August 28, 2014

So long summer/Getting ready


Although I hate to say it, the cool weather we've been having suggests the summer is coming to a close. It's never easy saying goodbye especially when it's been such a good one. Last year our barbecue saw daylight just a couple of times. The year before it stayed in the shed. This year we've enjoyed many suppers outdoors, spending time with friends, preparing delicious food, and generally nourishing and watering ourselves well. For me, these are the true markers of a great summer. 


The fruit plot has also benefited from the sunshine, with everything ripening at least a month early. Never before have I made damson fruit cheese on a hot August afternoon. A most peculiar experience, although the early harvests have enabled me to get a few jobs done ahead of time. We leave for France in two weeks and there is much to do before we go. Last weekend was spent weeding and pruning the soft fruit, currant and gooseberry beds, tying in the cordon pears, cutting the paths and clearing out the shed. I'm always amazed at how much we accumulate. Since we stopped growing so much veg and switched to mostly fruit, my make-shift potting bench (miraculously held up by one bracket) had been made redundant. Over the years it had become a dumping area instead for all the bits and pieces you think you will use but never do, like used plant ties (I'm darned if I'll ever undo those knots), off-cuts of wire, brackets, nuts and bolts, bits of string, plastic plant pots, a ruler, pencils, old seed packets, a duster...? 


Through the process of sorting and clearing I began to reflect on the space we had almost single-handedly planned and created, blissfully naive back then to the things that growers should know about planting and harvesting times, soil condition and crop diseases. Eager with our forks and spades, we just wanted to claim our portion of 'the good life,' way before With her Hands came into existence. Boy have we learnt a lot in that time. Beyond the growing, tending and harvesting, I have learnt a lot about myself and grown because of it. When life felt difficult, I'd retreat to the shed to enjoy the quiet meditative task of sowing seeds. When I was angry, I'd dig. When I was sad I'd sit amongst the fruit trees and look out at the view. It was hard not to feel thankful. The space we created had wrapped itself around us and nurtured us in more ways than we will ever know. 
    

As I packed away the small calor gas stove, enamel plates and mugs, I was reminded of the many plot to plate brunches we'd enjoyed; boiled eggs with just picked tender asparagus, half the veg patch frittatas and hot buttered corn. I thought about how lucky we were to be caretakers of such a place. Surely we are changed because of it. We finished for the day, our forks hung up side by side in their usual places, united in the belief that someday soon, perhaps - maybe when France becomes our permanent home - others will come and add their own narratives to ours and will, like us, be better people because of it. 



  


Damson Fruit Cheese
Makes about 1kg (2lb 4oz)

"Fruit Cheese" is the English name for fruit paste. Damson cheese is a glorious dark purple colour which is lovely with cheeses, pâtés and roast lamb or pork.

1kg (2lb 4oz) damsons
500g (1lb 2oz) unrefined cane sugar
glycerine or flavourless oil, for the moulds

Wash the damsons. Put them in a heavy based saucepan or preserving pan and barely cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft and pulpy.

Push the pulp through a nylon sieve into a clean bowl. Put the purée into a preserving pan and add the sugar. Bring very gently to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 1-11/2 hours, until it is really thick; be careful as it can spit like a volcano. You need it to be so thick that it starts to come away from the sides of the pan as you stir, forming a thick mass.

Brush straight- sided moulds, such as ramekins, or small decorative moulds, with glycerine or flavourless oil. This will help you un-mould the damson cheese. Pour the mixture into the moulds. Cover with a waxed paper disc.

If you want to give this as a present, you can un-mould it and wrap in grease proof paper or baking parchment, then tie with string. Properly wrapped, it keeps for a year in a cool dark place or refrigerator.




August 18, 2014

For the love of apricots


*One thing I’ve longed to do is to eat a ripe apricot straight from the tree.  And one might suppose that, for perfection, the tree would have to be growing in its original homeland, from the warm climes of Armenia. Not so. Just recently, thanks to early frosts and a long spell of warm weather, I harvested my first ever crop of apricots. To say I obsessed over them is an understatement. In the same way a farmer meticulously tends to his vines, I diligently checked for ripeness on a thrice-daily basis, fearing one might drop and be lost to my fruit-loving hens, scratching around the trunks below. When the time came to harvest, the apricots were just ripe, the flesh still warm from the afternoon sun. They had a deeper, richer, muskier flavour than I expected; their dense-textured juiciness lusciously contained within the fruit’s thick-grained flesh.


