Husband and I went foraging. To be fair, Husband was the one who clambered through briars, climbed a tree and clung perilously from ancient branches while I stood beneath issuing commands and artfully holding open a plastic bag.
We (he) found nearly 2 Kg of lovely ripe Damsons and more sloes than we could (or should, for the sake of our livers) use.
I made one bottle of Sloe Gin and one mixed Damson and Sloe Gin. They will take about 12 weeks to fully mature.
Happy Christmas to me!
Last year I made Damson Cheese. You can revisit that post here. Since I have only one opportunity each year to cook with Damsons I wanted to try something new so,for a change, I made Damson Jam. You can find the recipe and some jam-making advice from Darina here on Clodagh McKenna’s website. It’s a bit fiddly as you must skim the little Damson stones off the jam as it boils. It’s well worth the tedium, however, as this jam is so flavourful. The stones give it the sort of bitter tang you get from those bitter Italian aperatifs. It makes the insides of your cheeks tingle. Even the more savoury-toothed family members have gone wild for it. I’ve had it on buttered toast, with ham and, best of all, with a wedge of Cashel Blue.
If you can’t get Damsons you might try making jam with some other sour plums and leaving the stones in until the end.
I substituted my damson jam for the raspberry jam in Rachel Allen’s Coconut Pudding. You can watch her making it,in the company of Paul Hollywood, here. It’s hard to beat the smell of coconut and butter combined in the oven!
In other news:
I found these old-school heroes for a euro each at a charity book stall. They are both wonderful, loaded with lard and butter and offal and booze and general disregard for health and contempt for political correctness. Brilliant.
Middle Girl and I went to the library together yesterday and found some easy-reading treats. Bernadette is a hoot, I love her!
Finally, a photo to demonstrate the difference between the way men and women think. Husband and I were browsing at a stall selling garlic for planting (West Cork Garlic, here). I asked the seller’s advice, specified that I was looking for the best flavour and wanted to have scapes for pesto (and the lovely look of them!). I chose the purple garlic (I know, it doesn’t look very purple!) on the right hand side.
Husband went for the elephant garlic shown on the left.
Ahem. Predictable, huh?