Boost your immunity this winter with South African stone fruit

You don't have to eat 'boring' food to get your vitamins - try these recipes featuring delicious counter-seasonal fruit.

Culture

South African plums, peaches and nectarines are natural and powerful immunity-boosters as they’re packed with nutrients and vitamins. South African fruit is counter-seasonal, so is available when European produce isn’t, which means we’re lucky enough to enjoy beautiful sunshine fruit all year round. Varieties of peach and nectarine are available in grocers and supermarkets from November until May, and plums from the end of December. Perhaps best of all, the South African fruit industry prides itself in supporting various ethical and transformation initiatives that focus on training, worker welfare, skills development and land ownership projects of its growers!

South African stone fruit health and nutrition:

  • High in fibre
  • An excellent source of vitamin A and C
  • Low in fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium
  • High in carotene and potassium
Ginger-Chilli Tuna with Asian Plum Sauce

Ginger-Chilli Tuna with Asian Plum Sauce

In this tasty Asian-inspired recipe, South African plums are made into a spicy sauce to accompany tuna steaks cooked with toasted sesame oil, ginger, red chilli and garlic - and a few more South African plums for good measure!

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • 1tbsp toasted sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 fresh tuna steaks (or thawed frozen ones)
  • 6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 4 South African plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 heads of pak choi, roughly chopped
  • Few drops soy sauce and/or fish sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges and sesame seeds, to garnish

Plum Sauce:

  • 300g South African plums, pitted and chopped
  • I small red onion, chopped
  • 2tbsp soy sauce 100ml rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 star anise

1. First of all, make the plum sauce. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the plums are very soft. Remove the star anise, then blend the ingredients together to make a smooth sauce. Keep in a sterilised bottle and refrigerate.

2. Heat the sesame or vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the tuna steaks, cooking them for 1-2 minutes per side, or according to your preference. Remove and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes while you make the stir fry.

3. Add the spring onions, chilli, ginger and garlic to the frying pan or wok with the plums and pak choi. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, season with a few drops of soy sauce and/or fish sauce and a little salt and pepper, then transfer to warm plates with the tuna steaks. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with the plum sauce. Serve, garnished with lime wedges.

Cook’s tip: Remember to keep the plum sauce chilled and use within 4 weeks of making.

Nectarine & Hazelnut Open Crust Pie

Nectarine & Hazelnut Open Crust Pie

You don’t have to been the winner of the Great British Bake Off to create this easy-going free-form pie! The whole idea is that it is loose and relaxed, so why not roll up your sleeves and make this sensational bake?

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking: 30 minutes

Serves: 8

  • 260g plain flour
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 130g butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 40g ground hazelnuts or ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Chilled water, to mix

Filling:

  • 40g ground hazelnuts or ground almonds
  • 4 South African nectarines or peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 50g hazelnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
  • 75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Crème fraiche, cream or ice cream, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, Fan Oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the ground hazelnuts or almonds, then add 2tbsp beaten egg and 1tbsp chilled water, stirring with a knife to bring the mixture together to make a soft (not sticky) dough. Knead lightly for a few seconds until smooth. Wrap and chill for 10 minutes.

3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a circle with a diameter of about 38cm. Transfer to a baking sheet (the pastry will overlap). Brush the surface with beaten egg.

4. Sprinkle the ground hazelnuts or almonds over the pastry to within 7cm of the edge, then arrange the nectarines or peaches on top. Sprinkle with the sugar, then scatter the chopped hazelnuts or almonds over the fruit. Fold the pastry over to form a border, tucking and sealing it to make a free-form pie. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with extra sugar.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche, cream or ice cream.

Cook’s tip: Another time, try using delicious South African plums in this gorgeous recipe.

South African Peach & Amaretto Tiramisu

South African Peach & Amaretto Tiramisu

This luscious dessert is made with sponge fingers soaked in Amaretto liqueur and coffee, layered with a heavenly mascarpone cheese mixture and juicy South African peaches. It’s perfect for a special occasion - and can be made a day ahead.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Serves: 8-10

  • 300ml strong black coffee, cooled
  • 6tbsp Amaretto liqueur or Marsala
  • 200g pack sponge fingers
  • 4 South African peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 x 250g tubs mascarpone cheese
  • 400ml double cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 2-3tbsp pomegranate seeds

1. Put thecoffee into a shallow bowl and add the Amaretto liqueur or Marsala. One at a time, dip in half the sponge fingers, allowing a couple of seconds for the liquid to soak in, transferring them to a large trifle bowl as you go along.

