Sunday, August 27, 2006

A very fancy jam sandwich

I was very excited to hear the theme for Sugar High Friday was jam! One of the big farming industries around Dundee is berries, and a big proportion of British strawberries and raspberries are grown around here. In the summer months there are lots of fresh local berries for sale in the shops and there are many farms where you can go and pick your own. This is a great afternoon out and often on a Saturday we would pack up a picnic and head over to our favourite farm with friends. After a great meal in the sun, we’d set off into the fields to pick some berries and eat some as you go along (“one for the basket and one for me”, is the general motto). This give you a great supply for the week to pick at and whatever you can’t eat goes into the freezer or gets turned into jam.

I love making jam, it’s so easy, plus, your house smells great!! I was always fascinated by the whole process as a kid, in the summer my mum would buy trays of fruit at the market and cook them in her big copper pan on our camping stove outside (gas was better then electric and it was just to hot inside; the joys of living in France). To make this I used my friend Allyson’s recipe (she is a jam queen!) and just heated the sugar in the oven (about 100C, equal weight to the berries). I added this to the berries with the juice of a half a lemon (I think I had 500g berries, which made 2 jars) and did the frozen saucer test. For sterilizing, I use my mum’s technique of washing the jars, fill them with boiling water, leave 5 min, then air-dry on a clean towel. I find when you add the jam to the jars when its still hot, this will create a natural vacuum and I’ve not had any problems with mould.

Most of the jars have gone as presents as we are moving to Basel soon (Barry leaves on Tuesday!) but I’d kept one back for a special occasion, and this was it. I decided to cook this recipe, which looked incredibly appealing (seemed fitting as they are hosting this SHF) and as I was going to a last minute dinner party with a milk intolerant child present it was perfect. It took under 30 minutes to make from start to finish and tasted fabulous. Unfortunately, my baking tray wasn’t big enough so the sponge turned out quite thick, which made it hard to role up. Therefore, it ended up looking more like a jam sandwich than a roll but this didn’t affect the taste, and it went down a treat with everyone….definitely a keeper!

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