Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lost my cooking mojo...

Do you ever go through periods when cooking just isn’t quite doing it for you?

It's September 12th and I've only made one post so far this month – I seem to be in a sort of slump at the moment; I’m quite happy to potter around in the kitchen making jam and chutney but I just can’t be faffed with cooking proper everyday food if you know what I mean. Quite honestly I’d be happy living on porridge, soup and sandwiches at the moment…

I have a list of things as long as your arm that I keep meaning to try – most of them are main meals and some will need adapting  in order to vegetarianise them – but I just can’t be bothered. Maybe nearly 40 years of turning out three meals a day is catching up with me, maybe I’m getting old or maybe I need to challenge myself a bit more…who knows?

Anyway, fact is, I’ll be really glad when this pall of kitchen inertia lifts. I think I’ll make my Christmas mincemeat at the weekend – some early Christmas cooking might buck me up a bit and the mincemeat will taste all the better for having a couple of months to mature. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Plum Jam

I said I’d report back about the jam I made last week; I'm pleased to say we loved it…it’s very plummy if you know what I mean, i.e. it doesn’t just taste of ‘jam’ it tastes of fruit, so I think I’ll make another few jars to add to the stock of preserves already in the pantry. If we have a bad winter this year, with the snow up to the window-ledges, we’ll survive very happily on home-made bread and jam. Lovely….

We went out in the garden this afternoon and picked all the remaining fruit from our little tree; I thought we ought to get it in quickly before the birds and the wasps start to feast on it. It has yielded the magnificent sum of 6.5 kilos of fruit….and that’s a hell of a lot of plums, let me tell you! I can foresee a few busy afternoons making compote, jam and chutneys – I just hope I have enough jars!

1 kilo Victoria plums
600g preserving sugar (the one with added pectin)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Halve and stone the plums and layer in a large bowl with the sugar; sprinkle over the vanilla extract then cover tightly with clingfilm and leave overnight. Next day scoop all the fruit and sugar, which by now will be almost liquid, into a wide deep pan; bring slowly to the boil to dissolve any remaining sugar and allow to boil steadily until setting point is reached. Mine was just about right after 20 minutes and wrinkled nicely when I did the cold plate test.

Pot up into hot sterilised jars and label when cold.

Made three 12oz jars and half a large ramekin (which we ate on toast – well, we had to try it, didn’t we?)