Best buys

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 September, 2000, 12:00am

Plums are in season now, and my local market has three varieties. My favourites are the ones pictured. I always used to wait until the large green plums ripened and were yellow. Once I let them ripen until they were a beautiful pale pinkish-purple. The fruit was much juicier and sweeter, and now, this is the way I always eat them.

The smaller 'prune plums' are also sweet, but they're not very juicy. They taste great on their own, but I like them best in crumble.

Halve and pit the plums, then cut each half into thirds. Toss the pieces with castor sugar to taste, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkling of plain flour. Divide into individual baking dishes. Make the topping with 100 grams cold unsalted butter cut into pieces, 3/4 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup soft brown sugar and 1/4 cup sliced almonds. With your fingers, work the butter into the flour until it's the size of small peas, mix in the brown sugar and almonds, then sprinkle evenly over the plums.

Bake in 170 degree Celsius oven for about 20 minutes, or until the plum juices start bubbling over the top.

I've also been buying lots of mini bananas, which have so much more flavour than the large, ordinary variety. They're great for breakfast, and they also make a fast, easy - and very alcoholic - dessert. Saute the whole, peeled bananas in unsalted butter, then sprinkle with brown sugar.

Put about 1/4 cup of cognac in a large ladle, carefully ignite with a match, pour over the bananas and saute until the flames die down.


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