Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Blackberry Jam

And for my 100th post, a last farewell to the UK, in the form of making a huge batch of jam from all the blackberries I have foraged over the last few years, sadly residing at the bottom of the freezer until I remembered them, a few days before the move.

  • 2.5 kg fruit (blackberries)
  • 1.5 kg sugar
  • juice of two citrus fruits (I used oranges, lemons are more traditional)

Pick through the blackberries and make sure all the insects and bramble have been removed. Heat them in a very large jam pot, along with the sugar and citrus juice. In the meantime, put two clean plates in the freezer. Stir the jam occasionally, and when it begins to leave a jelly-like residue on the sides of the pot, put a small dollop on one of the clean plates and put it back in the freezer. Time one minute, then remove the plate and run your finger through the dollop. If the jam immediately flows back in to replace the clean streak, keep simmering the jam. When the plate test shows that the jam has thickened, you can turn the heat off, and bottle it in pre-sterilised jam jars. Keeps... well, probably for a few years at least! I'll ask my family in a few years, as they were the major beneficiaries of this batch!


Between getting married and moving house, I foolishly didn't have time to submit this post before I left the UK! So it's a little out-of-date, but still a great recipe :)

It's a tradition at my workplace to bring in cakes or other delicious goodies on your birthday, or when you have an important event to celebrate. With around fifty people who might bring in a cake at any moment, that can mean quite a lot of cake to eat over a week! I have a rule so I can still get through doors at the end of the day: never eat anything that isn't home made. So of course when I bring in my own celebration cakes, I always bring in a product of my kitchen, some things more successful than others!

To say farewell to the group after nearly six years, I thought it a good plan to make a traditional English high tea mainstay, scones. It's summer and these go wonderfully with lots of summer fruits like raspberries and strawberries; in winter they're more seasonal with dollops of thick sweet jam. I popped by the market and bought several punnets, and made a quadruple recipe of scones. They went down wonderfully, and it turns out a pint of cream is a lot, even for fifty people!

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 75g butter
  • 45g sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 210 C. Blend the flour and butter together in a food mixer until finely crumbed. Whoosh in the sugar, then turn into a large mixing bowl. Combine the egg and buttermilk in another bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir together until a thick dough is formed; if necessary to wetten, add another tbsp or two of buttermilk.

Using  your hands, roll the dough into a large ball, then roll out flat. Use a cookie-cutter or the top of a glass or mug to make 2"-diameter circles, about 1" thick, and lay them on a baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden. Serve within a few hours, as they are best warm.