Pete’s Food Corner: plumlust

Peter Moody
Pete Moody

Pete Moody grew up in Delph and also lived in Diggle and Uppermill before going up to Lancaster to study English in 1996.

He taught himself to cook from the backs of cereal boxes, Chinese whispers and Youtube, deciding the long hours, crippling financial difficulty and a snooker-player complexion were preferable to a teaching career. He is currently starting up a restaurant in Shrewsbury.

THERE WAS a frost on the ground this morning. I woke at ten to six and pulled on clothes I couldn’t see and went outside to steal damsons from a tree that leans over the wall of someone’s garden up the road. (I’ve implicated myself in a crime, so what? They were about to get frostbite.)

No-one saw me and no-one came with me. Even my imaginary friends have fallen out with me over my out-of-hours scrumping but, as I look over my shoulder and shout ‘losers’ as they’re running in the opposite direction, I know they don’t have the plumlust.

Apples, pfffft. Pears, whatever. Sloes, in the gin. Try roasting plums for a crumble this autumn. Damsons are a little extreme but can work with a bit of patience and a lot of sugar as they are naturally quite sour.

All plums are good cooked, though, and take on a new appeal when spiced up a bit with things you will have in your cupboard.

In a roasting dish, carelessly put five plums that you’ve halved lengthways and stoned. Pour over four tablespoons of warmed honey (it pours more easily) or golden syrup and a handful of white sugar.

Add a level teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla extract and half a glass of white wine or vermouth.

Mix well with your hands and roast in a preheated oven at 200C for about twelve minutes or less if they look like they’re going to fall to mush when you prod them. Most varieties should stay firm and they are a joy to eat with a good, oaty crumble top and custard.

If you ARE tempted to reappropriate someone else’s fruit then make sure you wear your own clothes and not your partner’s when you leave the house. Kids can be cruel.


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