Plum Jam


I was lucky enough to be given a load of Victoria plums from a friend – so what better thing to do with them than whip up some jam! I wanted to go for a slightly lower sugar jam so I used mostly halfspoon sugar but you could use normal sugar (just bear in mind you’ll need more sugar – a 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit if so). You can use any weight of fruit you have, just adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly.

You will need:

900g Plums

500g Halfspoon sugar or 900g of jam sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

To start with pop a saucer in the freezer (to test the jam later!). De-stone and chop the plums in to quarters or small pieces (keep an eye out for the little maggots that sometimes get in them!).

Pop the plums in to a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 5-10 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth, or just leave it (I left it – I’m not too fussed about it!).

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on the saucer from the freezer leave it for a min or so. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again. If the fruit is very ripe you may find it takes much longer – it’s all about the ratio of water to sugar so keep boiling off the water (or you can add a little extra sugar too).

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely plum compote to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead! Plum jam does have a tendency to over set – if you find it’s a tad rubbery don’t panic – empty the jars back in to a pan, heat gently and add a little water to loosen it. Perform the saucer test again and then pop back into the jars (having cleaned and sterilised then again).

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Ps also delicious spread on a slice of plum and cinnamon loaf (recipe here)!

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Plum and Cinnamon Loaf


I got given a massive haul of Victoria Plums from a kind friend, some of which I used to make some jam, and with the rest I thought I’d do a little baking!

As we head in to late summer and thoughts turn to autumn I thought I’d go for some autumnal flavours – plum and cinnamon! This makes one loaf which serves 8-10, at around 205 cals a slice!

You will need:

140g self-raising flour (any type you like)

140g dairy-free spread (I used a light version to save some calories)

140 sugar (or 70g half spoon sugar for less cals)

2 large eggs and one egg yolk, beaten

200g plums

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Put the spread and sugar and beat lightly until fluffy. Add in the beaten egg a little at a time and beat well in between each bit.

Mix the flour and cinnamon and then add in to the wet mixture, fold it in.

Chop all bout approx 2-3 plums in to small pieces. Slice the 2-3 plums in to wedges (to decorate the top). Add the chopped plums and mix well.

Pour in to a loaf tin. Arrange the plum wedges on the top and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.

Put in the oven and bake for 50-60 mins. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 mins, then remove. Slice and serve!

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Blackberry bakewell slice


Having made some blackberry jam I thought it was only right to find a use for it! I love Bakewell tarts – that combo of almond frangipane and jam is just delish! So I thought I’d make a blackberry version!

You can obviously use shop bought jam for this but if you fancy making it yourself then you can follow my recipe here (blackberry jam). If you have the time, and inclination, you can make your own short crust pastry (recipe below) or you can just buy the ready made stuff from the supermarket! This made one tray and three small tarts – approx 20 slices, at 299 cals each!

You will need:

For the pastry
300g plain flour
125g cold butter or dairy free ‘butter’/ spread
30g sugar (or 15g half spoon to save cals)
1 egg
2 tbsp non dairy or dairy milk (optional)

Or one pack of ready made short crust pastry.

For the filling:
approx 200g blackberry jam

A handful of blackberries

A handful of flaked almonds
250g dairy free spread
100g caster sugar (or 50g half spoon sugar)
5 eggs
250g ground almonds
2 tbsp self-raising flour

If you are making the pastry put the flour, butter and sugar into a processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and pulse until it comes together into a rough dough. If it is too dry add a little milk. Add one of the eggs and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit of milk. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20-25 mins.

Unwrap the dough (or open up your packet of ready made pastry!) and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll it out until it is large enough for your tray (l used one thought 20 x 15 cm, and then three small round tart cases).

Grease the tin or line with baking parchment and then lay the pastry tins and trim off the excess. Pop in the fridge to chill for 10 – 20 mins and preheat the oven to 200 C.

Remove from fridge, prick with a fork across the tin and line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (or dried pulses or rice if you don’t have any). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden-brown.

Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry with a little spread, beaten egg or milk and then return to the oven for 5 mins or so until golden brown. all over with the remaining beaten egg. Remove the pastry from the oven and turn the oven down to 180 C. Once done remove and leave out to one side.

Now start on the filling. Beat the spread and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat gentle each time (don’t worry if it appears to split a bit). Add the flour and ground almonds and beat together.

Spread the jam over the pastry, be as generous as you like – I love the jammy bit so I like a thick layer!

Gently spoon or pipe the filling over the top and smooth it down. Press in the whole blackberries, and sprinkle with a little sugar and flakes almonds.

