The kitchen looks like a bloodbath, the smell of burning sugar welding it's self to the bottom of my pans fills the air - it's jam time again! We picked kilos of plums yesterday and I rifled through all my cookery books to see what to do with them.
Dear Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's early "River Cottage Cookbook" and my 1976 "Food for the Freezer" were dragged out from the hundreds of books in my little library.
Food for the Freezer only has one paragraph on plums:
"Once cooked will keep for 12 months, good freezer life, best stored without stones."
Good, with any luck I won't be allergic to them by then.
Hugh who seems to be able to eat anything dead or alive - suggests boiling them whole with a kilo of sugar and then getting the stones and skins off in the sieve.
I compromised, having tried Hugh's way before a few years ago while living in Cornwall, I found it to be a real faff. So I decided to take the stones out. I had done about twenty plums
when a pretty in pink caterpillar waved at me from inside one of the plums!
About five more - eek it's moving OMG !!s later I was SO glad I didn't use Hugh's way of not
preparing the plums!
No you can't eat them Hugh, even if they are fat and juicy, I started to wonder if I'd eaten them before and then reasoned I couldn't have as I'm still alive. Oh NO!! Hubby had taken some plums to work with his lunch, he NEVER looks at his food, he'd eat a sock if I put it in his lunchbox. His eyes are on his computer as his hand goes into the lunchbox. Oh well,
I washed the plums at least they'll be clean caterpillars. Urgent e.mails and phone calls,
he rang back - he'd eaten the plums - hadn't noticed anything. Phew!
The freezer has plum coulis and plum compote in it and the next lot of plums will make some chutney when they ripen. It's early to be picking plums but they just seem to fall off when touched. Like unwelcome uninvited guests they invaded my kitchen, and I was totally unprepared, which is why they are frozen and not jammed. My next foray out I'll buy some jars to put the chutney in.
I'm cooking slow roast boned leg of lamb for tonight, with new jersey royal potatoes and broccoli, with ice cream and home made strawberry sauce for dessert. Yesterday I made a loaf and some shortbread biscuits, I love cooking, but there's never enough time to do as much as I want. Just as well, because resisting fresh bread is almost impossible.
I did say almost.