Before we moved to France I used to keep jars in the anticipation I would find time/supplies to make delicious jam to share with my friends and neighbours. The usual scenario was:
- Make one batch of something each year
- Get really motivated and excited and collect jars until they were spilling all over the floor of my small galley kitchen in North London
- Realise I wasn’t going to make anything very soon and recycle said jars
- Suddenly get a crate of apples or blackberries…then scramble around try to find jars!
Now, I do have a big stock of jars, spilling all over the floor…but the difference is I actually use them on a regular basis (that said, I probably have a few too many and should probably do a sort/recycling run). Total mea culpa….I am still learning. While I can say most of my jams taste fine, I clearly need to learn patience as a few of them aren’t as set as they should be, so a bit more compote-y than jam-y. Like I said, I am learning.
My latest ‘thing’ is moving in to cordials and shrubs (and my tried and true goats milk caramel – Cajeta!). With summer imminent it is time to stock up for sipping chilled drinks on the terrace….and you can only drink so much rose. 😉
My latest effort is a celebration of Rhubarb, with a rhubarb ginger cordial and rhubarb -strawberry compote which is great on yoghurt! (recipe from the fabulous David Lebovitz, replacing the Kirsch with the local aperitif – Quercy des Iles). Only mistake/new find was grabbing the jar of chestnut honey instead of the acacia for the cordial….I realised once it was all bubbling away (chestnut honey has a strong distinct perfume), but it turns out it works well with the ginger and rhubarb and makes for a pleasantly perfume-y coridal. Phew.
I have a range of different types of basil, some lemongrass and physalis sprouting on my terrace…so I see some interesting combos coming out later in the summer. Oh yes, and some blackberries from last year in the freezer I need to use up—hmmm, a blackberry and bay shrub maybe?