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a very plum, plum

After a day of septic tank construction there’s nothing better than fixing up a batch of jam. I’m part Lara Croft and part Betty Draper.

We have been showered with plums lately.


The first ones came from of our hard working woofer Samuel. They were blood plums and I just scoffed them straight up. Fabulous with yoghurt and a bit of muesli for breakfast.

Next a small bag of the same type arrived on the doorstep so I made those into jam, and very nice it is. My jam recipe is like this: I don’t bother removing the stones (who has the time?). Wash them, chuck them in with half (or less) the quantity of fruit of white sugar, one finely chopped apple and a third of a cup of water. Let it rage on boiling point and then cool slightly so you don’t need a trip to hospital after mashing them with a potato masher. Cool some more then pour into sterilised jars. To sterilise them I boil the kettle and fill them all up and then dry them in a low oven.


yellow plum jam on the outside and blood plum in the middle

Again, not only good on toast but mixed with yoghurt for dessert or breakfast and I even get into the Portuguese thing of fresh cheese and jam as a snack.

Then the neighbours brought a massive bag of yellow plums around. A whole shopping bag bursting at the seams, about 5 kilos. Drastic action had to taken.

I can’t seem to find Hoi Sin Sauce in the country. It’s a very handy chinese plum sauce – its primary function being to make pork less boring.

Hoi Sin (sort of… I made this up.)

Wash plums and stick them in a pan along with:
a motherload of garlic
half cup white wine vinegar (or rice wine vinegar if you are not in Cú de Judas)
few good splashes of soy
finely chopped red chilli as you like
half cup sugar – you could use a golden or white
As with jam, boil it up relentlessly (20 minutes say) and then mash with potato masher. Then I strain the mush through a colander and into a sauce bottle. By this stage it might be cool enough to taste. Think to yourself HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET as you taste it and if you think you can taste all four (and still it tastes like plums) then you’ve got it right. Keep in mind that it can be very strong, but because you use it as a marinade the flavour will be diluted somewhat.


Slap it on any type of pork cut before baking, grilling, BBQing. My mother grilled entremeadas this way in the days before cholesterol, delicious!

So that sorted out a bag or so, and if wasn’t so busy I could actually see some friends and share my jam/sauce/overflowing fridge abundance. The obvious thing of course is to give the stuff back in sauce form to the people who gave us the plums, but I did that already with the jam and the dear neighbour said  “I don’t eat sweet stuff”… and now I’m a bit shy on foisting any more wacky foreign jars her way. She appreciated the lettuce, though.

But then another bag of plums arrives. These ones are green – unripe yellows. This time I turn to my one and only cookbook, Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. It was a mighty tough choice picking just one cookbook to take to Portugal, them books being so heavy `n all… but Stephanie Alexander’s bible is like a desert island item. It’s the only cookbook you need. So go off to amazon or dymocks or wherever and buy it now (this should cover the following copyright issue).

Directly from page 551:


And would you believe, there’s still another bag of plums in the fridge…







  1. Ad July 29, 2011 9:24 am Reply

    You didn’t add salt to your own plum sauce recipe? I thought that was key to pretty much any sauce.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: July 30th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Soy. Asian salt. xx

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Richie July 29, 2011 10:19 am Reply

    Looks and i`m sure tastes absolutely delicious Emma!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: July 30th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks rich!

    [Reply to comment]

  3. Suzanne McDonald July 29, 2011 5:58 pm Reply

    Hi Emma. I am also surrounded by plums (and figs) in Avecaster, delicious. Can you send me your telephone number I would really love to catch up with you before I return to Australia in September. Suzanne.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: July 30th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    about to rain figs at our place too… Avecaster? Did you buy the two storey place with the long sheds (with oven) out the back and garage/shed at the side?

    [Reply to comment]

  4. Katharina July 30, 2011 12:11 am Reply

    Google German Plum Cake…..it’s made on a base baked with yeast and then plums in sugar on top….use the red dark plums….then fresh cream when served…preferably warm. To die for….sooooo yummy!

    [Reply to comment]

  5. IsabelPS July 30, 2011 2:06 am Reply

    I am overwhelmed by pears. Wanna trade?

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: July 30th, 2011 at 7:22 pm


    [Reply to comment]

  6. sami July 30, 2011 3:07 am Reply

    Lucky that you are given so much fruit! I am overwhelmed with lemons, having 2 lemon trees in my backyard, so I make lemon tea, lemonade, lemon cheesecake, lemon butter…..and take boxes of lemons to work or leave boxes by the street verge for passersby to take as they wish! Never heard of Hoi-Sin sauce, but will copy the recipe.

    [Reply to comment]


  7. Lina July 30, 2011 10:51 pm Reply

    The picture of the plums certainly make my mouth water! As I young child, I remember visiting my relatives in Portugal and loving those summer fruits…plums, pears and figs.

    I haven’t been back to Portugal during the summer months in over 20 years, but thanks for taking me back ‘home’.

    [Reply to comment]

  8. Emma August 1, 2011 5:00 am Reply

    Oh, I made plum chutney from the plums we were given from next door. A little sharp a month ago, it’s now mellowed and is fab with pork and some of that Isle São Jorge cheese that you can get in the bigger supermarkets.

    [Reply to comment]

    Sami Veloso   Reply: August 12th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Oh Emma, Sao Jorge cheese!! That certainly made my mouth water. My husband is from the Azores Islands (Sao Miguel) and I remember when we lived in Portugal we used to go there every 2 years, and that cheese is just so, so , so good…I´m surprised it´s not known all over the world.

    [Reply to comment]


  9. Bianca August 5, 2011 5:18 am Reply

    Hey 😀
    I absolutely adore plums jam, nice recipe, I never done it like that… Did you ever try doing figs jam. I keep searching for recipes online but I’m not sure if they work.

    [Reply to comment]


  10. Vern August 10, 2011 4:55 pm Reply

    Hello Emma,

    I have recently bought a Kindle eReader from Amazon in America and d/l the book Mules, Chickens and Two Old Fools, this is a story of two Brits who decided to live in Andalucia – Spain.
    They purchased an old house in a rural village and had a hilarious time and thought you might like to look at their webpage.

    http://www.victoriatwead.com/Old Fools Blog/ Old Fools Blog. html

    [Reply to comment]

  11. Mandy August 17, 2011 9:49 pm Reply

    All sound great, Emma! I’m a veggie but definitely going to try the Hoi Sin sauce to try on my man- in tofu stirfry of course. I was living safely in the suburbs of Margin Sul Lisboa… but i didn’t account for the ‘grandmother and mother-in-law visit’ factor-up to our ears in fresh plums, and lemons. Time to get saucy.

    [Reply to comment]

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