After a day of septic tank construction there’s nothing better than fixing up a batch of jam. I’m part Lara Croft and part Betty Draper.
We have been showered with plums lately.
The first ones came from of our hard working woofer Samuel. They were blood plums and I just scoffed them straight up. Fabulous with yoghurt and a bit of muesli for breakfast.
Next a small bag of the same type arrived on the doorstep so I made those into jam, and very nice it is. My jam recipe is like this: I don’t bother removing the stones (who has the time?). Wash them, chuck them in with half (or less) the quantity of fruit of white sugar, one finely chopped apple and a third of a cup of water. Let it rage on boiling point and then cool slightly so you don’t need a trip to hospital after mashing them with a potato masher. Cool some more then pour into sterilised jars. To sterilise them I boil the kettle and fill them all up and then dry them in a low oven.
Again, not only good on toast but mixed with yoghurt for dessert or breakfast and I even get into the Portuguese thing of fresh cheese and jam as a snack.
Then the neighbours brought a massive bag of yellow plums around. A whole shopping bag bursting at the seams, about 5 kilos. Drastic action had to taken.
I can’t seem to find Hoi Sin Sauce in the country. It’s a very handy chinese plum sauce – its primary function being to make pork less boring.
Hoi Sin (sort of… I made this up.)
Wash plums and stick them in a pan along with:
a motherload of garlic
half cup white wine vinegar (or rice wine vinegar if you are not in Cú de Judas)
few good splashes of soy
finely chopped red chilli as you like
half cup sugar – you could use a golden or white
As with jam, boil it up relentlessly (20 minutes say) and then mash with potato masher. Then I strain the mush through a colander and into a sauce bottle. By this stage it might be cool enough to taste. Think to yourself HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET as you taste it and if you think you can taste all four (and still it tastes like plums) then you’ve got it right. Keep in mind that it can be very strong, but because you use it as a marinade the flavour will be diluted somewhat.
Slap it on any type of pork cut before baking, grilling, BBQing. My mother grilled entremeadas this way in the days before cholesterol, delicious!
So that sorted out a bag or so, and if wasn’t so busy I could actually see some friends and share my jam/sauce/overflowing fridge abundance. The obvious thing of course is to give the stuff back in sauce form to the people who gave us the plums, but I did that already with the jam and the dear neighbour said “I don’t eat sweet stuff”… and now I’m a bit shy on foisting any more wacky foreign jars her way. She appreciated the lettuce, though.
But then another bag of plums arrives. These ones are green – unripe yellows. This time I turn to my one and only cookbook, Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. It was a mighty tough choice picking just one cookbook to take to Portugal, them books being so heavy `n all… but Stephanie Alexander’s bible is like a desert island item. It’s the only cookbook you need. So go off to amazon or dymocks or wherever and buy it now (this should cover the following copyright issue).
Directly from page 551:
And would you believe, there’s still another bag of plums in the fridge…