Posts Tagged ‘jam’

Boysenberry Jam

In Pickles & Preserves on December 19, 2012 at 6:29 am


I went away on a family holiday recently, the last day of which happened to be my birthday! Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, my birthday meal was fried takeaways (granted, it was battered scallops and chips, so one can’t complain too much) but the best part about it was a dessert. Granted, there was a gap in between dinner and the dessert, but one can’t be too picky! After dropping my brother off in Hamilton, we stopped at a roadside shop which was advertising berries for sale as well as ice cream. Well, the ice cream was the best dessert I have been privy to in a long time, so was well worth the wait. I chose the boysenberry flavour and bought just under 2 kg of boysenberries to match. I guess after that, jam was just inevitable!

I hadn’t received any brainwaves about interesting things to mix the boysenberries with so I went for a classic and simple 3 ingredient jam. My mum reckoned I could have bulked it out with some apple, but I still managed to get a good 8 jars of jam with just the berries!


To make the jam:

I began with washing the berries (they were already destemmed and without leaves) and boiled them in a large pot on the stovetop (yup, without any water – the berries disintegrate quickly). Once the berries disintegrated to form something of a liquid, I began adding sugar. I used a roughly 1:3 sugar ratio, but you could adjust the sweetness to suit your own taste. I was trying not to make the jam too sweet, but I guess sweetness is kind of unavoidable with berries, isn’t it? I added the sugar slowly, stirring whilst adding so it dissolved quickly. After boiling rapidly for about 20-40 mins, the jam was syrupy and ready to set. I took the jam off the stove and added the juice of 3 large lemons to ensure it set. After cooling for a little bit, I simply poured it into my pre-sterilized jars and sealed them. I was left with 8 jars of jam (of varying sizes) as back up christmas presents. Of course, I will keep one for myself! I think this particular jam will be lovely swirled through some greek yoghurt or over vanilla ice cream. It might also be nice with ricotta or mascarpone and other fruit…or even on a sweet/savoury bruschetta with a soft goat cheese. Mmmmm…the possibilites are endless….




Gingered Rhubarb Jam & DIY Vanilla Extract

In Pickles & Preserves on December 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm


One of the things I will miss most about my old flat is my garden – a labour of love for about 3 years. Before leaving I harvested it bare, taking with me scores of leeks, a big bag of kale, artichokes and a couple of kohlrabi. My new place – my grandmother’s house – does have a veggie garden (albeit smaller) though it has been badly neglected for some years. I don’t think the soil has been turned in about thirty years! All that was left in it were some gigantic rhubarb plants and some freshly planted parsley. Because the garden wasn’t very big, I decided to dig out the whole thing – a feat which was a much harder than I had imagined! The rhubarb plants were not only huge, but their roots were monstrously strong. However, eventually the garden fork and I triumphed, leaving me with an empty veggie bed and a big pile of rhubarb. And naturally, I did what I always do when presented with an abundance of fruit – I made jam.

It didn’t take long to find a recipe online that caught my eye and peaked my curiousity. It uses very little liquid and a lot of sugar. Interestingly, no liquid apart from a little bit of lemon juice though with the way it works the sugar becomes liquid once heated, leaving you with a very sweet syrupy jam. The sweetness is balanced with a real gingery kick – which I think it definitely needs.

I also tried my hand at making my own vanilla extract. I’ve seen many pins on pinterest about homemade vanilla extract; it looked so easy and so pretty, I couldn’t help but give it a go myself. Even better, when giving the kitchen a spring clean, I unearthed some cute little bottles which  were just perfect – the number even matched the number of vanilla beans I had!

All you need to do is find some little bottles or small jar, fill with one or two vanilla beans and top up with vodka, about a 1:3 ratio. I’ve seen others do it with bourbon (MMMMM, must try that too one day) but I thought I’d play it safe and do it with vodka. I can’t wait to try them in a few months time! I’m guessing the colour will only get richer as time goes on…


I promise in the next few upcoming posts I will be including some recipes with my own adaptations. Thank you so much to everyone who has liked posts or are following this blog already; I’m touched that there has been interest so quickly!

Fejoa Preserves – Chutney and Jam

In Pickles & Preserves on April 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

Like many people, I am well endowed with Fejoas at the moment. I used this abundance as an excuse for another round of preserve making. The flavours of both my jam and chutney were quite unique, to say the least!

I got the recipes from this site, which has heaps of ideas of what one could do with Fejoas.

Feijoa Jam

Feijoa Chutney

Tea Party for Theresa

In Baking, Cheese, Entertaining, Pasta, Snacks on April 14, 2012 at 4:35 am

Part I: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

Today we celebrated our lovely friend Theresa’s 23rd birthday with a tea party! We made all sorts of goodies, but one of the main features were these cupcakes. The recipe is courtesy of the wonderful Smitten Kitchen website. It is an AMAZING recipe – I highly recommend it. However,  you could probably make the alcohol portions a bit stronger, as despite the three different kinds of alcohol in these cupcakes, the taste of it isn’t strong at all! (Possibly that is a good thing, as far as the Guinness is concerned)

Seeing as it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe, there’s no point in reposting it – you can find it here.

I also made some marzipan roses to decorate the cupcakes – I don’t want to go into detail how I made them right now, though I might post about that later.

Below are a few pics of the cupcakes in various stages of their creation:

Plain Cupcake, without ganache filling or icing

Cupcake with ganache filling and icing

Cupcakes with Baileys frosting, filled with ganache and topped with marzipan roses

Cupcakes on tier

More cupcakes

Dissected to show ganache filling

Part II: Other Goodies!

Here’s a selection of some of the other goodies we served. Leave me a comment if you want the recipe for any of them as I can’t be bothered copying them all out for the sake of it! Other things we also ate (but I didn’t photograph) were pesto filled cherry tomatoes, mini BLT sandwiches as well as egg sandwiches. There was also sparkling punch made with orange juice, pineapple juice, gingerale and cider.

Stuffed Giant Pasta Shells - filled with soft buffalo feta and spinach

Potato, Apple and Camembert Terrine

Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Scones

Spongey/Butter Cream and Jam Sandwich Cake

All together, it was a great team effort from all of us – Theresa, Emma and I – so well done us!