And so as the day goes on …. this morning Robert peeled the onions for pickling. It’s a rotten job, don’t know why he likes (or maybe it’s just tolerates) it. He set himself up as usual outside with a bit of a breeze carrying away the worst of the fumes.
I actually took note today that 10 kilos of pickling onions, once peeled, weigh approximately 6.5kg. I bought the onions at A-One Fruit Market – only 3 had to be discarded in the entire bag, which is very low level of wastage I think.
Poppy decided that the onion fumes were not for her delicate nose, so she sat at the top of the steps watching, while Tom sunned himself, sniffing the breeze – looks like he’s wondering what that peculiar aroma is.
Next of course,is the salting down in brine for the next 24 hours. Then the annual debate begins between Robert and I as to which spices should be included in the vinegar mixture. It’s all worth it in the end, though for the sake of peace we usually end up with two different versions.
Then it was time to make a batch of crabapple cheese in the microwave. It’s a bit of a variation on the quince cheese timings in “A Year on the Farm” in that I’d already cooked up the crabapples on the stovetop.
I’d lost concentration making a batch of blood plum jam yesterday, so had decided to use it instead as plum paste.
However, it was in jam jars, 250ml ones, so we were unlikely to use more than a morsel at a time and the rest would just sit in the jar, maybe even get thrown out in the end.
So … scraped the paste into the same dish I’d done the crab-apple cheese in, and re-cooked it for a few minutes in the microwave to give a firmer texture. Bit of an experiment really, but seems to have worked just fine. I added some lemon juice too, to spark it up a bit.
If you ever want or need to do this, I decided it was ready when the bubbles in the mixture were quite large – about as big as a threepence, for those who remember them (it is, after all, the 50th anniversary of the introduction of decimal currency). Or for slightly younger ones – a one cent piece, otherwise – bubbles approximately 8mm diameter.
I love the look of the fruit cheeses in the trays as they cool and set, glistening and delicious, such intense flavour – the promise of a few tasty cheese platters to come during winter.
And of course if you have too much for that purpose, cut the cheese into tiny squares and roll in castor sugar – instant fruit pastilles, yum!!