I like free food. It comes in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it’s free samples of cheese at the deli counter in a supermarket – I always take a little and I’m then less hungry and less inclined to overspend! Sometimes it’s a free meal, maybe going out for lunch at a friend or the sandwiches at an event. But at this time of the year, free food is everyone else’s surplus fruit and vegetables. I give away some of mine – tomatoes or runner beans anyone? but I’m definitely on the winning end of the equation.
Yesterday someone arrived on my door stop and brought me four kilos of damsons. Now there are an awful lot of damsons in four kilos! And they are not a fruit which waits patiently – they go mouldy very quickly. The last bagful was made into chutney and to get the stones out I stewed them gently in balsamic vinegar and I then used a colander to separate them but it took for ever. This time I had a bright idea – I would use the cherry stoner which someone gave me three years ago and which has hardly been used. Brilliant. It still took a couple of hours but getting stones out of fruits which are the size of small grapes was never going to be quick. I’ve now made a couple of kilos up into jam and the rest will become crumbles, made in ramekins so I can have a little treat when I am on my own.
But making crumbles demands yellow fat and the only thing I had was butter. No way am I using good butter to make a crumble so once again I’ve had to go shopping. Another £1 spent. And while I was there I bought two lemons (80p) because I want to make some lemon curd to give away. The rest of the ingredients are in the cupboard. Total expenditure now £15.09.