Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The sudden rainstorm has brought unexpectedly welcome hot food, pasta bakes and mash potatoes, and being stuck inside always sends me back to the kitchen. It's some kind of nesting instinct, I think. In my continuing mission to turn into a country grandma before my time, I had my first go at jam-making on Monday night. I washed and chopped strawberries and rhubarb (half and half), added 2/3 of their weight in sugar, a good squeeze of orange and lemon juice (1 of each), and boiled the whole lot in my biggest pan. (To test for set, you just put a saucer in the freezer, then remove and drop a teaspoon of jam in the middle. You can see the set once it cools a little.) It took around 20 minutes (and more lemon juice) to set, softly, and made four jars. I'm not going to post the recipe yet. I think I need another try, with less sugar, and perhaps adding some extra strawberries near the end, so that they stay whole.

We ate my ruby-glowing jam with scones (Delia's decades-old recipe works wonderfully, despite modern versions with fancy-pants buttermilk) and clotted cream. It's a good way to shake off a grumpy mood, and there seem to have been a few of those in our house lately.

We're cooking for our friends tomorrow night - I think I'll try out the jam on them, even though they don't like rhubarb; Steve is going to cook his Quorn Stroganoff, which takes him all of about fifteen minutes. To add to the table (and fend off hungriness - I always worry that guests will be hungry at the end of the evening) I think I might also make some feta and sundried tomato bread, depending on how organised I feel tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I'm drinking my low-cal hot chocolate, and watching the rain...