The whole experience, I realise, was made much sweeter by the fact they were homegrown. In reality apricots don’t usually grow and ripen reliably in the open in Britain, as they need plenty of warmth and shelter. Although they are self-fertilising, the blossom comes in March, before many bees are around, so to ensure a good crop they need hand-pollination. Few of us bother with this, so you’ll most certainly end up buying apricots from France, or Italy. If you can pick out apricots yourself, choose ones that look ripe and glowing and are firm - the stronger the colour, the sweeter the apricot as a rule.



Apricot Jam with Maple and Tonka Bean
(Fills 1 x 500g jar)

The tonka bean is a black, wrinkly lozenge-shaped seed that comes from a South American tree. It has an exotic aroma, vaguely like vanilla, chestnuts, and almonds, and has a natural affinity for apricots. Instead of using cane sugar, I use maple syrup. The result is a rich tasting jam with an enticing hint of perfume. I like to eat it for breakfast with granola and thick yoghurt, but it’s equally delicious spooned over pancakes and waffles or topped with ice cream as a dessert.

INGREDIENTS
1kg apricots
200ml maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tonka bean, finely grated**

METHOD
Rinse the apricots in cold water. Cut them in half to pit them, and then cut into quarters. Place in a ceramic bowl and combine with the maple syrup, lemon juice and finely grated tonka bean. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside to macerate overnight.

Next day, transfer the apricot mixture to a preserving pan and bring to a boil.  Cook on a medium to high heat, until sufficiently reduced, approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, to prevent the jam from sticking. The jam will not achieve a firm gel set, but will develop a thick, silky consistency.

Before it’s fully reduced, remove the pan from the heat and put half of the mixture through a mouli to produce a fine puree. You can skip this step entirely for a more textured jam.

Return the puree to the pan, bring to a medium heat, and finish reducing. A teaspoonful on a chilled plate should mound and not be watery at the edges.

Pot in a warm, dry sterilised jar, and seal. Stored in a refrigerator, the jam will keep for 1 week.

*This article first appeared in Issue 27 of Crumbs magazine
**Tonka beans can be ordered online at http://www.spicemountain.co.uk








August 12, 2014

High Summer//Blackcurrant Curd Tartlets


Two weeks ago, we made a radical decision to move to France for a year. There I've said it now. And yes it's actually happening and I can barely believe it. For those that know us well this did not come as such a surprise. Moving to France has been a dream of ours for quite some time and we were always planning to go in a couple of years time when our eldest daughter finished university. Over the past six years we've spent a lot of time in Provence and each time its felt more and more like home and each time its been a wrench to leave. The weather is obviously a major draw (there really is nothing like the blue skies of Provence) but also the daily markets, the beautiful hilltop villages and the pace of life are some of the things we adore. 


So we decided to do a test to see how we like it through all the seasons of the year. We're not doing the whole 'sell up and go' deal, partly as our cottage will be a base for K to come back and forth to meet with his UK based clients, but also he will be able to tend to the fruit plot and the bees. I on the other hand will be putting my energy into a new project with a whole new blog and social media platforms (more on this soon). I am very excited about it and hope you will want to come onboard and follow what I get up to in Provence. You can still expect recipes and stories to be the main focus of the blog inspired by the seasons and the landscape.


A major contributor to our move is my health, which is not something I have wanted to share on this blog. In October 2012 my health began to deteriorate and for months I endured a bizarre and often frightening range of symptoms. After countless visits to doctors and specialists, nobody could shed any light on my condition, nor explain the impact it was having on my life. In despair, I eventually sought counsel from a Naturopath, who after running a series of tests, concluded I was suffering from auto-immune issues, caused by undiagnosed food intolerances and this, in turn, had increased my intestinal permeability (also known as ‘leaky gut syndrome').

