Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Another photo, another tale

This month's bounty.  Purple damson plums, grapes from our neighbour's vineyard and homemade sourdough bread.

I make the sourdough in the lidded clay pot and then use the container as a bread bin.  It checks the invasion of pesky  ants.  The sourdough starter is some I acquired from the rustic Paradise taverna near us.  The old matriarch, Theadora, is a cousin (several times removed) and was glad to give me a small bowl of starter a few years ago. She used to make 20 or more huge loaves a week for the taverna, kneading it all by hand.  Imagine kneading 40 kilos of flour!

 My last two  starters lasted a few years but didn't make it through some very hot summers even though I always keep them in the fridge.  This one is very active and with the use of a local bread flour we buy by the 25 kilo sack makes excellent bread.  Bread baked in a covered container always comes out softer with a nice chewey crust which is not tough.  Bake 30 minutes with the pot covered, then take off the lid and cook about another half hour till the top is nice and brown.  I hardly knead the bread.  I mix it really well and fold it over 10-14 times punching the dough out to the sides and folding up again. Don't ask me why that number.  It is just enough to get a nice smooth ball.

Bulk flour

The plums are a dark purple on the outside and yellow inside.  Last year I made a hot spicy plum sauce with them which was a great success.  I'll probably do the same with these.  Most of the family will only eat strawberry jam so making jam with plums is just not worth it.  No-one wants it even as a giveaway.  Our neighbour makes plum preserves.  She boils the whole plum (minus the stone) in a sugar syrup.  The locals love this traditional sweet.  When you visit her house you will for sure be offered a small dish with a couple of plum preserves and a glass of cold water.

The grapes are from the same neighbour's vineyard and destined to be turned into wine.  There must have been 3 or 4 kilos of grapes, which again, no-one wanted.  The skins were tough, they weren't sweet and they were full of pips.  What a waste.  I would have made grape preserves from them but the pips ruled that out.  I juiced a kilo maybe but even the juice was not pleasant and the taste of the grapes over-rode the taste of any other fruit I put in.  So, into the compost with them. These grapes do get sweeter and make a nice rough white.

One year I juiced some of our own grapes and put the juice in a plastic bottle with a loose cap.  The juice fermented and I suppose you could have called it wine.  It wasn't something I would try again.  Wine is only fermented wine juice whether you tread the grapes with bare feet or juice it by machine, put it in a barrel or a plastic 'pop' bottle. It's variety of grape, sugar content, local conditions that makes it into a memorable libation plus some know-how and lots of tasting.....especially the latter.

K's family home where our daughter now lives.  Beautiful blue door and windows, rubbish hanging up ready to be collected and the colourful bougainvillia trained across the lane.  

Quote of the day: 
 Don't get your knickers in a knot.  Nothing gets solved and it only makes you walk funny.
- Kathryn Carpenter


  1. Your sourdough loaf looks oh, so good! Hot spicy plum sauce sounds rather good. Does it keep or do you have to use it up fairly quickly?

    1. This year I made plum sauce from a river cafe recipe. I sterilised the jars, 1/2 hr in a 120o oven so it should keep well. Really easy and oh so delicious sauce.