That warm spring may seem rather a long time ago but it continues to have an influence on seasonal fruit and veg with the arrival of the British plums almost two weeks early! Now there’s a deliciously colourful jumble of early and late summer produce to enjoy with cherries and berries as well as peas, broad beans, runner beans and sweet corn.
Eaten for centuries in England, there are now hundreds of varieties of plums which include damsons and greengages – from tart to very sweet, for cooking or eating and in a range of rich colours from light greens and yellows to dark reds and purples. Varieties include the early dusky pink Opals, Belle, the popular Victoria, blue-black Marjorie’s Seedling, Mallard and Imperial Gage.
- Healthy – good source of potassium, fibre, vitamins A and C. Rich in antioxidants and contains amino acidtryptophan, used by the body to produce the feel good neurotransmitter serotonin.
- Serve – simply eaten raw or baked with demerara sugar, as a plum clafoutis, in a crumble with hazelnuts, as tart tatin, see Dan’s recipe below as well as plum sauce for Chinese cooking, with chicken and soy, spiced duck, plum jam, gingery plum cake or a plum vodka.
- Freeze – open freeze them, ie arrange on a baking tray making sure halves aren’t touching and freeze until solid then place in bags back in the freezer or try bottling them.
Do look out for the Discoveries too –first of the English apples just in!
In the Shop
New Cake Supplier – Fathersons
We’re pleased to have found this new bakery run by two fathers and two sons who make quality award-winning homemade cakes and goodies to traditional methods. There’s a choice of yummy flavours of 8” and 5” double sponge, 8” large loaf and 5” mini loaf as well as Bakewell slice, cupcakes, traybakes and fruit pies which you’ll find in the chiller cabinet.
For a slice of Italian dining, new quality antipasti from our suppliers Tenuta Marmorelle – in packs such as Delle Alpi with speck, bresaola, salami fume, Emiliano with prosciutto, salami and pancetta and Mediterrano – prosciutto and salami capacollo. For those of you with a sweet tooth you may like the new soft nougat slices – limencello, wild berries, pistachio and amaretto.
Heads up for Sophie Allport fans amongst you – new linens in soon in her gorgeous artichoke, flamingo and cow designs.
Do take a look at our sale table – 40% off many items of stylish houseware, plates, bowls, storage containers and much more.
Tasting – 5 August – Yau’s New Sauces
Bonnie Yau will be with us again cooking noodles and giving you the opportunity to taste her Thai green curry paste – the distinctively flavoured and intense paste made with chillies and pepper, Thai herbs and spices for use as a marinade or with coconut milk to create a rich creamy sauce; also her versatile mild Chinese curry paste – perfect with chicken or add natural yogurt for a pourable sauce.
Cheeses of the Month
We’ve four cheeses for you this month that carry the 20% discount – look out for the red star.
Raclette – this semi-hard cheese is made with traditional methods from unpasteurised cows’ milk on both sides of the French and Swiss Alps. The name comes from the French word ‘racler’ to scrape. It has thin orange coloured rind, creamy firm smooth texture with an acidic, milky, nutty and sweet flavour and very distinctive pleasant smell. It melts well so ideal for burgers and summer entertaining.
Gil our wine man from Corney & Barrow advises that a wine with bright flavours of citrus and cutting acidity but also a soft delicate character with a smooth, mouth-coating finish is required to match the raclette – the Pinot Gris from Santa Florentina in Argentina is perfect. A real thirst-quencher with bright citrus and green apple flavours, white floral aromas and hints of spice and lychee. The lovely, fresh acidity balancing the ripe fruit flavours offers a real sense of purity.
Red Storm (v) from the Snowdonia cheese company. This waxed punchy creamy Red Leicester is made with pasteurised cows’ milk. Typically aged for 18 -21 months it develops an intense flavour with quality calcium crystals, a nutty texture and sweet caramel notes. Works equally well on a wedge of rustic bread or delicate spelt cracker and is a favourite for al fresco dining.
Gil recommends a glass of the Casa Felipe Carmenere with this cheese. A wine of great depth of fruit and hints of chocolate on the palate make it a wonderful partner to the caramel notes and nutty texture in the cheese. This wine is medium bodied so will not overpower the cheese and a refreshing level of acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for al fresco drinking as well.
Cornish Organic Brie (v) a delicious mild brie with semi-soft consistency and lovely bloomy rind. As it ripens it develops a beautiful creamy texture, characteristic yellow buttery colour and distinctive mellow flavour as it melts in the mouth.
As something a little different, Gil suggests the gorgeous Domaine de Montauberon Rose as a pairing. This wine is fresh and full of red fruit flavours, in particular raspberry, and hints of white blossom on the nose. It is vivacious and well-balanced, with good acidity and length in the mouth. Made in a similar way to the famous Roses of Provence, it is perfectly suited to have with food as well as on its own. The acidity will cut through the creamy texture of the brie leaving the red fruit and floral characters to continue on the finish.
Gruyere D’Alpage – this seasonal gruyere is made only from summer milk of cows that graze high in the Swiss meadows giving it a distinctive flavour. A hard cheese made from unpasteurised milk, it is then matured for a year and develops a complex flavour, full of sweet caramel notes and rich nuttiness.
Rowcliffe, our cheese suppliers are the only wholesaler to have secured nearly all the supply of this cheese so do take the opportunity to enjoy it whilst you can.
Gil recommends one of his personal favourites with the Gruyere – the cracking El Campesino Chardonnay from Chile – rich and well-rounded but bursting with fresh citrus and stone fruit characters. These flavours and the creaminess on the finish will partner the caramel and nutty elements of the cheese.
Here’s to a good summer!
Plum Tart Tatin with Plum Purée
1kg plums, cut in half and stoned
50g brown sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
For the sweet pastry
200g plain flour
50g icing sugar
3 egg yolks
500g stoned plums
Make the pastry – mix the flour, sugar and butter together then add the egg yolks. Shape into a ball, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
Put the butter and sugar in a large ovenproof frying pan over a low hear. Stir until sugar dissolves, increase heat slightly until caramel turns golden. Add plums to pan cut side down, filling any gaps with extra pieces of plum. Sprinkle with sugar.
Roll out the pastry to slightly larger than the pan, lay on top of the pan and trim around the edge. Tuck the pastry around the plums. Prick the pastry. Bake for 20/25 minutes at 180⁰C until risen and golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, put a large plate on top of the pan and flip to invert the tatin onto the plate.
Make the plum purée – Put plums and sugar into an ovenproof dish and roast for 25/30 mins at 180⁰C until soft. Purée in a processor
Serve with crème fraiche and the purée