many thanks to today’s Sunday Supper host, T.R. of Gluten Free Crumbley. It's not actually cold yet where I live but I LOVE this theme. Enjoying warming foods is yet another reason why God created air conditioning.

Main Dishes and Soups


Friday, May 29, 2015

Almond Plum Tarte Tatin #FridayPieDay

This plum tart, baked upside down with caramelized sugar and slivered almonds then flipped, is perfect summer fare, for when stoned fruit is in season. Any fruit can be used in a tarte Tatin, although apples are traditional. Try it with apricots or peaches as well as plums. 

A couple of months ago my friend Heather from girlichef decided she was going to designate the last Friday of the month as Friday Pie Day and I vowed to join her. Then the last Friday in March came and went and I completely forgot. And I did have something to share in April (You are looking at it!) but other real life commitments got in the way. Despite being on the road, on my way to our younger daughter’s graduation from Rhode Island School of Design today, I just had to participate this month. Because, as Heather says, life needs more pie!

1 cup or 200g sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ripe plums (about 1 lb 6.5 oz or 640g)
Good pinch salt
1/4 cup or 55g unsalted butter
8.5 oz or 240g block puff pastry
1/4 cup or 20g slivered almonds plus a little extra for sprinkling after, if desired.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Halve the plums and remove the stones.

Put the plums in a bowl and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar and salt, mix, and leave to sit while you get on with caramelizing the sugar.

A note about the pan: I use one that goes from stovetop to oven so I can caramelize the sugar, add the butter and then add the fruit and pastry all in one. If you do not have such a pan, simply pour the caramelized sugar into a baking pan and continue as per the instructions.

In a pan, simmer half the sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water until a golden caramel has formed.

Stir in the butter.

(Here’s where you pour the sauce into a tart pan, preferably non-stick, if your stovetop pan won’t go safely into a hot oven.)

Sprinkle the almonds on the caramelized sugar.

Put the plums on top, round side down, and spread them out to cover the base of the pan.

Roll out the pastry until it is just slightly larger than your pan.

Cover the plums with the pastry, pushing it right into the sides of the pan. Cut two or three slits in the top to let the steam out. I was just messing around so I stuck a few scraps on top of the pastry but since we are turning this over to serve, they won’t even show.

Place the tart in the oven for around 25 to 35 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden brown and the syrup is bubbling up.

When the tart is baked, allow it too cool for about 10 minutes.

Put a large serving plate with sides on top of the pan and turn the tart upside down onto it. The deliciously sticky plummy syrup will come out over the pastry so a plate with sides is essential. Sprinkle on some more slivered almonds, if desired.

Serve nice slices with ice cream, thick pouring cream or a dollop of crème fraîche.


FridayPieDay is the brilliant invention of Heather from girlichef.

I am pleased to start joining her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FRIDAYPIEDAY page!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Plummy Muffins for #MuffinMonday

With lots of sweet purple plums inside, and more pretty plum baked on the outside, these plummy muffins, with a hint of ginger, make a great breakfast or snack.

There are three meanings to the word plummy. First and foremost, as you will imagine, it relates to actual plums and comes from the same root word plume in Old English, borrowed the Old High Germanic pfluma and the Latin prunum. The second meaning, first recorded in the late 1700s is "something desirable." If you’ve ever watched Queen Elizabeth II delivering her annual Christmas message, you will have witnessed the third meaning, and here I quote the Oxford English Dictionary: (Of a person’s voice) having an accent thought typical of the English upper classes.

There is nothing snooty or upper class about these muffins, but the first two definitions certainly apply. Full of plums and highly desirable. Make you some!

2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 125g raw light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 small ripe, yet firm, plums (Mine weighed almost 11 oz or 310g total weight.)
1 egg
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted then cooled
3/4 cup or 175ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan or grease it well with butter or non-stick spray.

Slice the sides off of your plums and set them aside.  Cut the pits out and chop the rest of the plums in small pieces.

Make three equal three-quarter long cuts in the plum sides, so that you can fan them out on the batter before baking.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and salt.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, milk and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.  This will be very dry and you should have lots of flour still showing.

Gently fold in your chopped plums.

It looks dry but the chopped plums take care of that in the baking.

Divide batter among muffin cups.   Decorate each with a fanned out plum side.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.