The 2012 calendar turns out to be quite an animalistic affair. I'm always baffled by how long I can go absolutely clueless as to what I'm going to illustrate for next year's calendar, and then, all of a sudden, ideas just suddenly materialize. Let's hope they'll continue to do so. It would be much less fun to wait until December 31st one year without any ideas magically showing up in my head.
There have been a couple of emails last week asking what plum jam recipe I use. I'm flattered you'd want to know.
So here it goes, Freund's best and illustrated plum jam:
3 kg of plums
500 g sugar (in Germany we get special jam-making sugar that has some kind of thickener in it, but I've used regular sugar to the same effect)
3 organic lemons (the original recipe calls for one, I like my jam a bit more lemon-y)
2 sticks of cinnamon
10 cloves (or less if you're not a clove-fan)
Wash and dry the plums. Cut them in half, take out the pit. Mix plums and sugar and let them sit and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will draw some juice.
Use some kind of mixer to puree the plums.
Now put the plum puree in an oven-proof container or pot, stir in the cinnamon and the cloves, the lemon zest and the lemon juice you got out of however many lemons you chose to use. Put the mixture in your oven and let it cook and thicken for about two hours. I put my oven on 200°C and it takes about 2 hours. But do check your mixture, stirring it every once in a while so the top layer doesn't burn.
When the jam is thick enough to please you, take out the lemon peel and the cinnamon sticks. If you can find them, pluck out the cloves. I leave them in because I have no patience and the cooking makes them soft and non-threatening to teeth anyway. Now transfer your jam into washed and sterilized (I rinse them with boiling water) jars, turn upside down and let them cool. Turn right side up and label with those great jam labels some illustrator came up with a week or so ago. I forgot her name...
This recipe sounds a bit improvised, doesn't it? That's mostly because I usually take some kind of recipe, stick with it for about three minutes (cutting the plums and taking out the pits takes longer than that) and then I go ahead and wing it. But this is the recipe that works best for me.