FIRST VISIT? CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THE POST FOR THE FULL SCREEN VERSION.
And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they
Find this grand liquor that hath gilded ’em?
How camest thou in this pickle?
I have been in such a pickle since I
saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of
my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.
Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1
1. The Produce – Foodwise
At the market on Sunday, the cherries were selling for 6 € per kilo, so I figured this was not the year we would be eating any. But yesterday, one of our wealthier neighbors invited us out to her country estate. The cherry trees were overladen, the woman said, please come and help yourselves. So we did.
The next step will be processing the bounty today. The riper cherries will make jam. With the others, I’ll make a Persian sour-cherry pickle. Will add the finished products here later on.
The Produce – Story Material
There was a peculiar feeling about the estate and its inhabitants.
In a dream last night, the woman who lives here was a Jeckyll and Hyde character named Mary Etteridge. In real life, the owner of this house is one of the representatives of the old, established families of the area – she is cultured, opinionated and probably unforgiving, if crossed. Interesting but not an easy relationship to handle. Rich in story material, though – she was one of the first women air pilots in the Département.
The tree in the foreground of the last photo is a huge linden tree. We’ve been invited back to pick the flowers for tea.
2. The Process – Whether the finished product is jam or pickle, the first step is the same. I have a nifty dual-purpose cherry pitter and garlic crusher for this part of the job.
For the pickles: I used about five hundred grams of the cherries. Mixed them with one clove of crushed garlic, one large green onion, a handful of coriander, another of mint, a sprinkling of salt and dried ginger, sugar and a good splash of garlic-flavored wine vinegar. (Quantities, as in one-eighth of a teaspoon, and so on? No idea. I’ve been making this for years and judge by taste – I prefer this pickle quite tart, someone else might like it sweeter. You taste and adjust as you go along.)
Cook down the mixture till it’s wanting to stick to the pan. Ladle it into sterile jars.
For the jam: I weighed the remaining cherries and added the same weight in sugar. (I use a product sold here under the brand name of Gelsuc – it already contains the appropriate amount of fruit pectin for jam.) Cooked them down until the juice clung to the spoon instead of sliding off (timing depends a lot on weather conditions so, again, it’s a question of observation rather than specific rules.) Ladled into sterile jars.
3. The Product
Et voici for the pickles (more like a relish, actually, but let’s not get into semantics for the time being).
Et voilà for the jam:
And the product, storywise? I still have no idea what to make of the Mary Etteridge character who showed up in my dreams. Clearly a deeply conflicted woman but where does the red rocket fit in? And her 94 year-old mother who could not be disturbed? What about the huge coffee urn in the converted garage with the gorgeous ceiling? In the dream, the house is set on a riverside road, somewhere in an imaginary French village I also dreamt about years ago. À suivre – at least, in my own mind.
P.S. If anyone has followed this blog from its previous location, I would appreciate your comments about this new layout – do you find it better, worse, or just different?