Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Lots of things. In the last couple of weeks I feel like I've worked my way through at least half of the brilliant 'Salt, Sugar, Smoke' and very helpful I've found it. I've made Purple Fig and Pomegranate jam, Rowan Jelly (though that was from a River Cottage recipe), Cherries in eau-de-vie, Prunes in Armagnac, sweet fig vinegar, and Greengage and Gewurztraminer jam. As I haven't burnt myself it's a harmless pursuit that leaves me feeling better about the world in general, and as I have plans for a lot more preserving (next week I may try making chutney for the first time) I've finally bought a proper maslin pan. For years I've made do with a generously proportioned old cast iron casserole pan that was often (especially at marmalade time) not quite generous enough size wise and weighed approximately half a ton when full of boiling sugary liquid. Now I have a deeper, lighter, altogether more practical stainless steel affair which meant that tonight, for the first time, I managed to make jam without getting it everywhere (joy of joys, none in my hair). This is more than enough of a bonus to off set the trifling inconvenience which is having nowhere to store another pan (it's living under my bed along with several pots of jam, a couple of litres of last years damson gin, plenty of dust, and whatever other items have failed to find a home elsewhere) mostly I am wondering why it took me so long to buy one.
There is nothing quite like having the right tool for the job, however much I might like to think of myself as a natural improviser, generally speaking I am not. I'm more of a natural appreciator of good design and a relatively easy life. I'm also an appreciator of jam and am very much looking forward to making more of it now. (Possibly plum, orange, and cardamom next.)