The treatment? To eliminate dairy, grain, sugar, additives and preservatives from my diet, and adopt a simple, clean way of eating.

Since changing the way I eat, my symptoms have disappeared. Not only has this change in diet turned my health around, but the impact it has had on my husband too has been remarkable. We considered ourselves to be healthy eaters before, but we hadn't realised how much some of the things we ate regularly were causing us to feel low and fatigued. My own experience may be extreme, but increasingly we are reading more reports in the press about how food, the very thing that is causing obesity, depression and health epidemics of unfathomable proportions, is also the very thing that can be used to cure, cleanse and fix our body and mind.

So where does all this leave With her Hands?

With her Hands has always used organic fruit, as far as possible, and organic unrefined sugar in the preserves I produced. Since my diagnosis it became clear that I would need to rethink my business to reflect not only the needs of my own health but also the growing awareness of the ill-effects of sugar. Food product developers are increasingly turning towards healthier alternatives to sugar, and manufacturing products that are gentler on our bodies and that even retain many of their original nutrients. My new blog will be the nurtured result of this transformation and all of the recipes on the blog will reflect this. Expect to find seasonal recipes using whole, natural ingredients and unprocessed sugar alternatives so you can enjoy life's delicious pleasures whilst creating positivity in both your mental and physical life.


I will go into more detail when I launch the new blog in October, but my hope is that this move to Provence will complete the healing process and prove to be a creative year where I will focus on my writing, develop new recipes and generally be inspired by a new and exciting landscape.


The week we made the decision to move to Provence it hit 30 degrees in Bath, and here in our usually rain-filled-basin-of-a-city, that counts as a heat wave. I know talking about the weather is dull, but on a cloudless day in early August, the best one can hope for, I think, is to have nothing but the weather to talk about. 

Our fruit plot was abundant with blackcurrants, fat and juicy, nearly black, and full of juice. During the heat of the midday sun I retreated to the coolness of the kitchen to make batches of blackcurrant curd sweetened with maple syrup. The recipe is really very simple -  using just four ingredients -  and as I don't use the traditional bain-marie method it's super quick too. So quick in fact that I decided to whip up a batch of almond-based pastry cases, which were baked and ready to fill by the time the curd was ready. The result is a subtly sharp but creamy tart, totally gluten and refined sugar free, bursting with flavour. A tea time treat to feel really good about.

Blackcurrant Curd Tartlets
Makes 4-6 tartlets with plenty of curd leftover

For the curd
400g blackcurrants, de-stemmed and rinsed  
125g unsalted butter 
150ml maple syrup
4-5 large eggs, well beaten (you need 200ml beaten egg)

For the topping
100g blackcurrants, de-stemmed and rinsed
50ml maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice + freshly grated zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped 

For the pastry adapted from Hemsley + Hemsley's - The Art of Eating Well
50g butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
160g ground almonds
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Start by making the pastry. Preheat the oven to fan 180 C/Gas mark 6. Lightly grease the tart tins, about 10 cm in diameter, with a little butter.

Mix the pastry ingredients together in a food processor, then press them together to make a smooth ball of pastry. If the pastry feels too warm to work with, chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.

Cut the dough into equal sections. use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball of pastry before placing each one in the base of a greased tart tin. Use your fingers to spread and smooth the pastry thinly and evenly around the tin, pressing it up the sides. Take a knife and trim the excess pastry to leave a clean edge. Prick the base of the tarts with a fork - this will stop them puffing up.

Chill the tart cases for at least 20 minutes before baking, for a crisper finish.

Place the chilled tarts on a tray and bake for about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tart cases. The edges should be golden, but beware that nut-based pastry can turn dark very quickly.

Remove from the oven and place to one side - the cases will be soft, but will crisp up as they cool. Leave them to harden up slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Next prepare the topping. Toss the blackcurrants with maple syrup, lemon and mint in a small bowl and set aside while you make the curd to help the flavours develop. 

For the curd, tip the blackcurrants into a saucepan with a small amount of water to prevent them from sticking. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the currants have popped open and are soft. Put through the fine disc of a food mill or rub through a nylon sieve.

