Hi All,

I thought I'd share my Brit in the Boonies blog posts with you on a weekly basis. I wrote them a couple of years ago when my hubby and I first started our small (just under 2 acre) lifestyle block in New Zealand, having emigrated from Scotland, UK. They have since been featured in local NZ press and the San Diego Reader in the USA.

Enjoy!

Helen Leggatt
on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand

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JAM

Apparently there is life after pasta. It’s called preserving. A quaint old rural pastime that I felt I must incorporate into my new regime, although I refuse to wear the apron, thanks mum, but since when have I worn anything remotely floral?

I decided upon a tried and tested Edmonds recipe for plum jam, from a book given to me by the immigration department on our arrival in NZ. Okay, that was a lie, but they should, it’s part of the survival kit.

First, hand pick 2kg of plums from a far flung corner of your lifestyle block. Be at least 90% sure they are plums, or ask a neighbour. Tip – shaking the tree violently results in a shower of bugs, not plums.

Wash plums, halve and stone them. Tip – try getting stoned and halving them, it’s way more fun.

Next, put plums in 1.5 cups of water and bring to the boil. Weigh out 7 cups of sugar and ring health insurance company to check you’re covered for dental work. Chuck sugar in pan and boil rapidly.

Smile contentedly and watch in amazement as the contents of the pan bubble and foam – religiously scrape off foam.

Smile nervously and watch in amazement as the pans contents bubble and foam, and double in size – religiously scrape off foam.

Scream, swear and panic as the contents of the pan rapidly quadruples in size and overflows onto brand new brushed-chrome designer hob and watch in amazement as it burns and smokes.

Jump out of skin as smoke detector bursts into life.

Scrape and chip off burnt sugar and jam from hob for approximately 2 hours before decanting remaining liquid in to a considerably larger pan.

Put on apron.

Cautiously bring liquid back to the boil.

After much longer than any recipe book suggests, the jam will reach setting point (a new term that you can now use with abandon) and you can now pour the jam into a set of designer jars, and seal.

After 3 – 4 months, throw away eight mouldy jars of jam, and revisit chapter on sterilising. Go to local supermarket and buy Pam’s plum jam.

Plan to make scones.

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Comment by Pete Russell on July 28, 2009 at 8:00pm
Love your blog Helen. If you're happy to include a less than 50kb image on the top line of your blogs, I'll be happy to feature them to the front page from time to time. When adding an image from your computer, the options menu allows you to create a thumbnail image. About 300 -400 pixels works best to bring it to the right size. Anyway, looking forward to seeing more blogs from you. Pete

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