Bake for 45-50 mins. The frangipane should be cooked all the way through with a sugary crust on the top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Slice and serve – on its own or with some ice cream or custard!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Easy Blackberry Jam


Still making the most of the blackberry season and thought I’d have a go at a simple blackberry jam. Perfect for using up the end of season blackberries or those that have gone a bit squishy!

It doesn’t matter what weight of blackberries you use just ensure you use an equal weight of sugar.

You will need:

500g blackberries

500g jam or preserving sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

Ensure your blackberries are clean and then pop in the saucepan together with the sugar, and lemon juice.

Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 10-12 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth.

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on a plate and pop it in he fridge for a couple of mins. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again.

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely

Blackberry syrup to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Blackberry and Coconut Slices


I was given an extremely generous haul of blackberries from some lovely friends so it was time to whip up another blackberry-based bake! I love coconut so thought I’d combine the two!

This is really easy to make and quick to prepare, though takes a little while to cook. Perfect for school lunch boxes or mid-afternoon office snacks too, or a tasty dessert with custard! This makes 12 – 16 slices (depending how large you cut them!) at 260 – 200 cals per slice.

You will need:

250g self raising flour (any type you like)

50g oats

200g sugar (or 100g half spoon sugar)

90g desiccated coconut

200g dairy free spread (or butter)

300g blackberries

1 tsp cinnamon (if you’re a fan of cinnamon you can add more)

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Add the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon into bowl and mix well. Add the spread and use your fingers or a fork to rub it in to the flour until you have a crumble mix.

Add the coconut and mix well. Remove a cup full of mixture and place to one side. Add the eggs to the remaining mixture and stir in to form a sticky dough. Line a small baking tray (I used a 27 x 17cm tray) and press the mixture into the tray, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Scatter the blackerries over the top and then sprinkle the mixture you set aside over the top.

Place in the oven for 60 mins or until a skewer comes out with only moist crumbs. Check regularly and about half way through cover the tray with foil before the topping starts to burn.

Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Eat as it is, or serve with more berries and yoghurt, custard or ice cream!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Toasted Berry and Fig Charlotte


I still had some figs, locally foraged blackberries, blackcurrants and red currants left, so inspired by a recipe my friend sent me I thought I’d whip up a healthy, warm summer dessert.

This comes in at only 152 cals per portion (I made 6 portions) so it’s a great healthy pud! You could use any fruits you like – just make up the same total quantity.

You will need:

400g Figs

150g Blackberries

159g Blackcurrants

100g Red currants

6 thin slices of day old white bread

100g dairy free spread (or butter)

1 tbsp sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Prepare the fruit – remove the stems from the currants, wash the blackberries and cut the figs into quarters (or if large cut even smaller). Pop the blackcurrants in a pan with a tbsp water and gently heat for a couple of minutes until the juices start to run. Add in the figs and continue to heat for another couple of mins until the figs are starting to soften.

Add in the blackberries and red currants and stir gently. Heat for a couple of mins until soft. I didn’t need to add sugar to my fruit but taste and if you feel it needs sweetening add a little sugar.

Spoon the fruit mixture into a medium dish or several small ones. I made three small ones and one slightly larger one!

Cut the bread into small triangles. Melt the spread in a small bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Dunk the triangles in the melted spread and arrange on top of the fruit in an overlapping pattern. Then sprinkle with a little more sugar and cinnamon.

Pop in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden and crispy. Best served warm!

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Fig, blackberry and almond cake


I was lucky enough to receive some home grown figs from my lovely friend Claire, and I had some more foraged blackberries so I thought I’d put them together in this yummy fig, blackberry and almond cake!

It’s quick and easy to make and really tasty! It is dairy free but does contain eggs, however you can easily use soaked chia seeds as an egg replacer if you want!

You will need:

125g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

200g Ground almonds

2 Eggs (or you can use 1tbps chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water to replace each egg)

100 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer

1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Figs and blackberries (or any late summer fruits of your choice – plums, raspberries, apple etc)

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and line and grease a 20cm cake tin – if you have a springform tin then use that as it makes it easier to get it out without it breaking. If not a loose bottom tin is the best option.

Add the oil and sugar to a bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together (you can do it by hand with a fork if not). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add in the extracts and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon. Once mixed pour in to the tin.

Prepare your fruit. Half (or quarter if they’re big) the figs and wash the blackberries. Place the fruit in to the batter. Push them down a little bit so they’re well bedded in there. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon.

Pop in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. It is worth starting to check it at about 20 minutes. Once a skewer comes out clean then it’s done. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then carefully remove it and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!