Put the butter and blackcurrant puree into a medium saucepan over a low heat. As soon as the butter has melted pour the beaten eggs through a sieve and whisk thoroughly. Cook at a gentle heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened. This should take approximately 15 minutes. You will know it's done when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When the curd is cool enough to touch whisk in the maple syrup. Leave to cool completely.

Note: To safeguard against the eggs 'splitting' make sure the temperature of the puree is no higher than 55-60 C on a sugar thermometer when the egg is added.

Assemble the tarts just before serving. Spoon a layer of curd into each tart, then top with the macerated blackcurrants. These are best enjoyed within a few hours of making.

The leftover curd will last one week in the refrigerator.






July 15, 2014

Lazy summer afternoon//Raspberry Jam with Rose Geranium


This article I recently wrote for Crumbs felt very suiting following a lazy summer afternoon spent picking raspberries. The recipe is super straight forward and takes very few ingredients.
 

There are few more delightful starts to the day than a spread of good raspberry jam on buttered toast, but like strawberries, raspberries also have some inherent dairy notes which make them especially delicious with cream, yoghurt and soft cheeses.

Just recently I was reminded of an effortlessly simple dessert I ate in Provence, where juicy tart raspberries were set on a glass plate with a scattering of delicate rose geranium flowers and raw sugar.  A bowl of thick crème fraiche made it complete. The whole effect was quite lovely and I wondered if the same magic could be created in a jam.


Raspberries have a sweet sour taste yet a fruity, floral, leafy flavour. When ripe, they have an intense perfumed quality that hints at rose. Most rose is used in the form of rosewater but often has a cloying sweetness, reminiscent of your grandma’s floral talcum powder. It needs balancing with sharp, acidic ingredients to temper its floral muskiness so it can be tricky to calculate the right amount. I prefer to use the rose scented leaves of the geranium plant ‘Attar of Roses,’ as the flowers do not hold well in a jam.


The flavour of the raspberries intensifies when macerated and cooked, while the rose geranium leaves add a subtle floral layer. It makes a perfect standing-up-at-the-counter snack served with discs of crispbread, big enough for snapping (I like Peter’s Yard) and Westcombe Dairy fresh Italian-style creamy ricotta, which I buy from The Fine Cheese Company.

Raspberry Jam with Rose Geranium via Crumbs 
(Fills 3 x 225g jars)

INGREDIENTS
700g raspberries
500g unrefined cane sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
5 or 6 rose geranium leaves

METHOD
- Pick over the raspberries. Omit rinsing them so that they will keep their fragrance.
- In a preserving pan, combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover with a tea towel or a sheet of parchment paper and leave overnight at room temperature.
- The next day, place a saucer with a couple of metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing later.
- Rinse the rose geranium leaves under cold water and pat them dry between two clean kitchen towels. Set them aside while you make the jam.
- Transfer the raspberry mixture to a preserving pan and bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that rises.  Cook on a medium to high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, to prevent the jam from sticking. The mixture should appear glossy, the texture more unified, and the colour darkened.
- To test, turn off the heat and remove one of the teaspoons from the freezer. Carefully take a sample of the jam, replacing the spoon back to the freezer for 3-5 minutes. Touch the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return it to the freezer for another minute. Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the jam runs. If it runs slowly onto the saucer, and if it has thickened to a spreadable consistency, it is done. If it runs quickly or appears watery, cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring, and test again as necessary.
- When you are satisfied with the set, rub the rose geranium leaves briefly between your fingers to release their oil. Swirl them into the jam and leave to infuse for a minute or two. Taste carefully and either remove the leaves with tongs or leave for another minute or two, keeping in mind the rose geranium flavour will be slightly milder once the jam has cooled.
- Pot in warm, dry sterilised jars, and seal. Stored in a cool place, the jam keeps for 3 months; refrigerate once opened.