2. Beat the mascarpone cheese in a bowl to soften it. Whip the cream in a large chilled bowl until floppy, then fold it into the mascarpone with the orange zest and sugar. Pile half on top of the sponge fingers and spread out evenly. Arrange half the peach slices over the top in an even layer.

3. Repeat the layers of soaked sponge fingers, mascarpone mixture and peaches. Cover and chill until ready to serve, sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.

Cook’s tips: You could use trifle sponges instead of sponge fingers – and raid the drinks cabinet if you don’t have Amaretto liqueur or Marsala – try Tia Maria or sweet sherry instead. If you like, sprinkle the top with 3-4 roughly crushed Amaretto biscuits.

Peachy Plum Waffles with Chocolate Drizzle

Peachy Plum Waffles with Chocolate Drizzle

Kids(of all ages!) will love these yummy waffles, topped with caramelised South African peach and plum slices drizzled with an easy-to-make chocolate sauce – with whipped cream on the side!

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 4 bought waffles
  • 20g butter
  • 2 South African peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 4 South African plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml double cream

Chocolate sauce:

  • 50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 10g butter
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 100ml milk
  • 1tbsp caster sugar

1. First of all, make the chocolate sauce. Put all the ingredients into a non-stick saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a silicone whisk or wooden spoon until smooth and thickened. Set aside, stirring occasionally.

2. Following pack instructions, warm the waffles.

3. Melt the butter in a large frying panand add the peach and plum slices, cooking over a high heat for 1-2minutes. Sprinkle in the caster sugar and cook for a further 40-60 seconds or so, until the fruit looks lightly caramelised.

4. Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds its shape. Serve with the waffles, fruit and chocolate sauce. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa powder, if you like.

Cook’s tips: Make this recipe with pancakes instead of waffles, and use canned squirty cream instead of whipping it yourself – kids love it, and it’s quick and easy!

Roasted South African Plum, Pumpkin and Lentil Korma

Roasted South African Plum, Pumpkin and Lentil Korma

In this delicious curry, South African plums are roasted with pumpkin or butternut squash, then combined with korma curry paste, coconut cream and canned lentils. Great news – it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians too!

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 500g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 South African plums, pitted and sliced
  • 2 x 400g cans green or brown lentils, rinsedand drained
  • 4tsp vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 4tbsp Korma curry paste
  • 200g coconut cream
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4tbsp natural yogurt (dairy-free for vegans)
  • Fresh coriander, to garnish
  • Naan bread, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, Fan Oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6. Put the chunks of pumpkin or butternut squash and red onion into a roasting tin and add the olive oil, tossing to coat. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until just tender.

2. Add the cumin seeds and South African plums to the roasting tin and roast for 5 more minutes.

3. Meanwhile, tip the lentils into a large saucepan and stir in the stock powder or crumble in the cube. Add the curry paste, coconut cream and chopped coriander. Heat, stirring occasionally until simmering.

4. Tip the roasted vegetable mixture into the saucepan and stir gently to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Serve, garnished with natural yogurt and coriander sprigs, accompanied by warm naan bread.

Cook’s tips: If you want to keep the curry vegan, be sure to use a dairy-free yogurt for the garnish. Ifyou need an alternative to pumpkin or butternut squash, try sweet potatoes instead.

Mulled Plum Punch

Mulled Plum Punch

There’s something so welcoming about a hot alcoholic tipple. Not only does it taste terrific – it gives your home a fabulous festive aroma!

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cookingtime: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 400ml unsweetened apple juice
  • 400ml unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 100ml peach brandy (optional)
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 4tbsp clear honey
  • 6 South African plums, pitted and sliced

1. In a large saucepan, put the applejuice, cranberry juice, cider, peach brandy (if using), lemon slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and honey. Heat until just simmering, then turn the heat to very low.

2. After 5 minutes, add the plum slices and continue to simmer on a very low heat for a further 15 minutes.

3. Ladle into heatproof glasses and serve.

Cook’s tips: For a non-alcoholic version use 700ml of both apple and cranberry juice and omit the cider and peach brandy, and add a couple of spiced apple tea bags about 10 minutes before serving.

Did you know you can use a slow cooker to make this and keep it warm? Simply put all the ingredients into your slow cooker, then cover and cook on high for 1½ - 2 hours or 2½ - 3 hours on low.

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