It's been a while since I first hinted that we have some fantastic new vegan material in the workshop. Well, let me tell you: it had a great time sitting on its shelf, anticipating us to use it finally.
I really didn't want to be a tease and make you wait for so long, but sometimes it's hard to find the right motivation. Because, as much as I like creating new things, there is always that part where you have to take photos, write descriptions and spend a lot of time in front of your PC to add the fancy brand-new stuff to the shops. Well, I guess we can all see where that led to: me not getting my act together.

The thing is, I always had it in the back of my mind, waiting for me to find the necessary inspiration to start this project. The funny part is that I found it with Jamie Oliver.
That most likely sounds strange, I admit, but it will probably make sense if you stick around for a few more minutes. Everyone who knows me just a little might know that I absolutely love cooking. It relaxes me, and even if my day was really shitty, cooking somehow always calms me down. Now it probably sounds reasonable that I also love cooking shows, just to get some inspiration for my own kitchen.
So one day, I was watching Jamie Oliver cook something on YouTube and, at the same time, promote a book he wrote featuring only vegetarian recipes, even though he does eat meat. I mentioned the awkwardness of owning a company that works with leather but also promotes vegan alternatives already once on our social media, so it was pretty cool for me to see someone being in a similar position.

That whole cooking thing made me think, though. And an idea started to form in my head - something that would excite me. It sounded absurd, even to me, but I spend two great evenings making a plan that I thought would never see the light of day. Because why would anyone be interested in this craziness? Well, I told my partner about it nonetheless, and he thought it could be fun. And he reminded me that worst case: no-one would be interested, but at least I'd have the vegan collections finished and published. After his encouragement, I started telling other friends, and they all liked the idea, so I decided to give it a go.

"Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun."

Randy Pausch

Well, here's the plan (aka "how to motivate Lena"):

I'll introduce one of the new collars every week for at least the rest of the year (you might have guessed, that's not the crazy part).
You know, I went to fashion college (after finishing my A-level in a technical school), and one thing we did learn was how to create coherent collections and where and how to find inspiration. I used just that knowledge to create something suited to my hobbies: I picked a few of the new collar designs and created vegan recipes to go with them.
"Vegan what...?" you might ask now. Yes. Recipes. Like, for cooking.
Yep, I told you it sounds crazy. However, the great thing about being your own boss is that you can do silly things if the mood strikes you.
So, in addition to the new collar I'll introduce every week, there will be a recipe that was inspired by it. With pictures and all that. Of course, I'll add some items of the new collection to the webshops every week as well. And I really hope that you'll join me for that adventure (#penumbracookclub; I'll tell you more about that in a few days)!

Now, I'll finish this post with something I won't even call a recipe because it's so simple - but so well suited to our vegan collections: apple-pineapple jam!
Why would I use this strange combination: that's easy to answer!
The new vegan collections are made from new material. You probably already know our pineapple based leather substitute? The one with the cool structure? We finally found something to compliment that - an apple-based material that is smooth and looks pretty similar to our real leather. For everyone who likes the look of leather but doesn't want animals to be involved - we have the solution!
To celebrate that, we made the most amazing jam I ever tasted (and I already cooked a lot of them, this is still my favorite).

What you'll need:

1 package (500 g) of 3:1 gelling sugar
1 pineapple
about 750 g of apples
1 tsp vanilla
2 lemons

Take the pineapple and cut off the top with all the leaves. Put it on a scale and measure the weight. Add enough apples to reach 1,5 kg of fruit.

Peel and core the apples and pineapple and cut the fruits into small pieces.

Put the cut fruit in a pot and heat it on your stove. Add the juice of two lemons plus a teaspoon of vanilla and let it simmer until the apples become soft (it took me about 20 minutes)

Once the apple pieces are soft, use a blender to bring the mixture to your preferred consistency. I really like it when there are still chunks of fruit left, but it's totally up to you.

Once you've done that add the jam sugar and follow the instructions on the packaging (most say that you need to cook your jam for a few minutes).
Fill the finished, hot mixture into clean preserving jars, close the lids tightly and let the jam cool.

Enjoy your homemade jam with bread or granola (or just by itself - I really love its taste!)