Friday, July 1, 2011

The Cumquart Dress

Fruit preserving was always  a significant part of our kitchen, the perfect way to get the best from your bounty of fruit.  Part of the pleasure of growing or gathering your own fruit is to enjoy the aroma, the colour, feel and texture of it, and to have it sitting in the pantry looking deliciously enticing ready to eat is enormously rewarding.

The same  feeling I get when I see and feel a piece of fabric, the colour, the print the texture.  The feeling is often very overwhelming and immediately I am creating a design in my mind and can't wait to get to cutting the fabric, choosing a trim and constructing a garment.

Recently I picked the ripe, bright orange, plump fruit, from our cumquat tree, took them inside and placed them in a bowl, one by one I sliced them finely and removed the seeds.  Perfect round segmented slices bursting with colour, a fine pale yellow ring just under the skin, natures very own graphic design.

 Enjoying a glass of wine with the sailor whilst the jam was bubbling away, I was telling him how I felt inspired by the jam and how I wanted to create a little cumquat smock dress.  I thought that this was when he would vacate the room for the man cave.....
Instead he piped up.
"Just like a custom car the dress could be like a prototype, one you just keep on a shelf"

 I liked that, smiled and gave the sailor one of my best, 'sometimes I can't believe you actually got me looks'


Fabric, from Calio and Ivy.  Vintage lace, my own. Plate, a courtesy of "The Crafty Minx".  Yellow cup, Ikea.

The recipe
1  kilo of ripe cumquats
1  kilo sugar
Put a small saucer in the freezer.
Slice the fruit very,very finely.  Remove seeds.  Wrap seeds up in a square of fine cotton or a new chux cloth, tie with a long piece of twine.  Place fruit and the seed package in a heavy saucepan and bowl until the skins are soft.  Remove seed pack.  Add sugar and bring back to boil.  Simmer for 45 - 60 mins.  The jam will be ready when you pour a little onto the cold plate let it sit for a few minutes then run your finger through it, if a skin appears you are set to pour it into some clean jars that have sat in the medium oven for 30 mins.......Enjoy with toast and a thick smear of butter!
PS Cumquat jam is always on the runny side.

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