Away again?? Yes I know I just returned from Girona and the Costa Brava in Spain, were my husband Ludger and I launched our new travel blog www.personaltravel.biz . This new blog aims to combine travel ideas for above and below water. A way to share our travels adventures past, present and future and to suggest ways to combine scuba diving and snorkeling with vacation home rental and local attractions on land. Please come have a look and let us know what you think. Some texts are in English and some are in German, just like our little family.
So after the conference and a last beautiful swim at Tossa da Mar in the clear blue warmth of the Mediterranean Ocean, we returned to chilly, rainy Frankfurt late Sunday night.
Fall had definitely arrived while we were gone: rain and windy storms, falling branches and leaves. At the markets the stalls are filled with pumpkins, apples, quince, pears and plums. Damson plums are the most common here in Germany at this time of year, colored a pretty dark-bruised purple, their oval form a pleasure to the eye and the hand. There are different varieties depending on whether you want to simply eat them, bake with them or make jam.
I originally wanted to bake with mine but ended up making a delicious 5-spice sauce to eat with pork loin medallions dipped in fig mustard and flour before frying and I therefore used half of the 2 kilos I had bought. My son ate a further 1/3 of a kilo so that I had 16 plums left to make jam with.
Hmmm I thought and looked around my kitchen and in my fridge to see what else “needed to go”.
I decided to add some gin and dark chocolate, some ground Sumac, a pinch of chili and a teeny-tiny knifepoint of cinnamon, making it up and adding as I went along.
The taste is rich, spicy and fruity, all at the same time. Your taste buds hopping from “it’s a chocolate spread” to “no, it’s jam” and then on to “wow it’s both, ooouuu and spicy too!”.
Good on bread, brioche, croissant, with roasted wild boar or simply licked off the spoon, this recipe only makes 2 jars of jam but I know you’ll want to double it to make more, so why not just do it right from the start!!
Warning this jam is brown – not very pretty – you can add some red food coloring to give it a more red tinge but it will basically remain brown. But the taste definitely makes up for the ugly duckling exterior.
So now I hope this racy jam will tide you over until my return from Food Blogger Connect 2012 in London – or maybe I will see you there!
P.S. If you can’t get greengages use 6 more plums.
Spicy Plum and Dark Chocolate Jam recipe follows
Spicy Plum and Dark Chocolate Jam
- 16 Damson plums
- 6 greengages or 6 other sweet and juicy plums
- 2 apples – they may be wrinkled
- 1 TBSP of Dutch jenever or gin
- 50 grams of very dark chocolate
- 250 grams of 3:1 jamming sugar
- 2 TBSP of agave syrup or sugar equivalent
- 1 pinch of chili
- 1 tsp of ground Sumac – found in Oriental spice shops
- 1 knifepoint of cinnamon
Putting it all together:
Wash all the fruit. De-core the apples and cut them into bite-size pieces, throw into a large pot, cut the plums in half, remove and discard the stones, do this over the pot to catch the juices, add the plums to the pot as you go along. Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces and add it with the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
Stir well and let sit 10 minutes.
Now turn on the stove to medium-high and bring everything to a boil stirring constantly so as not to burn the chocolate, lower the heat if necessary. It will melt into the fruit and turn everything a rich brown. Let the mixture boil (not to strongly or it will spit) while stirring for 3 minutes, then lower to a simmer. Cover and slowly simmer for a further 8-10 minutes stirring frequently. Turn off the heat.
In the meantime sterilize your jars and lids in a large pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat and let them stand in the water until ready to use.
Now place a vegetable mill with the finest sieved bottom plate available over another medium-large clean pot and carefully ladle the hot jam into to it. Crank the jam through the sieve, scraping it down from the outside into the pot once so as to unblock the holes and crank backwards occasionally to catch all the fruit collected on the sides. In the end you will only have plums skins left in the vegetable mill, these can be discarded.
Stir the jam well and reheat slowly without boiling. Remove the jars and lids from the water and place them upside down on a dishtowel to drain. Use potholders and watch out for the water, which can scorch your hands and fingers.
When the jam is hot, turn the jar right side up and fill it to right up to the top, using a jar funnel to make less spills. Screw on the lid immediately and turn the jar upside down onto its lid and leave it to cool as such. This will seal the jars.
When they are completely cooled turn the jam jars over.
If you don’t eat it all at once, jam should be store in a dry, dark and cool place such as your pantry or food storage cellar.
To read about other jam recipes I have created, enter jam into the search box at the top of the home page!