Monday, 26 September 2011


I largely thank plums for keeping me sane in the first month. Although we're in a farmhouse surrounded by rolling fields we're hardly living off the land. We've yet to befriend the local free-range-egg sellers and there's not much milking going on. There is, however, a 25-year-old plum tree positively drooping with fruit.

So I sit by the Aga with my old friends, Nigel and Nigella, thumbing through their recipe books. It's very satisfying turning free produce into something delicious, even if you have to go through the mind-numbing process of stoning kilos of fruit.

Stewed plums, plum chutney, plum pudding, plum crumble, roasted plum sorbet and - leaving the most obvious but trickiest to last - plum jam. I feel I'm now properly initiated into farmhouse cooking. Thank goodness there isn't an apple tree nearby.

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