I had a craving for a piquant plum sauce on my pork belly. I had never made a plum sauce before so I started Googling around for a few ideas. Some recipes suggested using fresh plums, while plenty of others advised plum jam. I took myself to Asda in search of either and found neither. But I did find tinned prunes in grape juice. I couldn’t remember the last time I was involved with prunes – possibly when my grandmother was still alive – but I grabbed the tin and home I went, confident that I had the makings of a plum sauce in the cupboard.

This plum sauce was entirely experimental but somehow I pulled it off. It was served over oven-baked pork belly which sat atop a bed of rice. I wilted some spinach in a metal colander over the rice and accompanied the whole she-bang with creamy garlic mushrooms – click here for the particular recipe.

Tonight I plan to use last weekend’s newly acquired plum sauce skills to invent a Chinese-inspired plum sauce for some stir-fry beef and vegetables – we’re watching the England-Ukraine match tonight so we need bowl food that can be easily eaten in front of the telly. Wish me luck and wish the lads luck in Rome too! COME ON, ENGLAND!

Plum sauce for meat (or meat alternatives)


2 tablespoons groundnut oil (or pretty much any other cooking oil or melted butter will do the job)

1 small white onion or banana shallot finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

80ml port wine (Feel free to use grape juice if you’re not keen on using alcohol or you haven’t got any port in the house)

80ml stock

200g tinned prunes, finely chopped (You basically need to retrieve the prunes from the tin – I wore rubber gloves – and turn them to mush with a knife)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground ginger and chilli powder to taste (Start with a teaspoon of each if you’re not confident to measure by eye, give it a little taste and adjust as you go)



  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and then gently cook the onion and garlic until the onion softens.
  2. Add the port and stock and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the mushy prunes to the pot and stir in well. Turn the heat down and let the sauce reduce and thicken slightly.
  4. Stir through the brown sugar until dissolved.
  5. Add the spices to taste, mix well over a low heat and serve ASAP.

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