Plums & strawberries!

 Autumn Strawberries What a wonderful day. Wednesday’s can be well.. a little bit boring!  but not today! I was lucky enough to discover a wonderful farm shop http://www.durleighmarshfarmshop.co.uk. Where I picked up some homegrown plums and meet some wonderful people. I even stopped to enjoy the on-site farm cafe and indulged in a little homemade cake and a set me up for the day coffee! ( Its a great place for pick your own, with a few other wonderful little places to discover working alongside the farm) I had stopped longer than I had anticipated and it was time to make my return journey back into the New Forest, where yesterday I had stumbled across a new patch of autumn strawberries, and at this time of year they needed picking asap.  Wow what a taste, it was like a first kiss sweet and tingly. So what went into the pan? First off plums, with a little Amaretto a favorite for some of you. Naturally I do a naked plum. The strawberries I steeped in sugar and added a little something special, these lovelies will be on the stove tomorrow.Yes tomorrow? well I’ve been tipped off about an apple tree, I have  not seen in the forest before, so will I be cooking a new recipe or firm Favorite ? I let you know tomorrow.  

Jam it’s not just for toast!

Dinning Divas, what a super event, well organized with lots of wonderful friendly people. And of course a wonderful lunch served in the beautiful function room at the Captains Club Christchurch. If you’re never book one of these events may I suggest that you do and do it soon. The next luncheon is on the 7th of November at the wonderful Chewton Glen, Guest Speaker Diana Moran of ‘Green Goddess’ fame.Contact Paula Cheshire 01590 613026 or emailpaula@oakhavenhospice.co.uk So I would just like to thank the Dinning Divas ladies for making me feel part of the family. During our little chat I mentioned a few different ideas to eat your jam, so as promised ladies, the recipes.

The Monkfish & lime Marmalade.

Monkfish & lime Marmalade

  • 2 (225g) fillets monkfish
  • 2 tablespoons Naked Jam’s lime marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chopped root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  1.  Place the monkfish onto tin foil. In a bowl, whisk together the lime marmalade, root ginger and soy sauce. Pour the marinade over the fish and with another sheet of tin foil, fold the edges to form a parcel. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a shallow baking dish with the rapeseed oil.
  3.  Transfer the fish and marinade to the prepared baking dish.
  4.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the flesh turns white and flakes
  5. Served on a bed of salad with or with crushed new potatoes and fresh wilted greens.
  6. Wine choose something like the Mâcon-Vergisson, La Roche, Nadine et Maurice Guerrin 2010.

Buck naked Martini

(served at the White Buck Burley)
  • A shot of a citrus flavour vodka
  • ½ shot of Elderflower syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of naked Strawberry Jam,
  • Ice.
Place all the ingredients into a large jar place the lid of the jar and shake like Tom cruise. Now using a tea strainer strain into a frosted glass. Enjoy

Time Flies!

So season’s sprung early, the pan went on and the next time I look up,  it’s  September ! So for a very, very quick catch up on the last few months, here goes:

Spring started with a hop and a skip into the Marmalade Awards and I was very lucky to win a Silver Award for my Organic Marmalade at this wonderful festival.  This world class award is not only open to working marmalade makers, it’s open to everyone so please take a look and  support it by entering  it’s great fun so go on and give it a go http://www.dalemainmarmaladeawards.co.uk/

Jam is not just for toast! Sad times were then to follow, the world’s greatest cook, my inspiration, my mom  passed away in my arms. A difficult, and very heart breaking time. It all happened around the time I was filmed for Home Comforts with James Martin,  sadly she missed it by just two days! She loved watching James Martin and I am only hoping that she got to see it from above!  If you haven’t seen it check it out here /www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Qar-zphvc. I sat and watched it when it was aired on TV drinking champagne from jam jars with friends

Jam Cocktail I filled the rest of the days making Jam and fitted in a few other activities which  included a jam cocktail master class at The White Buck in Burley along  with Conker Gin and Belinda Clarke marshmallows.  I also spent a delightful afternoon at Sparsholt food festival giving a jam workshop and managed to fit in the New Forest Show and Carfest as well. To Round off nicely, I was lucky enough to be invited on  a fascinating garden tour of the Chewton Glen with Darren and Anne-some of the best gardener’s I know www.chewtonglen.com


So, what’s next?  Lunch on the 12th September with the wonderful Dining Divas at the Captains Club Hotel all in aid of a very special charity Oakhaven Hospice  www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk

Rhubarb

rhubarb

I only found out only recently it belongs to the Brassica family and although not a cauliflower, it does belong in the leaf vegetable section of plants! Alongside asparagus, seakale, and even bamboo shoots.

It’s believed to be derived from a wild Siberian species and it is documented that it may even be a hybrid origin. (So my dad tells me) Although a vegetable it is used like a fruit. It’s almost always cooked with sugar especially used in pies, crumbles and even made into wine. But best of all it makes great tasting jam.

It’s February and it feels the like the winter is still set on making it hard and difficult for us warm up! But the rhubarb has other ideas! Fresh from the garden with their bright pink stems it has brought a breath of early spring into the kitchen. Oranges are fresh in from Spain and they cast a warm glow of meditation sunshine across the fruit bowl.  As the days are starting to linger I have time to think about cooking these tactile fruits and I wonder how to bring them together in marriage that will last (well at least 12 mouthfuls!) Bingo a jam is born!

rhubarb_jam

Prep

  • 2kg of Rhubarb (chopped into 1inch chunks)
  • Take two medium oranges, zest peel and chop add the zest and fruit (not the pith) to the Rhubarb.
  • Layer the fruit in a bowl with 2 kg of sugar cover with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight.
  • The following day your see the sugar has started to dissolve and the rhubarb is bathing in pink sugar syrup, it smells like heaven and is starting to make me think of all the wonder things it will go with, from tarts to toast! I can hardly wait.
  • I place the fruit into a jam pan and warm it slowly through until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and check every so often for setting point (pop a small amount onto a saucer and check for wrinkling) It’s not a hard set so don’t be tempted to overcook it.
  • Pour into sterilised clean jars and seal with a new lid. Keeps up to 12 months.
   

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Jennifer Williams

Chief Jam Maker

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