Upside Down Plum Cake

The Bristol Half Marathon is tomorrow and I thought I’d bake up some pre-race fuel to use up some ripe plums. Not sure how the weather will turn out, but when all else fails, at least there’s cake. Here is what you’ll need:

For the plum topping:

  • 8-10 ripe plums
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or any you like)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 beaten eggs

First, wash and cut the plums as you like.

Next, mix the brown sugar and butter, spreading it on the bottom of your cake tin.

Then, neatly arrange the plums on top of the butter and brown sugar.

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, almond milk, and almond extract. Stir it a bit, then do the eggs.

Last, beat the eggs separately before adding them to the batter. If you have a mixer, use it! If not, just use a whisk to get a good batter. For the record, I don’t have a mixer, but the cakes still turn out alright.

Once mixed, pour the batter evenly into the tin, making sure it covers the fruit.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for 35 minutes.

And there you have it, Upside Down Plum Cake! This cake is good, like real good! Gooey, sticky, sweet, and part of your 5 a day? Heck yeah!

This is the perfect way to use up your ripe plums. The recipe also works well with damsons, peaches, and nectarines. And who doesn’t like a serving of fruit? Hopefully a slice of this cake will propel me to the finish line. And at the very least, lots of leftovers, yeah! If you happen to be near the Half Marathon route, come out and cheer us on – with the weather we’re expecting, we’ll need it! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

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Easy Blackberry Jam

The weather is starting to turn, but we’re still having lots of sunny afternoons with cool breezes. And, there are still blackberries to be harvested. So, I thought I’d make some easy Blackberry jam with my last haul. It makes a small batch, which is approximately one jar. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon

After washing your blackberries very well, place in a small sauce pan with the sugar.

Next, grab a masher and spend several minutes smashing the heck out of those berries. You really want to get the juice flowing so that the berries become a liquid purée like mash up.

There will still be bits of berry, but as you can see above, it should have lots of juice. Place on the stove and set on high. I used mark 5.

Bring the berry mash to a boil, stirring it the entire time. By constantly stirring, you’ll ensure it does not burn. Once it boils for about 5 minutes, put on medium low and simmer until it thickens. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the spoon.

Juice the lemon, and stir in the liquid while the berry mixture is still hot.

Make sure your jar is already prepared. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled to sterilise. While the liquid is still hot, spoon jam into the jar. It will firm up as it cools.

And there you have it, one batch of Easy Blackberry Jam! This is the perfect way to preserve the last of the summer fruit to enjoy into the cold winter months. Stir it in porridge, put it in yogurt, or enjoy on some toast! However you slice it, this jam is just too easy to pass up. Give it a try before the berries disappear. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Blackberry Linseed Buns

So, yeah. I’m not really sure where summer went, but there has been lots of rain, so I guess that means there will be a nice harvest come fall. In between the rain showers, my better half and I have been doing some foraging for wild blackberries.

FullSizeRender (91)One might think that wild blackberries only grew in forested areas, or at least somewhere along country hedges.  However, I’ve found several spots here in central Bristol (BS1!) with ripening plants.  So this weekend, we were able to pick enough berries to make some healthy buns!  If you are foraging for the first time, make sure you do some homework first.  Always be aware that you are picking the right kind of fruit, know what the leaves are supposed to look like, and if there is ever any doubt, take a picture and consult your local garden center.  Blackberries tend to grow in clusters, have a specific leaf shape, and have thorny branches.  What we found here in the city center, is that they are often growing within other hedgy type plants as well.FullSizeRender (92)When picking blackberries, it is common to find the berries in different stages of ripeness, as seen above.  You want to pick berries that are a very deep, dark purple.  At this stage, they will be sweet and juicy.  Any lighter purple or reddish, they will still be safe to eat, but can be very tart and sour.

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As you can see above, we came home with a nice bowl of fresh, organic berries.  Since they are wild, there are no pesticides, so if you decide to pick some they may not last as long as store bought berries.  It is best to eat, cook, or bake them soonish, otherwise you can freeze them for later.  With all the rain today, I was in a baking mood, so I decided to make wild blackberry linseed buns.  They are made without any flour, so perfect for those wanting to avoid grain.  You can easily make these dairy free by substituting coconut oil for the butter.  Here is what I used to bake these treats:

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  • 3/4 cup ground, milled linseed (bought at Aldi for 1.99)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, nearly melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup fresh wild blackberries

First grease your bun pans.  I used coconut oil as it does great in high heat.  Then preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C. Next, mix together the dry ingredients (linseed, baking powder & salt).

FullSizeRender (95)Next, beat your eggs, and add the butter which should be nearly melted.  Then add the honey and water, combining thoroughly.

FullSizeRender (96)Once mixed, add the liquid mixture to your dry ingredients.  Combine well, then add the blackberries.

FullSizeRender (97)Next, add a large spoonful of the batter to each bun spot on your pan.  In case you’re looking for these, here in the UK, you can find them in most home shops, and also at pound land. I have two pans; one from Robert Dyas and one from poundland and both work well just the same.  In the states, I’ve seen them called muffin top pans.

FullSizeRender (98)When ready, pop these in your oven for 17 minutes.  You can adjust your cooking time if necessary.  Just make sure you do the clean toothpick test before taking them out.  You may find you need a few more minutes, so depending on your oven, a full 20 minutes may be better.

FullSizeRender (99)And there you have it – wild blackberry linseed buns!  Let these cool a bit before taking them out of the pan as they will be very soft to handle otherwise.  If your berries aren’t too sweet and depending on your taste, you may find you need to add more honey to sweeten.  However, if you pick your berries at a very ripe stage, they will add a bit of natural sweetness.  You can also add blueberries, sultanas, or dates if that is what you have on hand.  Also, if you don’t have linseed, then ground flax seed will work in the same way.  These buns turned out buttery and sweet, without being cloying.  They were great as a tea snack and will be a perfect addition to tomorrow’s breakfast.

Stay dry out there Bristol, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

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