We are in the midst of a veritable glut of plums. The wild boar is happy with the rotting windfalls and the birds seem less interested in the plums than our figs (the figs of this blog’s name – more anon!) so we have had three happy harvests already.
The plum harvest has justified my bringing from England the basket you see in the picture. That was a last minute ‘it doesn’t quite fit but it looks like the kind of basket we should have in Italy’ squeeze into the car. Later in the year, naturally, it will be used in a more romantic kind of way – perhaps for a picnic à deux on the mountain or by the fresh water pools? Engineering such will require some childcare assistance, but I’m ever hopeful!
The first gathering of our plums yielded some six kilos, the second over five and the third a further six kilos. That’s a lot of plums! I’ve frozen some whole and made a variation of Abel and Cole’s plum compote out of another batch. We have gorged on plums for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacking at the pool (slightly warm and squashed – not so good). And, to celebrate our newly repaired oven, we have even baked – isn’t it satisfying that healthy fruit can be combined with eggs, butter and sugar to produce a delectable, not so healthy, feast? We made a variation of a Smitten Kitchen purple plum torte– that was devoured in one sitting with requests for more of the same. It’s quite a feat baking in this heat, even for me, and everything takes three times longer slaving over the proverbial hot stove with three pairs of helpful hands involving themselves in the action. But three pairs of hands there most definitely were today for the production of this sort of this Almost Bakewell Plum Tart, a sort of variation of Jamie Oliver’s Crostata Di Fichi: the owners of those hands were caught up in preparation for the welcoming of la Nonna and there was great insistence on full involvement.
Excitement crescendos as we move towards Nonna’s arrival: the children have made flags to wave in greeting at the train station, welcoming cards for her room and P. has proved incredibly helpful fiercely polishing windows and cleaning the bathroom. Please note: I did not enlist his labour, and certainly wasn’t intending to clean the house so thoroughly! I’m not sure whether his eagerness was fuelled by love of Nonna or a desire to replenish his purse, having spent his entire year’s savings on a new Lego kit. I rather suspect the latter, though we did not agree a price for work in advance – I clearly need to verse him in negotiation and bargaining skills!
Excitement builds within me too: someone here all day! Someone here all night! For 12 days! Of course, what I really mean is I can’t wait to see la mia mamma so I cut out the parenthesis which read “(to help)”… but I am quite pleased that said mamma arrives on the coastal train from Ventimiglia, fresh from a two week séjour in St Tropez no less. I mention this only because I wish to clarify that she has had a delicious rest by the salt water swimming pool, dining on du fromage accompanied by du vin rosé de Provence, so I’m hoping that she will arrive energized, relaxed and, err… ready to assist a little?