July 09, 2014

Summer forever and ever


When I was young, staying at my great-grandmother's house in Wiltshire became a summer tradition for us. On arrival, my brother and I would inspect the house and rambling garden, verifying that everything was just as we remembered it. Much of our time there was spent making dens in the garden from old deck chairs and faded sheets, catching butterflies in the flowerbeds, running through the sprinkler, or eating gooseberries and raw rhubarb dipped in sugar on the backyard step. Sometimes if the weather was decent, we took a trip to the seaside to break in our sun hats, build sandcastles with vast moats (gran with her skirt tucked into her knickers) eat paste sandwiches and generally wear ourselves out so well that we were in bed before the light was gone.


  
Gran lived in a substantial stone built 1940s semi with dark wooden floors and a sweeping, curved staircase. The house smelled of stew and dumplings or plum jam; sometimes a combination of the two. On the first morning, before breakfast, she made fudge which we ate, still warm, straight from the greaseproof paper. Since the garden was always abundant with fruit, I would often help make a batch of jam, standing on an old wooden chair so I could reach the counter. Gran would fetch my wooden spoon (well worn and stained from last summers' blackcurrant jam) from its usual place; hanging from a hook in the larder. Sweet treats seemed to infiltrate most everyday events. We all went to bed and woke up hungry, despite our double helping of summer pudding the night before. 


On the last night, gran would pop down to the local pub to buy a bottle of stout for her and a bottle of pop for us, before settling in front of the piano for a sing-song until our voices turned hoarse.


Gran's house felt unchanged until the last few years of her life when others helped care for her. The legacy of her preserve making continues to evolve. This particular recipe pays homage to the gooseberry and blackcurrant she so favoured in a jam. The jostaberry is a hybrid of the two fruits, and oddly, one does not overshadow the other. I feel sure gran would approve of this sharp and fruity jam, served alongside a wedge of 'billy stink' and washed down with a glass of stout.

Jostaberry Jam
Fills 6 x 225g (8oz) jars

If you can't find jostaberries, feel free to substitute with an equal mix of blackcurrants and gooseberries. Don't be tempted to skip putting the fruit through a mouli or nylon sieve as the real joy of this jam is in its smooth texture and concentrated flavour.

Ingredients
1kg (2lb 4oz) jostaberries, topped and tailed
750g (1lb 12oz) unrefined cane sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method
Rinse the jostaberries in cold water, drain them, and put into a preserving pan or large heavy based saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover the fruit with a clean tea towel and leave to macerate at room temperature overnight.

Next day, put the mixture through a mouli (fine disc) or rub through a nylon sieve to separate the skins and seeds. Transfer the puree to a preserving pan and bring to the boil. Continue to cook on a high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid any sticking or scorching. Check the set*. Ladle the jam into warm jars immediately and seal. This keeps for 6 months; refrigerate once opened. 

* for more on how to check the set click here








July 02, 2014

Honey: A Personal Exploration



I am not what one would describe as an obvious candidate for keeping bees. As a child, I was never that interested in flying insects; the closest I got to any hint of interest was netting butterflies with my brother at our local park - but that's a whole other story.

My fascination with bees started when planning my fruit plot. Or I should say it naturally evolved, as you can't think about fruit without thinking about the pollinators. My knowledge of honey bees at that point was minimal; I knew they produced a delicious product and I'd read enough in the press to know how essential they are to the environment, but I hadn't explored it any further than that.


So I enrolled on a beginner's beekeeping course at the local BKA, which covered all the fundamentals; from the history and life span of the honey bee to how you get the honey in the jar. Sunday afternoons were spent at the apiary, suited and booted, with the hives opened for inspection and brownie points for who could spot the queen first. What struck me most profoundly was the worker bees and the way in which they labour together for the good of the colony. The whole business of 'keeping house' is efficiency at its very best. The first half of a worker bees short life doesn't begin as a forager. Her initial duties are to maintain the hive and its occupants; cleaning, tidying, feeding, tending, building, repairing, and guarding. When the time comes to exchange the darkness of the hive for bright sunshine, she has to unravel the code of her sisters'  waggle dance before she flies off in search of nectar. 

