A few miles down the road from where I used to live as a child, was a Jam factory called Moorhouses and Sons. Whenever I used to visit the dentist across the road from the factory, (what an irony) there was always a wonderful waft of sugary sweet fruit in the air. When the wind was in the right direction, the aroma would travel the 3 or so miles to where I lived.
I’ve made a few jams over the years, some successful, some not so. Getting the set right has often been a problem. But not any more. Last week I was invited by Thermapen to a jam workshop at La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School
The Workshop at La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School
Our tutor for the day was Mary Cardogan. A food writer and author of 18 cookery books spanning 35 years and has worked as deputy editor, then food director of BBC Good Food magazine for over a decade.
I was inspired to get jamming again, after listening to Mary’s enthusiasm about how easy and rewarding it can be to make your own delicious perfect jam. “Just make small batches”, Mary says. No-one wants a hoard of forgotten jars in the back of the cupboard. I have to confess to having had a couple of large Kilner jars of jam on my shelves for almost 2 years having never opened them. They still tasted good. Small batches from now on.
What I made
Mary explained that her Master Jam recipe can be used with most fruits, and that’s just want we did. I chose Peaches or were they Nectarines? Peaches have a velvety skin, while Nectarines are a lot smoother. I then chose to add a mix of Raspberries and Blackberries. With a total weight of 1kg, that’s with the Peach skins and stones removed.
Thick skins from fruits such as Peaches/Nectarines can become a little tough when cooked. Not nice in a jam.
I added my fruit and Jam sugar to a large, heavy based, deep sided pot, along with a good slug of Cassis Liqueur to complement the Raspberries and Blackberries.
In no time at all I was jamming.
And with the help of the Thermapen to guide me, my boiling fruit and sugar soon came up to setting point. A word of caution here. Boiling jam can be dangerous stuff and will splash you when the rapid boil gets going. If you do get splashed, run the offending wound under a running tap of cold water to help stop the swelling. Take care when children are around as hot jam will stick to skin and continue to burn, which could cause nasty burns and scars, if not treated quickly.
Our small jars were already being sterilised in the ovens and with one final glug of Cassis Liqueur, and a quick stir of the pot, I was done within the hour. 5 jars of delicious jam to bring home. We went around the rest of the group to taste each others.
One flavour that stood out for me was the Greengage and Bay. I have a small Bay Leaf plant in my garden, I just need to get the Greengages.
A lovely day
I had a wonderful day and the La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School. We were very pleasantly surprised with a visit from Frances Quinn who came with one of her delicious fake cakes. I did a double take as I thought I was looking at two large slices of toast and jam. It was a simple Victoria Sponge recipe which Frances sliced and then toasted under the grill. It tasted delicious. Toasted cake for breakfast anyone?
We all came away with a very generous goody bag that included a Thermapen, and a signed copy of one of Mary’s Books ‘Good Food Cake and Bakes.
Giancarlo Caldesi, who founded of La Cucina Caldesi cookery school along with Katie Caldesi, dropped by to say hello. What a delight it was to be also gifted a signed copy of their book ‘The Gentle Art of Preserving’.
- Top Ten Tips for Making the perfect Jam.
- Get Mary’s Master Jam Recipe
- You can buy Thermapan via their website WWW.Thermapen.co.uk
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