Last night, I made jam.
The plums were a gift from (my mum's fridge) my sister, more in an effort to make room for mums weekly shop than in the spirit of giving, so I believe.
In my first month of being married I often rang my mother with questions like, "how long do I boil an egg for?", or, "what is in potato salad again?" There were some very basic questions that I had somehow missed the answers to in life. "Mum, what does moderate mean?!"
What I do know however, is jam.
Actually I know about preserving. Jam, bottled fruit, pasta sauce, even relish, they all make perfect sense to me. I can make jam.
(You'll hear a lot of this but...) In Tasmania (my recent trip) I stayed at my mother's sisters' house in the Lachlan valley. There is something quite significant about the Lachlan valley these days. It has always been beyond beautiful, but nowadays it also is home to a place I long to go. In fact this 'place', is a stones throw from my Aunt’s and I stood out the front of it once or twice staring longingly through the trees like a child in front of a ice-cream truck, hoping vainly that someone will come along and buy them an ice-cream.
I want an agrarian ice-cream.
This 'place' is called 'the Agrarian Kitchen'.
I googled them.
They have a class called 'the whole hog', which is scary because whilst standing there, gazing off into the "I wish", I noticed they have a pen full of hogs. I asked my Uncle why they had hogs, to which he explained to me the meaning of "Agrarian".
I used to be a vegetarian you know, briefly, but it still counts!
They also have a class on 'preserving'.
That will set you back $380(ish) for the day.
(BTW: if anyone wants to learn about preserving, I live in Perth WA, ill teach you for half that and still come away smiling)
That evening my Uncle Les gave me a reminder lesson with plums. He is a tad lazy I think and can't much be bothered leaving the jam on the stove to thicken. Therefore, he tells us he prefers it runny. "It's better that way. You know for cakes, yogurt or even ice-cream".
He is right.
He is also lazy.
I am also lazy.
I put the jam in a frypan thinking I could go one up on my Uncle and get thick jam, but still keep my Laziness in full tact.
What can I say? This blog entry is entitled 'Plum-toffee' for a reason.
Lesson learnt. Jam takes time and patience. I'll leave my short-cuts where they belong, with roux on high, and a whisk.