August 23, 2009

TGRWT#18: Plum, Blue Cheese, and Hiatus

orchard by ab '09

plumcott blooms2 by ab '09 apricot blooms by ab '09 almond blooms by ab '09 greengage blooms by ab '09

schulten plum blooms by ab '09 Golden Queen peach blooms by ab '09 black dorris-billington blooms by ab '09 typical weather by ab '09

I am kind of losing energy of blogging recently. Like Bruno said, losing my mojo. Yeah, things are a bit too much these days, with Spring is coming, orchard is heavy with blooms, now it is time to plant seeds and seedlings, starting to spray for a prevention against possible diseases on anything we plant, farming causes, really, it is hard to find time around the computer. I can't concentrate on many things at the same time, as much as priorities, I am still as humble as humble pie. It is Ramadan as well. I want to concentrate on the family matters on this important holy month, so this is my last post. And I will be hiatus. I don't know for how long, but we still can be in touch through twitter or facebook if you want. You can see my IDs on my sidebar. I'd love to hear from you.

Just to give my words to Trig, answering his invitation to join They Go Really Well Together, initially organized by Martin of Khymos. This time round, Trig is daring us to food pairing Plum and Blue Cheese.

aged plum cheese by ab '09

damson plum cheese home-made by ab '09

I still have a mould of plum cheese that I made on February this year. This has been a ritual on annual preserving abundant plums since we got great rewards from our Damson Plum trees these past three years.

The process is simple. The cheese is made from boiled plums. I use damson plums which have purple skin and creamy flesh. Don't be tricked by its flesh colour, because when they are boiled, they will give you nice deep red colour, like blood. These damson plums are really tart and almost impossible to eat straight away, unless you have that kind of sour-palatable-friendly buds, that probably will be a different case. I don't usually weigh the plums raw, but I will weigh them when I got the stones out and when they are boiled, and skinned, to indicate approximately the weigh of sugar to use. If you have 500g of plum pulp, you can add the same amount of sugar or less. I usually use a quarter or half of the pulp weigh. I use water, but you can use casis or red wine, if you wish. I haven't explored any cheeses made with alcohol, so please tell me if you have.

The remaining steps are just like the ones you usually how to make jam, but this time, you really need to get a heavy and thick paste. That when you're stirring, you can see the bottom of the pot. Then, you can just pour it into greased ramekins which are straight-sided (other shape like pear-shape or bottle-shape is hard to unmold, unless you are planning to leave the cheese in the container). Leave them to cool. Unmold, then wrap them. I use baking paper to wrap them and then leave them dry in a cool oven, overnight. Store them to use. I also made fruit butter, which is the softer texture of cheese. I pour it into midget cups, so it is handy to spread on our toast.

I tend to leave the cheese develop its flavour for months, at least three months. The cheese that I share with you on one of recent photos is aged a year, which is the batch that I did last year. The flavour is much more intense with great texture of mature sweetness and tartness, playing each part at the same time. Compare those photos above. The first one was made last year and the second one was in February this year.

plum cheese enjoyed with blue cheese by ab '09

We enjoy plum cheese with blue cheese, sometimes with Brie Blue. All New Zealand made, proudly speaking. There is a subtle chemistry between plum cheese and blue cheese and a close connection of tart-sweet-ness is handled perfectly once they hit my tounge. The earthy and nutty flavour of blue cheese, indeed, is a perfect soulmate of plum cheese. There is also tangy texture, hidden somewhere in your mouth, and then topped with mellow flavour of blue cheese. Have it with walnuts or almonds, that is sublime. I don't mind to have sweet grapes in between, just to cleanse my tounge before having some more.

plum cheese enjoyed 3 by ab '09

Now, what is the perfect drink? Wine? Port? Champagne? Up to you. I don't drink alcohol, so I can't give you any recommendation on that. I can only say, it is worth to make your own plum cheese, for the sake of preserving fruit. One flavour goes a long the way. You can even still enjoy it in Winter, when all the stone fruit trees are asleep. Whatever drink you may have, you can truly explore the world of perfection.

till we meet again...

Have a great day. Until we meet again.


Andrea said...

That is beautiful, Arfi. Enjoy your hiatus and we'll be here when you come back.

Peter G said...

Hey Arfi! Thanks for sharing some of your wonderful creations from your orchard. have a nice break and we'll see you when you return! Enjoy your Holy celebrations...all the best!

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

Everything looks so good!! Enjoy your hiatus :) We will be waiting :)

Arwen said...

The plum cheese looks like a wonderful way to preserve fruit. Have a good month with your family, and I hope your spring plantings go well.

Chef Jeena said...

Wow plum cheese looks amazing! Enjoy your break. :-)

Cakelaw said...

Your plum cheese looks gorgeous Arfi. My timing is always bad - I always come back to visit when you are leaving us for a while. Have a restful Ramadan, and hope that you come back to join us soon.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow plumb cheese looks awesome.....Enjoy ur break and do come back......

Soma said...

Arfi this is so beautiful! I will try this out. Do you use any lemon or anything else to gel? how does it set? I feel like sinking my tooth into it right away & would love to have it with spicy pepper jack.


Soma said...

i went & read the recipe.. I don't like using pectin. all the jam/jellies I have made before are by using lemon juice. my strawberry jam almost thickened but not as much as your jam. Will it get like candy if i cook it longer to dry or is the trick to leave it alone to dry? sorry asking so many questions, but this is so fascinating:-)

have a good break Arfi.

Soma said...

Arfi, sorry about the misunderstanding. I meant i read the recipe & i found no lemon :-) i should have mentioned that. I don't use pectin either.

Melanie said...

Enjoy your hiatus and get some free time to do your thing. Will be here when you return.

Aparna said...

Plum cheese, never had that. here in Goa they make cheese from other fruit like banana and guava.
Have nice break, but do come back. :)
Be seeing you on Twitter.
Best wishes for Ramzan and Id Mubarak.

Barbara said...

Have a nice break Arfi. I hope you have sunshine and can sit in your orchard with a book and cup of tea. I hope you'll join A Taste of Yellow. Hugs. said...

Arfi.... enjoy your hiatus, we'll definitely miss you and your lovely blog :)
Do come back with lots & lots of positive energy :D

Criollo said...

Hi Arfi, i stumbled upon your site from Keiko and via Barbara's. It's such a pleasure to find you. I will visit frequently as I am curious about your past post, given how much i enjoyed this latest one. Loved the Plum Cheese. Wish I was nearby to taste some... MM

Craig Dryhurst said...

Hi Arfi,
Thankyou for your nice comment on my blog. The plums are sliced on a mandolin. Your site is really cool. Craig