Thursday 26th August 2010 - weather: bloody awful, rain rain and more rain!
Come on weather, pull yourself together! We haven't sat out and enjoyed a balmy evening since returning from France at the start of the month...and as for summer BBQ's - fat chance. And thanks to the constant rain that Essex seems to be suffering, I still haven't got to the allotment.
Thanks to the wet weather, I have been taking advantage of the fruity gluts that come my way courtesy of the hedgerows, family and friends. Plums at the moment, although I do have 4Ib of brambles in the freezer, and 4Ib of Mirabelles. The in-laws have a rather stonking old Victoria plum tree and after a visit, we came away with 3 carriers full of the mouth watering, golden plum coloured fruits. I still had a 3Ib bag sitting in the freezer, so today was preserving day. Well, what else is there to do when the house is tidy, the kids are entertained, and their is bugger all on telly to watch.
Firstly I made James Martins plum chuts, altho I did had 5 thai green chillis to the mix to try and pep it up. I also did 4 times his original recipe. I couldn't get the heat from the chillis, but I am hoping on storing, the flavour will mature. Next boozy plum jam. 5Ib of plums, stoned and cooked until soft, then 5Ib of warm sugar joined them. Once setting point was reached, I poured in about half a pint of my home made damson gin, stired through and bottled in warm jars. Whenever I make boozy jams, I can't taste it, but when you compare it to a plain version, you can definately recognise a taste difference.
I still have a big bowl full of the beauties, so am toying with the idea of making a plum crumble, then perhaps chinese style plum sauce, and the remainder can go into the freezer for use another time.
The great thing is, my apple trees on the allotment are weighed down with fruit, so I have that to look forward to in a few weeks time, followed by the pears that I have permission to scrump from an old orchard at the back of the allotment, and that doesn't include the hedgerow fruits that I forage along the way.
I did look at a preserving book whilst I was in Wyvales this morning, enquiring as to when their cheap cheap seed sale starts, but I already have 3 preserving books, plus several war time books with great jam and chutters recipes, and to be honest, in the age of the internet, do we really need lots of books when recipes are at the end of our fingertips?