Monday, 26 February 2018

Boozy Blueberry Jam

Berries are full in abundance over the the Spring/Summer months, I make sure that I take full advantages, purchasing in bulks and creating a number of recipes that I can are resourceful and will last when the colder months sets in. What started off as a simple blueberry jam, quickly became something slightly luxurious with the addition of a good swig of dark Jamaican rum. The addition of the rum, is a wonderful kick and provides a subtle heat to this jam.  I now make this in bulk as soon as I can get my hands on blueberries.  As long as the jars are sterilised correctly, this should serve you a year.

You will need 3 x 250ml jam jars, funnel, a large saucepan and a side plate (or thermometer) .
500g blueberries
425g jam sugar
juice of ½ lemon
50ml dark Jamaican rum

Steriliseyour jam jars. Place a side plate in the freezer. In a large saucepan, add the berries, jam sugar and juice of lemon. Give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar coats the blueberries. Turn the heat and bring the blueberries to a boil (not overflowing), turn the heat down and leave to simmer. After 20 minutes, remove the plate from the freezer and spoon a teaspoon of the jam on the plate. Leave for a few seconds and if when you touch it with your finger, if the surface of the jam has set, it is ready. If not, gently boil for a further 5 minutes and do the wrinkle test again. Remove the jam from the heat and pour the rum in the saucepan – it is likely to sizzle, but not to worry.
Place the funnel in the sterilised jars (take care not to touch the insides), you may need to hold the base of the jars with one hand and pour the jam in the funnel. Seal and leave to cool in a dark place.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Pineapple Jam

Pineapple is quintessentially tropical. When pineapples are readily available in the UK (May-September) turn a couple of these prickly fruits into this sweet, sticky and sublime pineapple jam. I like to spread this on toasted harddough bread or Jamaican bun, but a slice of sourdough, or sandwiched between a sponge cake would be equally delicious; the possibilities are endless.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr – 1 hr 15 minutes.
Makes 3 x 250 ml jars
You will need a large saucepan,  potato masher, side plate and thermometer if using.

1 large Whole Fresh Pineapple or 2 small pineapples (around 1 kg)
1.5 litres water
600g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon

Place a side plate in the freezer. Peel the pineapple skin and discard the stem so that it resembles bite size chunks.

Place the pineapple pieces in a large pan and using a potato masher, mash half the pineapple pieces so you have a combination of pieces and some that are mushy. Add the sugar, cinnamon and water and stir off the heat. Put a side plate in the freezer. Heat the saucepan on a medium heat (the mixture should be softly bubbling away) and bring the marmalade to the boil – this will take around 30 minutes, lower the heat and leave to simmer, cook for a further 30 – 45 minutes until the mixture is syrupy and thick, place in the sterilised jars and enjoy.  

To check whether the marmalade has set, remove the plate on the side plate, dollop a couple of tablespoon on the side plate from the freezer. Using your fingers, push the marmalade surface the outer edges should wrinkle and not be too runny. If the marmalade has not set, continue to boil for another 3 minutes then re-test. Alternatively using a thermometer, check whether the pineapple has reached 105C.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Not Just Jam Review

I am a keen jammer, pickler, chutney and curd maker. In fact, my kitchen and cabinets are filled with different jars of preserved goodness. Summer and Autumn are the best season to turn seasonal fruits into something that will last a little longer. I have quite quite a number of books on preserving and when I read the press release for Not Just Jam, I knew that this would be a welcome addition to my collection. The author, Matthew Evans, gourmet farmer of The Fat Pig is also an acclaimed food writer and chef and knows a thing or two about preserving.
There are several different types of preserving covered here from the obvious jam but also to cordials, dried pastes and relishes. What I really liked about this book is there are a variety of fruits that are easily found in season from January - December here in the UK, often with a slight twist. So far, I've made the Late Summer Peach Jam which was supposed to be accompanied with amaretto but I paired mine with some Limoncello that I purchased in Milan. Whilst this is not only good for spreading on toast, as I have done in the below pictures, a couple of tablespoons would also great for sprucing up puddings and cakes. I added a couple of tablespoons of late summer peach jam to my bulla bread and butter pudding which offered a refreshing sharpens to my pudding. I've bookmarked so many more and will be making some of the fantastic cordials.

This book is divided into the following chapters.
Preserving Basics: all the fundamentals that you need to ensure your preserving process goes well. Also a handy guide to what fruits work well with the different types of preserving techniques.
Jam and Conserves: Some of my favourite recipes include Strawberry and Pimms, Pear and Cardamom Jam, High Dumpsie (how fabulous does that sound) and Late Summer Peach Jam with Amaretto.
Jellies:  Recipes that I bookmarked are: Blueberry and Balsamic Jelly and Blackberry and Apple jelly.
Preserves: Some of my favourite recipes include: Vanilla Peaches, Cinnamon-Spiced Nectarines with White Wine and Apricots with Orange Blossom Nutmeg.
Pickles and Relishes: Stand out recipes include: Dill Pickled Cucumbers, Dark Brown Pickle and Park's Lemon Chutney.
Sauces:  Recipes to try include: Real Brown Sauce, Australians- Style Barbecue Sauce and Siracha Chili Paste.
Curds and Pastes: Stand out recipes include: Passion fruit Curd and Mandarin Butter.
Cordials, Squashes and Syrups: Some of my favourite recipes include: Raspberry and Peach Cordial, Strawberry and Basil Syrup and Blackcurrant and Licorice Squash.
Dried and Candies Pastes: Recipes to try include: Five-Spiced Pear Paste and Dried Citrus Peel.

The Recipe that I will like to share with you all is the Late Summer Peach Jam with Amaretto

2kg late summer yellow peaches, a combination of ripe peaches and some that are a little green to get a higher pectin level.
1kg sugar
120ml lemon juice strained (you will need about 6 lemons)
2-3 tablespoons amaretto

Wash and sterilise ten 300ml jars
Cut the peaches in half, then quarters, remove the stones, then slice each quarter into thin wedges. Reserve the stones in a container in the fridge.
Put the peaches in a late glass or ceramic bowl, then add the sugar and lemon juice and stir well. Lay some plastic wrap on the surface to stop the peaches discolouring, then cover the entrée bowl in more plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, get the stones and crack then open, removing the little kernels inside. Tie the kernels in a muslin bag.
Pour the peach mixture into a large jam pan, making sure to scrap in all the sugar and juices clinging to the bowl. Add the bag of kernels and put the pan over the medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil over ugh heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat slightly to maintain a health gallop and cook until the jam starts to thicken, anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes. emote from the heat and check the set. If it's ready, remove the bag of kernels carefully with a pair of tongues, then add the amaretto to taste and stir through.
Pour into warmed jars and seal. Best opened in the dead of winter. Store in the pantry until opened, then in the fridge.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Murdoch books for my review copy.
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