This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wild Plums Falling from the Sky

The wild plums have begun falling from the sky.   It is time to go foraging for more, before the farmer comes along with his hedge trimmer and destroys them.     It is always touch and go.

In our little Owl Wood there is a plum tree, an unusually tall plum tree, far too high to harvest without the aid of a very long ladder.   Luckily it ripens just before the smaller plum trees, and plums fall onto the woodland floor.   This is my signal to check to see how the others are doing, to think about how soon we can begin to 'harvest' them.

Will they ripen before rain stops the harvest in the fields and the Farmer T turns his attention to hedge trimming and other maintenance jobs until the weather improves?

This is the first dish of tart and tangy plums.   
We don't eat them as plums, nor do we make jam or preserves with them.   

All of these, and more, were turned into wild plum coulis.   We make it every year and treat like the seasonal treat that it is, something to be enjoyed to the full and then eagerly anticipated next year.

These wonderful baubles of dark purple and blue are washed, picked over, any stalks are removed and then they are placed in a heavy stainless steel saucepan, with just a little water.  Put the saucepan lid on, then gently bring them to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.

No sugar, no additives.   We keep it very simple.

Once they are soft I remove them from the heat.   Allow them to cool a little and then rub the resulting mush through a sieve.   Use a wooden spoon and take your time.  Enjoy the jammy, plummy aroma and soak up that wonderful colour.

We like to swirl that rich red bounty through thick Greek yogurt.     One of these days I will get around to experimenting a little, using it in other recipes...perhaps in one of those bumper crop years.

Meanwhile, we'll keep on enjoying it in this deliciously simple way.

There is a lovely basinful sitting in the fridge, that will last a few days.  Then the memory of this seasonal treat will have to satisfy us until next year.   Unless I find some more wild plums, of course.

I also need to get out there and pick some sloes, cousin to the wild plum and even more tart.   We could make them into jam or add them to chutneys, etc but this year I intend to make several bottles of sloe gin, they make wonderful Christmas presents.

Of course, this all depends on whether I can get some picked before the farmers trim back the hedges...

The farmers try to harvest before the rains come and we try to harvest before the farmers come and destroy the hedgerow bounty.   Busy times in the countryside.


  1. they are beautiful and I adore wild plums... nothing tastes like this! I may come scrumping!

    1. You would be very welcome. I am always thrilled by that magical transformation of blue, violet and pale green into rich, ruby red deliciousness!

  2. Saw them while out for a walk the other day. No doubt my mother would have picked some to make jam (I'm not into that) but I know she would have been after slough's to make gin with

    1. We've just been given a large bottle of gin so that makes it even better! There is something so satisfying about a bit of foraging and putting things away ready for the deep winter.

  3. We have the same wild plums here. No crop this year, but usually I do exactly the same as you. Luckily I still have some from 2015.

    1. Hello Cro, Last year was a bumper crop, really delicious and much enjoyed, we're obviously much greedier than you. Just a few weeks ago it didn't look as though there would be many this year. I must get my eyes tested again, my fears were for naught, there were lots of them hidden amongst the foliage and this last week has seen them grown plump and ripe.

    2. I use mine for making a delicious Chinese style 'sweet and sour plum sauce'; and seeing as we eat this only occasionally, it lasts quite well.

  4. BEAUTIFUL and like you, I am an avid wild plum lover! Their colour is simply magical too, from ruby reds through to amethyst purples, they are indeed the jewels in the late summer fruits crown!

    1. Hello Karen, Don't they just delight the eye - cooked, or uncooked - they are simply beautiful. Thanks for your recipe yesterday, we had a most enjoyable lunch!