30 August 2010

Smokey with undertones of coffee...

Took a baking break and made me some jam ! Strawberry and raspberry last week... a bit random as I had left over berries from a cake and left over sugar from i don't know when...

Anyways, so about 700g be
rries to 400-500g jam sugar, JAM sugar I say (sugar with additional pectin to help the jam set) and juice of half a lemon. No method, just threw it all in the pan and bubbled away on a rolling boil for about 15mins, stirring occassionally... turned out sooooo good... the raspberry really enhances the flavour, some may have issue with the seeds, though i liked the extra texture, as well as big juicey strawberry bits... YUM ! :) Anyways, it only made 2 jars and a bit... and I gave them both away so i was only left with the "bit"... :P

During the following week, I found myself watching the "Great British Bakeoff"... a nice bit of baking fun, in the theme of masterchef for the oven, though with less dramatic music and no Greg and John to shout at you that you are out of tim
e. Anyways, theme this week was biscuits, and master artisan breadman and judge Paul Hollywood showed his hand at making the ultimate scone, suitable for royalty! :) I have to admit, scones are not really my thing... though they looked good... poofy high yet light insideand Mr L loves a good cream tea. So against my usual resistance to following recipes, I actual copied it (click here for recipe) down with a mind to give it a go this weekend. Unusual, as he uses bread flour, rather than the usual plain or self raising you see in other recipes, maybe something to do with the gluten? Also, he used a surprisingly low butter content - how would that fair? Divine is the answer. Rich and light... very good indeed. Mr Hollywood, you are the don.

Though really, my ulterior motive if I am honest is that with fresh scones, I thought it would be a good excuse to make som
e more lovely jam... actually, conserve. As apparently, cream teas are with conserve, not jam (as per Mr L). So this time, I was prepared, Friday night, whizzed around supermarket, got me a kilo of strawberries, and nabbed a bag of sugar... and was good to go.
Hulled strawberries, and layered with sugar in a big pan the night before, apparentl
y doing this firms up the strawberries before cooking. Yesterday morning brought the mixture to the boil (strawberries had been macerated, and were now swimming in beautiful juices)... again, left on a rolling boil for 20 mins with a squeeze of a lemon. Strange... it didn't seem to thicken like last time... even when cooled... it was still like strawberry soup... what had gone wrong?!! Method was the same... recipe was proportionally the same, I don't know what happened!? Left it till the afternoon, hoping that it was just a temperature thing, though to no avail. Decided to throw it all back to the pan to cook for a bit longer. Caught a glimpse of the sugar bag, the PRESERVE sugar... preserve... NOT jam sugar... it didn't have the additional pectin, and strawberries are a soft fruit with low pectin .... THAT is why it didn't set... DUH! I bought the wrong sugar... what a muppet. I remembered I had a bottle of natural apple pectin in the cupboard, so thought I could save the jam... poured in half a bottle... left it for maybe 5 mins... and boy, was that a bad idea... it burnt... not just a little heady synge... a full-on stick-to-the-bottom of your pan like toffee burned sugar, pectin strawberry mixture. Mr L said it smelt like strawberry coffee... alas... poor jam wannabe... RIP

Cake below was the original cake that gave up the leftover berries the first time around...

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