Saturday, 12 November 2011
Make of our hands one hand: Let's make Christmas
I was so very excited when Vanessa Kimbell announced Let's Make Christmas, I had allsorts of ideas for my contributions, and had planned to spend some time making things over the last week. Then I got a cold, which was uncomfortable, and annoying, but ultimately not the end of the world. Then I had a fit and broke my wrist, which was also uncomfortable and annoying and felt like the end of the world. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to participate as I had planned to utlise Fourth Friern Barnet Guide power (TM) at the sleepover we had planned this weekend as I was planning to contribute things to make with your children. And not having children, Guides are the next best thing.
So Plan A was, to put not to fine a point on it, stuffed. Some tears and a small tantrum were had, before Mark and his mum came to the rescue. I'm not submitting the planned liebkuchen, but we put our heads together and thought, well what can you do with a borked wrist and a stinking cold if you are planning to Make Christmas? And then we realised - raid your cupboard of jam. Having spent a large part of this year practicing preserving I thought instead of struggle to make something and be dissapointed in it. I would do exactly what I will do if I'm still splinted/ casted up come Christmas, and that is use the things I've been putting by. But prettify them for Christmas.
So my first submission (yes, there's more than one!) for Let's make Christmas is a terrific trio:
My first jam, jelly & marmalade.
Seville Orange & whiskey marmalade
Crabapple jelly - the recipe for which I haven't blogged, so will add it here when I'm back home <watch this space> as I'm currently being looked after by Mark.
2 3/4 lb Crab Apples
1 lb sugar per pint of extract
Cut the crab apples into quarters. Don't bother to try and peel them, they are far too small and will be straining anyway so will lose the skin, pips etc.
Put the fruit in a pan, with cloves and 1 1/2 pints of water.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about an hour until soft and pulpy. Stir from time to time to make sure it doesn't catch on the bottom of your pan.
Spoon the pulp into your incredibly effective, purpose built pillowcase filtration device or jelly bag if you use one. Personally the swearing and bulldog clips involved in getting a pillowcase to stay on an upturned chair on my kitchen table and not fall in to the mixing bowl just adds to the experience for me. No, really.
Strain for at least 12 hours, DO NOT STIR. What you want is a gloriously clear jelly and giving in to the temptation to push the pulp through will make your jelly cloudy.
Measure your extract, and for each pint weigh out 1 lb of sugar (when you get to half pints, find someone friendly who can do maths if you are anything like me).
Stir and heat gently until the sugar is disolved.
Turn up the heat and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. This took about 10 minutes, but will depend on how wet your fruit is.
I only got 3 jars of jelly from these quantities, like quinces, crab apples clearly don't like giving up their wares. That said, this is lovely, slightly tart jelly that goes really well with a ploughmans or pork dishes.