Apple Berry Jam

Apple Berry Jam

Apple Berry Jam

March sees the end of the berry and the beginning of the pomfruit season. Juicy blackberries, raspberries and brambleberries can still be found alongside hilly creekbeds. The branches of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apple trees are heavy with fruit, the ground littered with windfalls. This bounty is too good an opportunity to waste, so here is one of my favourites. A not-too-sweet, lumpy, chunky, versatile dollop of cherry coloured bliss. 

Spiced Plum Sauce

Spiced Plum Sauce

Spiced Plum Sauce

After Christmas, the first of the true Blood Plums become available. Once I have gorged myself to the point of looking like some sort of unkempt vampire, all claret coloured drool, stained shirt fronts and fingers, this sauce is high on my To-Do list. It’s a good way to use up windfall fruit or any that have been bird pecked or sunburned. It is also rich, spicy and delicious, especially with pork. No rib-feast is complete without a bowlful on the table. I glaze pork fillet with it for warm salads. I put dollops of it in gravy and stuffings. I even drizzle it on vanilla icecream ..

The Best Strawberry Jam in the Known Universe

Best Strawberry Jam in the Known Universe

Best Strawberry Jam in the Known Universe

As strange as it seems, I do have family that don’t enjoy a conserve style preserve. Not for them the visceral pleasure of scooping chunks of fruit and mashing them onto toast. Not for them the thin jelly that drizzles perfectly over a pancake. Their preference is for a more uniform texture. If Strawberry Jam for Grown Ups is a little too runny for you, or you have an aversion to alcohol in your jam, try this one. I am reliably told it really is the best in the Known Universe 🙂

Gran’s Super Lemony Curd

fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
~ Will Holt 1958.

With all due respect to Peter Paul and Mary, they did the humble lemon a great disservice when they recorded “Lemon Tree” in 1962. Far from being inedible, lemons are a delicious, tangy addition to so much of what I cook. None more so than this delightful terribly unsubtle lemon curd. On toast for breakfast, scones for morning tea, spiced apple fritters for lunch, pastries for afternoon tea, dolloped into sauces with dinner, flans for dessert and by the spoonful for midnight snacks, this is one of my very favourite things. Swirled through cheesecake, squeezed into Jammy Dodgers , slathered over pancakes or the basis for a truly cheaty lemon meringue pie, this stuff is your best friend.

Limey Passionfruit Curd

Limey Passionfruit Curd

Limey Passionfruit Curd

A few years ago, Chosen Sister ran a home business that produced jam, preserves (and everything delicious) from local, organic and/or home grown produce. She sold her “delectable comestibles” in a Farmer’s Market and very soon needed an assistant.  I didn’t so much “step” into the role as “throw myself in with wild abandon”. Those were very happy years. Long hours of foraging, researching and preparation, not to mention actually running the stall, were forgotten in the joy of her companionship.  I miss the excitement of brain-storming ever more fantastic concoctions (and ways to use them) over coffee.  Panama Red Passionfruit from a particularly lush vine in her back yard featured heavily in our plottings. The luscious curd produced from this fruit was extremely popular, each batch selling out in a few hours. We didn’t quite get fist-fights-over-the-last-jar, but it was a near thing!

There are many things I have missed since my Chosen Sister left for foreign climes. I miss singing together .. and laughing together over some very off-coloured jokes that matched our off-beat conversations. I miss her gorgeous, eccentric family .. and I miss that vine!

Spiced Apple Curd

Spiced Apple Curd

Spiced Apple Curd

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Simple, versatile and delicious. Don’t horde it for your toast, this curd is the basis for custards, flans, cakes, muffins and fruit dips .. pretty much anywhere you’d use butter and eggs. (A favourite “instant” treat in Casa de Chaos is fresh strawberries dunked in the stuff). Treat it like butter, make it in small batches and keep it in the fridge because it goes off quickly. Not that it lasts long enough to go off in this place ..  do you have any idea how many times I have caught Beloved standing at the fridge door and eating it from the jar?