Tea. Sleeping Kittens. The Smell of Old Books. Expensive Cheese. Painted Toenails. Lounging Around. Coffee Beans. Weddings. Poached Eggs. Napping. Candles. Secrets. Photographs. Harry Potter. Sex. Hand Holding. Fabulous Hair. Ribbons. Dinosaurs. Rage comics. Air Guitar. Montages. Swooning. Red Grapes. Sleeping. Paper Bags. Stockings. Canvas. Daydreaming. Piles of Book's. Cheap Dvd's. Cheeky Emails. Hand-made anythings. Whispering. Red Hair. Roller Derby. Jam. Laughing. Raspberry Lollies. Hugs. Letter's. Family. Batman. Flowers. Avocado. Art. Text's. Love.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Divine Preservation.

I recently purchased this glorious bible of deliciousness and with the Easter Long Weekend coming up and the prospect of the entire house to myself I decided to experiment with a few different types of jam. I'd only ever made one type before, cherry and apple and with that being a success i thought that making three jams in a day would be a piece of cake.
There are over a hundred and fifty different types of jams and chutneys in that book and being a massive fan of sweet over savory, i chose two sweet jams and a spicy butter.

My choices were -

1. Plum and Cinnamon Jam.
2. Spiced Pumpkin Butter.
3. Rhubarb, Strawberry and Vanilla bean Jam.

As I skipped joyfully through the aisles of Le supermarché flinging the various spices, sugars, fruits and vegetables required to make three wonderful preserves into my basket i started getting really excited like the sad, prematurely old woman that i am.

My loot. (note - the dark chocolate and the peppermint was for fudge)

The Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam required the fruit to be cut up and soaked in a lemon and sugar mix overnight, so while that was marinating away I got to the chopping, grinding and slicing of everything else. I like to have everything chopped and dished up in front of me when i first try a recipe, firstly it makes it harder for me to screw up the recipe and secondly, with all the little bowls lined up on the bench i feel like a cooking show host. Yes, i narrate while i cook. Max will usually sit happily at listen to me, tail wagging while i blab on like I'm Nigella, providing i give him a biscuit and a belly rub occasionally.

The Rhubarb and Strawberries soaking away.

The plum was the toughest one to cook, purely because i had halved the recipe but buggered up the amount of lemon juice. So when i first cooked the jam and jarred it up and then waited for it to cool, i found that it was far too runny. Plums also apparently have a lot of natural pectin, so they don't need the store bought stuff to make them set. My plum concoction did not want any of that, it had pcched it's natural pectin, so i had to add an extra 40 grams to make the jam set. So after re-cooking, re-sterilizing, re-potting and then boiling the jars again, my plum and cinnamon jam was complete.

fresh plum. smooshy plum. jam plum.

The pumpkin butter was the next one. The flavour of it puzzled me completely, because pumpkin is a very savoury thing for me, and i was adding sweeter spices like cloves and nutmeg and of course, sugar and lemon juice. So i bashed my spices and squeezed my lemons and steamed that pumpkin and stirred and mushed in a big pot for an hour while my house started to fill with the most glorious apple crumbly type smell. The end result was a thick, creamy looking butter that tasted like the inside of a nice sweet pumpkin pie. I've read a recipe that combines pumpkin and apple, which i think would be fabulous. This stuff is supposed to be used with ginger bread, or in a tart, or even mixed with cream cheese on a piece of crusty bread.

fresh pumpkin. mushy pumpkin. jarred pumpkin.

Last was my absolute favourite. After scooping the rhubarb, strawberry, sugary gloop into a pan and began cooking i was in heaven. The fruit had smooshed itself together and was emitting a smell that was making me float with joy, after adding the pectin, vanilla beans and essence it looked amazing. A little taste test proved that it tasted amazing too! It was also the easiest to make. After sterilizing, potting and boiling the jars i set them all out in a row and began to write out the labels and add the finishing touches.

stewing the fruits, smooth and delicious.

adding cinnamon sticks for prettiness


Best day ever? I think so.