My mum and I have just been for a really lovely walk with the dogs on a route that my brother and I named, quite a few years ago, the ‘Christmas Walk’; So-called because it was the walk our Dad would take us on every Christmas Eve in the afternoon. The walk had 2 very distinct purposes. The first was to get us out of the way of all the cooking and preparing that my Mum and Gran were doing as, although we liked to help, I think we probably got in the way quite a lot as well. The second was to try to tire us out, so that we would at least sleep a little on Christmas Eve-this walk being a lot longer than the usual ones we would go on together. My brother and I still do the Christmas Eve walk together every year and we love it.
We don’t tend to do the walk at any other time of year but we decided to go today and it just reminded me how different a place can look in the country depending on the seasons. The brilliant coppery shades of Autumn are just beginning to emerge and for some reason they reminded Mum that when we got back, we would have to check in the orchard to see what had happened to the tree we discovered a couple of months ago which had, almost overnight, produced a mysteriously tiny, apple green fruit that was hard and sour. We decided we would leave it and check it in a few weeks to see if there had been any miraculous transformations. Well, we forgot about it and today is at least a month or so since we found the little unidentified fruits. So, when we went back we were both really excited to see the tree was full of the tiniest and sweetest purple pink cherry plums!
I love almonds with fruit so, once we’d eaten enough of our orchard finds, I decided I would make a tray cake full of ground almonds, their flavour enhanced with some almond extract. I dropped some of the stoned and halved plums into the batter before I baked it. We ate it warm for tea with just some icing sugar on top but I think it would be lovely, too, as a pudding with cream or even by itself with a cup of tea for a decadent breakfast.