On returning to the hive, she unloads her bulging stocks of pollen from the panniers on her legs, before disgorging her carefully stored nectar from her croup. She passes it into the care of one of her sisters who sucks the nectar up and disgorges it for a second time, but this time it is subtly altered. She flattens the droplet with her forelegs and fans it with her wings to hasten evaporation. The process is repeated by countless other workers, changing the complex sugars into simpler ones until the nectar finally turns to honey. So exhausting is her quest that she will eventually drop dead from exhaustion, often in less than a month. All her life's work will amount to just a few drops of honey. Lessons I'm sure can be taken from that.


Honey direct from the hive is delicious. There are all sorts of fancy ways to extract honey, but I prefer to keep things simple by cutting the comb from the frames and crushing them in a large stainless steel pan with the end of a rolling pin, (no fancy gadgets here) before pouring the mixture through a sieve. This does mean you may get the odd bee leg or bit of wing, but its the real deal - unfiltered, untreated and totally raw.  If it seems unfair to take all of the sisters' hard-earned honey, know that early on I negotiated a deal; if they would allow me to take off the early flow (when nature is abundant with foraging fodder) then I would leave them the late summer flow to store over winter when they would most need it. They seem happy with this arrangement. Or that is how I would like to see it.

June 30, 2014

French Tomato Jam



My love affair with tomato jam, eating and making it, began six years ago with a visit to a marche agricole in the heart of Provence. A simple wooden table laid out with an assortment of confitures caught my eye, in particular, a small cellophane covered jar. The neatly written label 'Confiture de Tomates Vertes' sounded intriguing, but its jelly baby green contents dotted with pale yellow, almost translucent seeds, was mesmerising. The agriculteurs femme who had made it, told me it was a traditional recipe handed down in her family, often cooked and rested over several days. Naively, I assumed it was more akin to a relish but she wagged her finger, 'Non, it's a confiture. To eat with brioche.' And so we did. It was delicious and the memory of it has stayed with me ever since.


Tomato jam is a curious thing; sweet when you're expecting salty, savoury when you're expecting sweet. I have a penchant for sweet and savoury pairings, so I like to spread it on hot toast topped with a fried egg; letting the velvety yolk ooze into the rich, sweet jam. Its vivid, complex flavour works equally well with cheeses or as an accompaniment to savoury tarts. Or, for a certain je ne sais quoi, do as the French do and eat it for breakfast with sweet bread.



French Tomato Jam
Fills 3 x 225g (8oz) jars 

Be sure to source really good tomatoes, thin-skinned, and flavourful. My version uses deeply red cocktail tomatoes (I buy mine from The Tomato Stall) but you could also use plum. If you don't have the patience to skin the tomatoes you can leave the skins on, though this will give a more rustic, chunkier texture to the jam.

Ingredients
1.25kg vine tomatoes
325g cane sugar
2 fl oz fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp flaky salt
1/4 tsp blade mace

Method
Remove the vines and stems from the tomatoes and place them in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for a few minutes. Pierce the tomatoes  with a sharp knife and the skins should start to come away from the flesh. When this happens, drain in a colander and leave until cool enough to handle. Remove the skins and cut the flesh into quarters. Put the quarters into a large non-reactive bowl and pour over the sugar. Add the lemon juice and combine well, with your hands, until all of the tomatoes are coated with the sugar. Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave overnight at room temperature. 

Next day, place a saucer with a couple of metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later.

Transfer the tomato mixture to a preserving pan or a large heavy-based saucepan. Put the mace into a spice ball or piece of muslin secured with a knot and add to the mixture with the salt. Heat gently over a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises. Reduce to a moderate heat and cook until much reduced and thickened (about 30 minutes), stirring frequently, to prevent the jam from sticking. The mixture should appear glossy, the texture more unified, and the colour darkened.

To test, turn off the heat and remove one of the teaspoons from the freezer. Carefully take a sample of the jam, replacing the spoon back to the freezer for 3-5 minutes. Touch the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return it to the freezer for another minute. Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the jam runs; if it runs slowly onto the saucer, and if it has thickened to a spreadable consistency, it is done. If it runs quickly or appears watery, cook for another few minutes, stirring, and test again as necessary.


Pot in warm, dry sterilised jars, and seal. Stored in a cool place, this keeps for three months; refrigerate once opened.