19 September 2010

Nils' Ye Olde Bread Blogge & my sticky jam pot

Wow!  I've been published in Germany.

Nils is a terrific bread maker, who invents and works that sourdough process, for the benefit of people like me, who get to try his recipes.

He's brought out an e-book of his bread recipes.  Aren't we the lucky ones, just one click, and all his hard work is downloaded onto our computers.

Well I woke up this morning, with blurred vision and coffee deprivation, to find my pot of damson jam featuring on Nils excellent bread blog  ye olde bread blogge  

(photograph by Nils Schöner)
The inverse cook http://theinversecook.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/a-parcel-from-england/

Thank goodness it survived the dreaded snatch and grab, dropsy antics of the Royal Mail.  I was a little worried at it's chances.

Is it my imagination, or is our post getting quicker.  This package took 5 or 6 days.
And my last to the States took just 4 days.
In my time in Spain, the post used to take weeks, or a couple of months even.

7 September 2010

wholemeal and ale soda bread


these are tangy, light and crumbly whilst holding their shape
aromatic, oaty to taste and easy to make

Dan's ingredients list 

wholemeal flour, rye flour, oatmeal, dark sugar, baking soda (should be bicarb), butter, (Hogs Back Brewery T.E.A.) ale, yoghurt

rub in the dry ingredients with the butter

whisk the ale and yoghurt together
add to the other ingredients, and turn together with a palette knife
fashion into a cake shape on baking parchment

flour the top generously
and indent into 4 wedges

bake at 200 for 35mins and cool on a wire rack

serve with butter and damson plum jam

grilly grow bag groceries - orchard pickle, chutney & jam


aren't my labels wobbly. 

Cheap printer you see

pseudo hoisin/ damson plum, fragrant oriental sauce

1 kilo whole damson, washed
100g rice wine vinegar
200g cider vinegar
200mil water

220mil dark soy sauce
150g muscovado sugar
100mil sherry/ mirin or Chinese Shaosing wine

1 large orange, quartered, skin on
3 - 5 plump garlic cloves  (I used 5)
1 thick teasp tamarind paste
2 star anise
fresh ginger root, sliced but not peeled
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick, snapped


mix the damson with the vinegars and water, and simmer for 20 mins
add the remaining ingredients one at a time
bubble down gently, stirring regularly, for about one hour till you have a thick dark sauce and the damson are dissolved completely

when you are happy with your soy to sugar balance, strain through a metal sieve and bottle.

damson jam

3 kilo damson fruit
2.4 kilo jam sugar
1 orange
1 apple
800mil water

jam method

pour above ingredients into your jam or steel pan
gently simmer, whilst stirring, for 45mins - 1 hour till reduced by a third to a thickened, clear and shiny texture
strain through a steel sieve, and return your fruit mix to the heat, boiling rapidly
watch for it producing glass-blower bubbles on the surface, and measure the temperature to 103deg - 104

maintain the temp for 5 mins

check your set on a cold saucer (this is the plum jam)

and bottle

pure plum jam

1 kilo whole plums
890g jam sugar ( no special maths, I'd opened the bag already)
300mil water

No attempt at pectin generating, as I didn't want the apple hint (or lemon if I'd used citrus).

simmered all ingredients gently for 30mins
sieve and extracted the pulp
put back in the clean pan and boil for 5 mins at 103deg - 104 using a thermometer
test the set on a cold saucer
and bottle

pseudo "Branston" damson & apple-chunk chutney, smooth 

2.5 kilo damson, whole
sliced fresh ginger, skin on
1 kilo muscovado sugar
300mil cider vinegar
2 teasp thick tamarind paste dissolved in 150mil water 
1/2 teasp cayenne powder
1 teasp salt
1/4 teasp allspice powder
1 snapped cinnamon stick

1 apple sliced into small, slender pieces


place all the ingredients, save your apple, in your stainless steel pot
simmer for 1hr - 1hr30, till reduced and dark
strain in a steel sieve
add your apple and heat through for 5 mins, keeping the slivers whole
& bottle

Cotswold spiced pickled, sweet & sour syrup, plums

1 kilo whole plums
300mil or so of cider vinegar
sugar to balance (I put approx 250g)
ginger root
sliced rind 1 lemon
a snapped cinnamon
2 cloves
1/2 star anise

Add a little more sugar if you prefer it less tart.

simmer the ingredients for 20 - 30 mins till the plums are tender.
lift out the plums and put into warm clean jars
boil your sauce for 5 mins
strain through a steel sieve
and pour the juice over your plums
seal your jars tightly

damson gin


1 kilo damson, cleaned pricked
2 x 75cl bottle gin
300g sugar 

Mix and bottle. 
As with sloe gin, gently tip the bottle each day for a week
then once a month
store in a dark place for 3 - 6 months


5 September 2010

orchard scrumping in a Cotswold village near Tewkesbury

How often is it that you are told your friend has an orchard, laden with fruit?
Not often in my case.

Sarah, an artist friend with her own studio in that orchard of hers, offered me a "pick your own" time whilst she was away for a week.

So Tony and I cycle out there first.  It was a sunny day, and we fancied the exercise, stopping half way at the Shell garage for a refreshing cider lolly.
& we return the next day with firm boxes to protect the bounty we are about to pick,
armed with a small, 2 step foot ladder to reach the lower branches.

I had to stop Tony on the damson tree, it was looking greedily decimated.

we've got apples



and 7 kilos of damson

so I've been making, pickled plums, plum jam, apple pies, damson jam, damson gin, damson pickle & damson gin 
coupled with oriental style hoisin/plum sauce using damson today.

Once I've finished, I'll post the processes I've used for you.