Sally Wise’s Plum Sauce


This year, through some miracle of miracles, the birds left some plums for us.  Whether it was conscious or whether they just missed them, I don’t know.  Of course, as happens with every variety of fruit and vegetable in the garden, they all ripened at once.  There was not a huge amount but certainly more than we would eat.  I put them in the cool room (along with the 1,000 passionfruit) until I could decide what to do with them. We are not big jam eaters so jam was not an option.  We do, however, eat a bit of sauce.  Plum sauce it would be then.

Our plums are greengage plums.  They are a small, round, very sweet, green plum.

Because I have so many cookbooks, I had quite a few recipes for plum sauce but none of my recipes used greengage plums.  I went on-line but still no luck.  I decided to choose any plum sauce recipe that appealed and make it with greengage plums.  Today’s recipe called for “damsons or other dark plums” but it worked perfectly with my little sweet green babies.  I was very happy with the colour.  If you use damsons or other dark plums, I am sure the colour would be even deeper.

I made this recipe a while back and took photos of the resultant jars but a photo of 8 jars of brown sauce is not that enticing.  I decided to wait until I could come up with a better photo.  I thought a piece of steak dipped in the sauce would be ideal but we don’t often eat steak.  As a result, there has been a delay in this post.

Today’s recipe is a Sally Wise recipe from her book, A Year in a Bottle.  I chose it because it sounded very simple.  The recipe says to place all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  “I could do that,” I thought.  The recipe did not say to cut the plums in half nor take out the pips, so I didn’t.  At first, I was really worried that I should have, but the plums burst open and eventually mingled with the other ingredients.

I recommend the recipe.  My only misgiving is you can taste the cloves.   If you find that a bit disconcerting, you may wish to reduce the amount of ground cloves by a half  teaspoon.

Makes between 2.5 and 3 litres.


  • 3kg damson or other dark plums, washed (or greengage plums 🙂 )
  • 1.5kg sugar
  • 6 cups cider vinegar
  • 500g onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs* fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • juice 1 lemon

*This is a 20 mil tablespoon.


  1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
  2. Continue to boil for two hours or until the mixture is thick.  Stir often.
  3. Press the mixture through a mouli, coarse sieve etc.
  4. Return the sauce to the saucepan and bring back to the boil.
  5. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

According to Sally, the sauce will keep in the pantry for up to 2 years.

In My Kitchen- December 2017

It has been sooo long since I did an In My Kitchen post – 6 months, in fact.  To prove it, I have included this photo I took last May for my June In My Kitchen post that never happened.  Clearly, I decided to make tomato sauce out of the last of the tomatoes.  (Here is the recipe if anyone is interested.)  Before long, I will be taking photos of this year’s tomato harvest but, for now, I am buying them.  It breaks my heart to do so when I know that, in a few weeks, I will have so many I won’t know what to do with them all.  It is always the same. Continue reading

The easiest pumpkin soup recipe ever and … my pressure canner to the rescue

Everyone has their favourite pumpkin soup recipe.  My favourite is one I have posted before – Pumpkin, cashew and coriander soup.  It is a beauty (check it out here) but it does take a bit of effort.  And there are plenty of times when effort does not figure.  For those times, I have been dreaming of a recipe my mum used to make.  I had it hand written in my recipe book but somehow I lost it.  I did ask my sisters but to no avail.   I remembered the ingredients – chicken stock, pumpkin, tomatoes and onion but I couldn’t remember the proportions.

Continue reading

In My Kitchen – January 2017


Happy New Year, everyone!

I haven’t written an “In My Kitchen” post for a while as I haven’t had anything new but I do now!

In my kitchen:

Are cherries.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we harvested cherries this year for only the second time in 20 years.  Clearly, the weather was just right for them as the trees produced their crop despite total neglect. Continue reading

A country life… all you need is patience


About 18 months ago, I decided we needed a retaining wall built behind our garage.  I was reluctant to call the guy who had built another wall for us.  It was not that the garden wall he had built was not good – in fact, it was bloody good.  The problem was he took ages and ages to come.  I remember ringing him on a regular basis until, finally, he arrived.  When he did come, he came with a smile, did a good job and did things over and above what was called for.

In the end, I decided to risk it and called, let us name him, ***.

Continue reading

The need to make chestnut flour


Life is complex.  I say that often, but no truer words have been spoken.

I have long-held an ambition to make flour.  Let me explain.

I have long-held an ambition to make wheat flour.   I don’t mean buying a grain mill and some wheat and grinding it.  I mean growing the wheat, harvesting the grain, thrashing it, grinding it and making a loaf of bread with it. Continue reading