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I’m sat in the room listening to the thud of the builders hammer as he puts in a new staircase. I feel bad for sitting at my laptop whilst he is working hard… even though we are paying him! It seems an endless job this renovating malarky.
The kitchen is nearly done now, just needs the finishing touches like curtains and things. I love how its turned out. We had room to make a utility area and its got a pantry in yaaay! I’ve waited twenty years to design my own kitchen. I usually end up inheriting someone else’s design and ideas but this is ours and I’m happy.
Of all the rooms in the house I’m most excited about the kitchen because its where my cooking hobby takes place. If I’m feeling a little down I’ll go into the kitchen and cook up some comfort food such as chocolate chip cookies.
I spend hours in the kitchen roasting tomatoes for pasta sauces, bottling jam etc. You can usually hear the whirring of the Kenwood chef in the background making up the next batch of butter or a couple of eggs to make a cake.
I love wondering around car boot sales looking for old cast iron pans for renovation projects. My favourite cooking pots are old cast iron ones that I’ve sanded down to the iron and re seasoned. They become non stick and can their heat well so are money saving because you can turn off the pan and it will continue to cook for a little while and keep the food warm for ages. No one else is allowed to use my favourite pans and I hide them at the back of the cupboard!
We had a discussion over on MSE about moneysaving and is it worth it and I have to say that I would be lost if I didn’t have all my kitchen projects. I could stop making everything from scratch and have lots of extra time but what would I do with that time? I get so much pleasure from cooking and its made all the better if I found the ingredients at a reduced price or growing wild. Moneysaving is no longer a necessity for me but I think its in my blood now. If I go to the supermarket which is not that often these days as I try to use the farmers markets as much as possible, then I make a beeline for the reduced section. If I find a stash of cream for buttermaking or perhaps vegetables for sauces then I walk around the rest of the store excitedly planning what to make with my haul….. please tell me i’m not alone in this
Hi everyone, I hope you all had a good bank holiday? We are still doing the renovations so I spent most of the holiday at home. I fancied something yummy for my tea…. a nice scone with a good cup of tea! The only trouble is I’ve run out of jam. I made quite a lot but I always end up giving it away to friends and family and of course I use jam in gravies etc so it is used up quite quickly.
I remembered I had some blackberries from the end of last season still taking up space in my freezer so out they came. I also had some wild apple puree that I had picked whilst out in the forest and was saving for pies. I took that out as well as I worried the blackberries wouldn’t have enough pectin in to set (I never use jam sugar, far too expensive!)
So in the jam pan goes the frozen blackberries and wild apple puree. I added a little water but only enough to cover the bottom of the pan. I let the pan come up to simmer and left it for ten minutes. Once the fruit looked nice and soft I pummelled it with a masher to get all the lovely juice and flavours out.
Then its onto my favourite part… sieving. I have a mouli that I picked up quite cheaply and its fantastic for jams, tomato sauces etc.
At this stage I’m left with a pan of puree to which I add the sugar. I usually put in 850g sugar to every 1kg of puree. I know some people do equal sugar to fruit but I like that little bit of tang and by reducing the amount of sugar you really get the flavours of the fruits coming through.
I let the fruit puree and sugar warm up slowly to give the sugar chance to fully melt into the fruit puree and then its up with the heat until I get a good rolling boil going. I tend to give blackberry jam around ten mins before doing the set test. For this I have an old tea plate in the freezer and I drop a couple of drops of the boiling jam onto the plate. As soon as its cool enough I get my finger and push it through the now cool jam. If the jam ‘wrinkles’ then its ready to be put into jars, if not it gets another couple of minutes before I try the test again. I’ve taken a picture here but I’m not sure whether you can actually see the wrinkling.
Now all the time i’ve been making the jam i’ve had my recycled and freshly washed jars sunbathing in the oven so they are sterilised. I now take them out and give them a few minutes to cool down then its time to fill them up with lovely fruity jam. Fill the jars almost to the top to limit the amount of air that stays in the jar.
Once the jars are filled up I put the lids on and turn the jars upside down for a few minutes. Once I turn them back the right way up I find that the original seal works again and the ‘popper’ bit in the middle of the lid is sucked back down.
Of course I didn’t seal all the jars… I had to have my cream scone and jam! And even if I say so myself, it was delicious!