The garden is constantly changing and last months green fruit is now fully ripe. I picked the Victoria's in the garden and Himself went down into the field to gather these smaller plums.
Although my fingers survived the knife skills course intact they are now roughened from stoning so many plums.
But the results are satisfying - baked and stewed fruit in the freezer, jam and chutney in the store.
Now I know just how the squirrels feel when they have carried off and buried all my walnuts. (Not that it's happened yet, but just wait 'til next month when the nuts are ripe!)
3lbs small, dark plums
3 large onions
1lb cooking apples
1lb seedless raisins
1lb soft dark brown sugar
1lb demerara sugar
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 pints malt vinegar
in a gauze bag : 2 cinnamon sticks
1oz allspice berries
handful whole cloves.
Stone the plums, mince peeled apples and onions. Crush the garlic and place all in preserving pan together with the ginger, raisins, sugar and vinegar. Sprinkle in salt and stir well. Put in spice bag and bring everything to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every now and then. When it has thickened it is ready.
Pour into jars while warm and cover with waxed paper. Leave to mature for several months before using.
I have two small pear trees, varieties unknown. They crop at different times and the fruit from the first tree is now ripe.
The pears look beautiful but they are not very tasty to eat unless cooked. Once peeled and quartered, sprinkled with a bit of demerara sugar and baked in the oven, they are delicious.
My favourite pear recipe is chocolate pear tart.
Chocolate Pear Tart.
make a pastry of
2oz cocoa powder
1 beaten egg.
Place in a 20cm tart tin and cover the pastry base with marmalade.
Peel,core and quarter pears and place, cut side down on the marmalade.
2 eggs, separated. Beat egg whites until stiff.
3oz sugar, beaten with egg yolks until pale and light.
3oz bitter chocolate
2oz margarine melted together.
Add the chocolate to the egg mixture and fold in egg whites. Pour around the pears.
Bake gas 4 (180c) for about 30 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar, it will melt on the moist pears and stay on the filling.
Good with cream or vanilla ice-cream.