Redefining the Joy of Cooking – Seasonal Cooking {Part 1}

On Plums

For those who don’t know, the book titled The Joy of Cooking by Irma S Rombauer, was once upon a time the best-selling recipe book, until Julia Childs stripped her from her best-selling-author status with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We have decided to redefine both titles; The Joy of Seasonal Cooking, and/or Mastering the Art of Seasonal Cooking. Seasonal cooking is what we find to be our most favoured way of cooking; we cook whatever grows in the garden, or someone else’s for that matter. When in season, there is abundance, the flavour is at its best and the products are cheapest, if you do have to buy.

Two years ago, I planted a plum tree, vividly remembering a scene from The English Patient where Hanna had plucked plums growing wild in the abandoned church garden. This she excitedly fed the English Patient; he described it as a very plum plum. My first season I harvested 3 plums, but this year I got 27! Inspired by our humble harvest, what ultimately followed, was the making of Plum Sauce. We cheated a little; our harvest was small so we had to buy a few. A miscalculation resulted into too many plums, so the next consideration was Plum Jam. This is not where it ended; we served it with freshly home baked Ciabatta.

Having quite a good harvest of leaks, we served them steam-fried with a drizzle of Plum Sauce.

And then me made our own spring rolls which we served with Plum Sause – quite a delicatessen.

Now back to “the joy of cooking”…, delighted with our plum sauce and plum jam, one of our guests remembered her mother baking a thin layered cake [at least 12 layers] with plum jam spread between the layers. The only problem was that she could not remember the recipe – in fact, she never baked it herself, but they all, including her children, just loved it. And so the search for the recipe began – of course the first resort was the internet – but alas, we were disappointed. Although so many recipes are posted as “winners”, they are a far cry from that. We tried out a few…

And so the search became contagious; we are now quite a few looking for the real McCoy. And then, our last resort was Alina Xaba – the aged lady with a pin sharp memory who used to help her mother in the kitchen. So if you are interested in the Plum Layered Cake – watch this space. We shall share with you Mastering the art of baking a Plum Layered cake.

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