Kumquats, Pears, Lemons, and Fools of Jam

IMG_0722 This is a rare three-day weekend. Yesterday I played all day, waking up early to ride the Metro Seattle bus my partner drives every weekday morning. I'd never seen her at work in this capacity of city bus driver. I love seeing how people work and remembering all the realms we live in as human beings from the domestic to professional and the qualities these realms bring out in us. After the bus ride, I spent the next couple hours reading Vanity Fair and drinking tea in Pioneer Square waiting for Bar Sajor to open, but it turns out they are not yet open for lunch. The wind whips through downtown Seattle giving the neighborhood its own unique weather patterns. The gusts sent me home for lunch, but later when the sun started to show around tall, voluminous clouds, I walked down to South Lake Union for 50 cent oysters at Flying Fish. And finally, that grilled chicken I craved from Bar Sajor happened in Wallingford at a friends house where a group of Irish visitors gathered around lots of boiled potatoes, salad, chicken from the grill, and salmon.

After all that play yesterday I easily settled into marmalade preparations this morning. I sliced and picked out seeds and watched over pots of simmering fruit.

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I'm working on two rounds of Lemon Pear Marmalade and a Kumquat Meyer Lemon Marmalade, which is a Kumquat jelly with slices of Meyer Lemon.

I make winter fruit subscription deliveries this week and though I have boxes and boxes of jam jars ready to go, I always feel a little more prepared when there are also preserves working on the kitchen counter and stove. I'm sitting at a shop three blocks from home with an evening coffee, but back in my apartment kitchen kumquat halves slowly seep flavor into water, juice collects in bowls set under colanders that contain spent, cooked-out pear eighths that simmered for three hours.

To accompany my coffee I brought along Nigel Slater's Ripe. I've mentioned this book on here before. It is an ultimate tome for thinking about fruit in the kitchen, in the pantry, and in the entire context of a meal. I cannot recommend this book enough and to do so I want to start pointing at some of his fruit cookery ideas. I'll start with something really simple. Fool. It's cream, sugar, fruit, a small serving vessel, and a slight chill.

Slater doesn't specifically give a recipe for making a fool with jam, but he points at the concept with " A Damson fool ", page 225. For 4 people, he cooks 1 pound damson plums with 5 Tablespoons sugar. He food mills this. He whips cream (1.25 cups) til it barely holds its shape and to it he adds the fruit and sugar mixture. It's chilled in small cups and eaten several hours later. I have never measured my proportion of cream to fruit. At home, I just whip some cream and add jam to taste, but I knew someone out there would have more helpful information. And here it is. She works with Strawberry Jam. What jam do you have around?