Easy Plum & Port Crumble

Fancy emigrating? It’s not easy and probably never will be.

My journey started seven years ago when I made a move to UK to live with Neil. The big change along with all the packing I found exhilarating but at the same time just as stressful. The most tedious part of that episode was passport control at Heathrow airport. Anyone from a non-EU country would know what I’m talking about. Sometimes I wonder if these officials are just natural born arseholes, which is how they got the job, or are trained to be despicable to their fellow human beings. The worst was when an old man mumbled something and pointed to nowhere specific. When I asked him to repeat himself because I didn’t understand he yelled at me. Shell-shocked I retreated and wandered aimlessly wondering why I couldn’t go through to collect my baggage. Apparently I needed a TB scan because I deserved that extra dose of radiation. I’ve seen and heard of others treated worse. You don’t have to wonder why there are notices plastered on every pillar along the lines of “Our staff have the right to work in safety and anyone who gives in to severe temptation and beats the living shit out of one will be prosecuted”. If they treated tired travellers better they wouldn’t have needed to work in fear.

Of course, on an occasion or two I’ve dealt with a sweetheart but overall they are tyrannical sourpusses who sit self-importantly on their pedestals lashing out judgment at other mere mortals. Funnily enough, once you are actually in the UK and phone up the Border Agency, the people are perfectly decent and very helpful.

On one hand, I understand Immigration Control’s position. The country is bursting at its seams with lots of social, political and financial implications. Another illegal immigrant is definitely not going to help matters.

At that stage, South African passport holders were allowed to live in the UK for up to six months before having to leave the country. After about five months Neil and I escaped to Calais for a weekend in order to “renew” my right to stay for another six months. Another stressful interrogation took place but I was allowed back in.

By now I was fed up and anxious as I knew the clock was ticking all over again. We explored all avenues but it boiled down to having to get married or engaged. The latter was a stupid option because you had to get married within six months and end up with a marriage visa anyway, i.e. more costs and paperwork were involved. I don’t have commitment issues but I truly resented the situation we were placed in: either break up the relationship and I return to South Africa, or take the plunge and tie the knot.

A few months later we were married and I received my marriage visa which was valid for two years. Before it expired I took the Life In The UK test which, if you studied properly, was brain-dead easy. After that I finally got my Indefinite Leave to Remain visa.

For once I started to feel a bit more secure but traveling was still a pain. All South Africans know that their little green and gold books are worth diddly-squat. Want to travel to USA? You need a visa. Want to travel to France? You need a visa. Want to fart? You need a visa.

So this year I decided to finish the last leg of this epic journey. Firstly, I retained my South African citizenship then applied for a British one. Of course, the application form had a gazillion probing questions that needed answering. If that wasn’t enough, I had to cough up over £800. The best part was if your application got rejected, you lost the money. Can you say nerve-wracking? I can spell it backwards.

Finally, after months of waiting I’ve heard the good news. At the end of this month I’ll be inaugurated as a chavtastic Essex girl at a citizenship ceremony in London. Yeehaa! I can’t wait to flip my little red book at passport control!

And if life hands you a tonne of plums? You make crumble because life is complicated enough.

Download and/or print the recipe! Click HERE.

Easy Plum & Port Crumble
If you think your life is complicated enough, go back to basics and treat yourself with this simple dessert.
Recipe by: Michelle Minnaar
Published: 19 October 2011
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour
Weight Watchers Recipe: 34 ProPoints, Per Serving: 6 ProPoints
Serving size: 160.5g, Calories per serving: 463, Fat per serving: 35.6g
Serves 6

500g (1 lb) plums, washed, stoned & halved

90ml (6 tbsp) sugar

30ml (2 tbsp) port

75g (2½ oz) porridge oats

25g (2 oz) plain or wholemeal flour

25g (2 oz) ground almonds

1.25ml (¼ tsp) ground cinnamon

40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/356°F/gas 4).
  2. Place the plums in a shallow, ovenproof dish and add the port and sprinkle 45ml/3 tbsp of the sugar.
  3. To make the crumble, rub the oats, flour, remaining (45ml/3 tbsp) sugar, cinnamon and butter together in a bowl until well mixed.
  4. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the fruit bubbles and the topping is golden brown.
Serving Suggestion
  • Serve with ice cream or custard.
  • Allergic to nuts? Omit the ground almonds and substitute it with plain flour instead.

