Tuesday, September 11, 2012

pretty pink plums!

My Victoria plum tree--only about three feet tall--made lots of plums this year. A few went to waste before I got around to picking them but I still had 1.9kg, enough to make lots of jam. The jam I made was so tasty that I think it will be my default Victoria jam from now on.

I halved and pitted the 1900g plums and added them to my jam pan with 1600g sugar, 300ml orange juice, and one big cinnamon (not cassia) stick. I brought it all to the boil, them simmered till the plums were soft. Let it rest for a few hours, then brought back to a hard boil and cooked, stirring very frequently, for about ten minutes at which point it had turned to jam. I stirred in 130g chopped walnuts, then put it in jars (11 half pints!) and boiling-water-bathed it for five minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What I did in August

My new computer was in Texas getting a fresh motherboard for much of August, so I didn't do much blogging. I did lots of interesting things, though, and took pictures as I went so that I would eventually be able to tell all about it.

Marigold Hanele

I bonded with my new kitty, Marigold Hanele. She's nothing like my darling Maria, but she's a sweet, good girl. She likes to cuddle me violently throughout the night, then play all day long. When I'm not playing with her, she works on little projects, like figuring out how to get a high-up cupboard door open so she can see what's inside and throw it on the floor. A grown cat--she'll be three in November--she's much livelier than Maria ever was. She especially loves to help me sew: the only time she likes to sit in my lap is when I've got a needle and thread.

Speaking of sewing, I made a couple of dresses. The first one was a McCall's 'Pounds Thinner' pattern from 1972, and I look kind of frumpy in it. Rachael says it's because I don't need slimming dresses, and says I should make myself a nice A-line dress instead. The second was a McCall's 'One-hour' dress, but it took me much longer than an hour to sew it. It's made out of leopard-and-floral print rayon, which I found very hard to cut and sew in a straight line. It turned out well in the end though, and as you can see it looks nice on Rachael!

I made lots and lots of jam and pickles! My damson tree had more damsons on it than ever before--9 ounces--so I made a tiny batch of damson apple jam. The Warner plum tree made many, many plums, and I made twelve jars of lemon-plum and lemon-vanilla-plum jam. And another twelve jars of pickled Warner string beans. I also made this saffron-peach jam. I didn't make it exactly as written, and as it was such a success I want to note down here what I did so I can replicate it in the future (isn't it a pretty color?): for five pounds of nectarines (they're better than peaches for jam as you don't have to peel them) I used 1 3/4C sugar, juice of a giant lemon, and only 6g saffron (and that was plenty). I ended up with 7 1/2 jars.

Finally, I made David Lebovitz's pineapple coconut macaroons. My pineapple came in a different size of can than his did, and I veganized them, so I had to change the recipe a little. These are the ingredients I used: 16oz canned, crushed pineapple, 160g sugar, 200g desiccated coconut, 6T flax gloop (in place of the egg whites), and 1/2t vanilla. I followed his method exactly. He's right that these are at their very best on the day you make them, because of their delightful crunchy crusts, but they taste just as nice for the next couple of days.