It’s Hogmanay, and no doubt later on I’ll be making something delish to toast the old year out and the new year in. But as yet I’m not decided what I’ll cook up. Something featuring meat from our awesome butcher I imagine.
But for the moment, it seems right to include some of the triumphs of 2010, so they’re not lost forever.
First up, Plumbrillo. We have a couple of damson trees on the edge of our garden. Well, slightly down our lane and next to the farmer’s field (which now has sheep in it again, which is a sign that there’ll be lambs again before we know it).
So, this year there was a bumper crop of damsons. And being only a part-time country girl, I needed to find things to do with damsons quickly, before I hot-footed it back to the city for the working week. Some inevitably went into a jar with brandy, some made apple and plum jam. Some made the liquor for plum jelly, but was abandoned in the fridge for too long before it was used to make jelly, so had to be chucked.
But the absolute favourite plummy condiment was Plumbrillo, a membrillo like concoction to have with cheese. It’s easy to make, and I’m not sure I ever want to live without a jar of this stuff in my cupboard – it also makes perfect Christmas gifts, with or without a chunk of cheese.
The recipe is originally from BBC Good Food magazine, October 2008. The magazine was a present from Aunt Joyce, in a bundle of cooking and gardening mags she had finished. I must ask if she ever made the Plumbrillo.
Makes about 7 x 100ml pots.
2kg / 4lb 8oz black or red plums (or damsons)
1kg bag jam sugar (with added pectin)
- Stone and quarter the plums (if you can, I found it really tiresome to do this, so ended up leaving half of them with stones in). Put into a preserving pan and add 500ml cold water. Bring to boil.
- Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until completely cooked down, pulpy and dark, dark reddish plummy purple.
- Sieve the fruit and juice through a nylon sieve back into the pan – make sure you get every bit of the pulp out of the mix that you can, this is what makes the plumbrillo.
- Stir in the sugar, then stir over a low heat until dissolved. Now turn up the heat and bubble for about 25 mins or until you have a thick, dark and fruity puree. Keep stirring so that the bottom doesn’t catch. It’s ready when the spoon leaves a trail along the bottom of the pan for a split second before the paste floods back into the gap.
- Pot the mix into small jars (use a funnel so you make minimal mess), seal, then leave to set.
Will keep for up to 6 months. My guess is that it might keep a year, otherwise what will I do without it during those summer picnicking months?
I’ll put up my Beetroot and Goats Cheese Tart later. And perhaps even my Chicken Lasagne. But for now, it’s back to the home furnishings – curtains and cushion covers to make before the year is out.