More plum recipes to inspire you:

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  1. says

    Excellent news – I can’t believe it cost you £800!!! WTF?? I’m lucky in that my Mum came over here in the swinging sixties, was naughty, fell pregnant – SKANDE!!! had me over here and then took me back to S.A when I was a wee baby. So I’m lucky enough to have dual citizenship. Do you?

    Me ol’ Mam is coming over to visit next year and she’s wanted to go to Spain all her life. I’m determined to make it happen but the palaver – nevermind the added expense – enough to make us weep.

    • says

      Dear Skande-Baba,

      Unfortunately, I’m 100% boeremeisie so I didn’t have it easy. Just glad it’s almost over. Will be going to the ceremony tomorrow then have to apply for my passport, then D-O-N-E.

      Why the palaver? You mother has her UK passport, right?

  2. says

    Congratulations on receiving your citizenship! That must have been a huge relief. (How awful that you don’t get your money back if it falls through!)

    I adore plum crisp and make it several times a year, but have never thought to add port. Great idea – and your custard looks lusciously indulgent.

  3. says

    Those people sound like a bunch of imbeciles – well much like all other government drones actually… Glad you don’t have to deal with them anymore!

    This crumble looks excellent – between you & Jeanne you’ve got me seriously salivating for plums right now.

    • says

      Thanks, Marisa. Yep, imbeciles indeed. I think they just enjoy their temporary power at work every day before getting pussy-whipped by someone else at home.

  4. says

    Hilariously painful story Michelle. Trust me, I can understand. Living in Malaysia and renewing my visa is always a trying event. I crossed over the border once from Thailand and ended up in a backroom interrogation room. That’s a long story. And don’t get me started on Reese (Malaysian) going to the US. Anyway, congratulations on seeing it through and getting your citizenship.

    I’m celebrating with this crumble every time I get my visa renewed…and a bottle of rum on the side…

    • says

      Thanks, Mark. Listening to your story it seems to be a universal epidemic, i.e. bad treatment by passport control. Luckily, I’ve never been in The Backroom.

      Just plain ol’ rum? Stroh rum will do!!!

  5. says

    Ah yes, I think we have met the same folks at Border Control ;o) That Green Mamba of a S African passport apparently tings all sorts of alarm bells at the Uk border… I was tolod in advance abotu the TB thing and arrived with chest X-rays from home… that NOBODY WANTED TO SEE! Talk about offended. And because I arrived as the dependent of an ancestral visa (God bless Nick’s English heritage!) but without Nick (who had flown 2 days before me) I ws only samped in for TWO MONTHS! After that I had to present BOTH our passports to the Home Office together, to prove he was here. Because, like, they could not look up on their little computers the fact that he had arrived at that very airport 48 hours previously. Ja nee. Anyhoo, we got there in the end – 4 years of ancestral, then ILR, then another year (give or take some fannying about) to get citizenship and we’ve been proud dual citizens since 2007! Trust me, that little plum-coloured passport will change your life :)

    Gorgeous shots and I LOVE plum crumble!

    • says

      Classic sod’s law. The times I did bring my x-rays, no one even asked for them. The times I didn’t have them, I was forced to queue for screening. *cough cough* Bastards.

      Wow, you had your passport for 4 years already?!?

  6. Robyn Clarke says

    My husband and I moved to the UK 3 years ago, both South African(but my mom is from the UK, so I have a British passport). I found it quite funny that my husband was sent for a TB scan as he had a South African passport and I wasn’t as I had a British passport(despite living in South Africa for over 20 years). Its great that a British passport is a vaccine for TB!

  7. Vanja says


    I am from Serbia, and my boyfriend is from England. Similar story like yours, but we still didn’t reach marriage point. I can imagine what we have to go through if we ever decide to get married. Actually, now I can. :S

    Greets from Serbia


  8. says

    This recipe looks amazing. This would be good any time of the year, but especially in the winter. Cuddle up to a movie with a nice warm piece of plum and port crumble. The crumble topping is making my mouth water just looking at it. Im going to add some nice vanilla bean ice cream to the top of mine!


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