Simon’s parents have the most heavily laden plum tree I have ever seen in their garden, bursting with beautiful pinky-purplish fruit that are mouth-wateringly sweet and delicious. I collected masses in my new willow woven trug, bought at the Countess of Warwick country show. I also got a lovely bead necklace, some books, had an excellent cheeseburger and a glass of pimms, if you’re interested. It was an excellent bank holiday activity.
With my massive haul of plums I decided to make full use of another great cookbook, namely The National Trust ‘Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys’. Naturally it’s amazing, and has numerous plum offerings. I decide to go for the Spicy Plum and Lime Chutney and Trelissik Kea Plum Jam. I have renamed the latter as ‘Chitlands Plum Jam’ as the name comes from the location, and Simon’s parent’s house is called Chitlands.
The first thing to do was stone, chop and weigh the plums, this took some time as there were 9lbs of fruit… (check out my GORGEOUS scales! An ebay bargain)
Spicy Plum Chutney
This was a VERY involved recipe, I went to three different supermarkets to try to get allspice berries, only to realise I had to grind them anyway along with the peppercorns and cinnamon sticks but I comforted myself with the fact that a) I got to use my pestle and mortar and b) this is a chutney of love and totally hand laboured ingredients.
So after literally hours of crushing, grinding, grating, peeling, chopping and de-seeding I had a lovely pot full of stuff!
and then as if by magic, 2 hours later:
I know it doesn’t look very exciting, however, we can’t eat it (or even try it) for two sodding months so I have no idea if it’s any good, but if you’re lucky then maybe, just maybe you’ll be trying it with your Christmas ham.
Chitlands Plum Jam
This was slightly less involved than the chutney as obviously the flavour is all from the lovely plums, plums, plums, plums. Looks yummy doesn’t it?
The jam set very quickly as (apparently) plums have a very high level of pectin. The book, of course, gives extensive advice on determining the setting point, i personally favour the saucer-in-fridge method but once I have my own fruit trees I will certainly invest in a jam thermometer. Anyway it has set beautifully and was really good on my toast this weekend.
Incidentally I got this ace jar at a bric-a-brac shop in Essex, isn’t it pretty?