- Never make more than 10lb (10 standard jars) at any time. The less time spent in cooking the jam, the better the final colour and flavour.
- Choose firmly ripe, fresh fruit, picked dry. Wet fruit will affect the set and flavour of the jam.
- Prepare the fruit removing any stalks and bruised flesh, only wash if necessary.
- Use a large, heavy based saucepan. The pan should never be more than half full.
- Add water only of the recipe says so.
- Bring fruit to the boil, then simmer gently to break down any skin and to extract the pectin.
- Pectin is a substance in fruit that reacts with acid when heated, creating the setting agent. Fruits vary in their pectin and acid content.
- Jam sugar has added pectin and is ideal for fruits that are low in pectin helping jam to set.
- Do not cover the pan as water evaporation is essential.
- Underboiling causes jam to be too runny and overboiling makes it sticky.
- Test the set by dropping a spoonful of jam onto a refrigerated saucer and seeing if the top crinkles when you run your finger or a spoon across it.
- Warming the sugar in a low oven (110C) will shorten the cooking time. Preserving sugar consists of large crystals of sugar which dissolve evenly producing less froth when boiling.
- Remove any scum with a slotted spoon once the jam is ready to pot. A nut sized piece of butter at the end of the cooking will help reduce the scum.
- Cool the jam for 5 to 10 mins before potting, then stir again to help evenly distribute the fruit and stop it from rising to the top of the jars.
- Always warm jars in a low oven to sterilise and prevent cracking from the hot jam.
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- choose firm, ripe fruit
- preserving sugar has bigger crystals which dissolve more evenly
- test for set by seeing if a skin forms when dropping some jam onto a chilled saucer
- always warm the jars in the oven
Cradle has got a real Hoxton/Shoreditch look about it and also the kind of place you could imagine finding Gwyneth or Madonna. The tiny cafe/bakery was buzzing with activity when we went for lunch last week and it's obviously quite the meeting place for the yummy mummies and the cool vegans of Sudbury. Simple and stylish, it's completely plant based with everything made from scratch on site, including nut butters and an excellent rooibos based fermented kombucha (so hipster, so refreshing). Bread is baked on site, with house milled rye, wheat and spelt flour used in the proper crusty loaves. There's also some very tempting patisserie on display. A small blackboard menu offers an interesting and surprisingly fancy range of dishes with thankfully no fakin' bacon but just prime, fresh ingredients superbly cooked.
- the kombucha story
- a simple blackboard menu
- a glass of kombucha and juice of the day (parsley,kale,apple, lemon and coco)
- kombucha fermenting
- pan fried polenta, spinach, bechamel and toasted hazelnuts
- pear danish pastry
- mushroom a la grecque with dill cream cheese, herbs on toasted sourdough - the house tartine
- drum roll please for a classic brioche Tropezienne with a creme anglaise ( and yes, even without eggs and cream it tasted better than most creme anglaises we've been served elsewhere)
- walnut and caramel tart with vanilla icecream
- hummus of wild garlic, half a loaf, olive oil and beet balsamic
Why are all the decent pubs I've been to recently near Woodbridge? Last week I took Mr SuffolkFoodie to The Turks Head for a late Sunday lunch, as I'd been invited by Jemima the owner. Jemima was actually away on holiday, so I was sorry not to meet her. Still, I admire an owner who offers a review meal and shows such enormous confidence in the staff ... and the staff were brilliant, all quite clearly trained in their roles, and friendly, without hovering or being stifling. The Turks Head is a family and dog friendly gastropub with the Hasketon countryside providing some great local walks. (Handy PDF downloads for 11 guided walks are provided on the website). Even at 5pm, on an early April evening, the terrace was busy with families who looked as though they were stopping for mid walk refreshments. There's also a proper pentanque pitch, which has been added to my list of 'must investigate further, it could be fun' activities. The Sunday lunch is a set menu of 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses £24. I was hoping to try the Gressingham duck steamed dumplings which apparantly are a favourite of the regulars, but they had eaten them all, and so the replacement dish was an oriental duck salad with hoisin, which came garnished with wafer thin hot and piquant pickled ginger. A Caesar style, wild turbot salad had crunchy homemade croutons, whole anchovy fritters and with a very generous amount of wild turbot soldiers, a novel and very good take on the classic version. Spotted also on the menu was a foraged nettle soup which sounded tempting. The head chef, Mauri is a classically French trained chef who was born in India and has worked in many high profile establishments, the menu reflecting his eclectic range of cooking styles from around the globe. The highlight dish of our lunch undoubtedly being a local venison bhuna masala with rice, papad and raita. It is probably the best curry I've had between Southall and Leicester with powerful spicing providing the punch required of a great curry. Tender, pink roast sirloin of beef was topped by an impressive and very large Yorkshire pudding and was served with side dishes of tomatoey ratatouille, roasted carrots, celeriac and a cauliflower cheese. We finished with a banoffee pie (Birdy our delightful waitress telling us that the customers had petitioned when the pudding had been removed from the menu, so now reinstated) and Hamish Johnston selected British cheeses, which included a Perl Las, a Godminster organic Cheddar and Ellingham goats cheese. Behind the bar is a great range of local cask ales and my favourite Aspalls cyder and notably an excellent range of interesting soft drinks for the driver. There are three sittings for Sunday lunch starting at 12 midday with the last sitting at 5pm.
- Dogs are welcome
- Oriental duck salad with hoisin
- Caesar style wild turbot salad, croutons, anchovies
- Roast sirloin of Suffolk beef, Yorkshire oudding, red wine gravy with lovely seasonal vegetables
- Local venison bhuna masala, rice, papad, raita
- Banoffee pie, toffee sauce, caramelised banana
- British cheeses from Hamish Johnston
- Families are welcome
- the dining room
We were thrilled to receive this parcel in the post; a selection of cheeses from The Fine Cheese Co. Delighted also that we were sent a selection to review called Sisters in Cheese, a one off selection created especially with Mothers Day in mind - the three cheeses recognising women's roles as cheese-makers down the ages, and a tribute to today's 'dairymaids'. A very appropriate range in time for our own Mothers Day lunch where my three daughters thought that it meant a cheese each! We're all cheese lovers in my house and considering that all three daughters worked for me at some point waitressing in my restaurant where only English cheeses were served they've had to learn their stuff, so I didn't mind sharing.
The selection included a Sharpham Brie which is a raw, Jersey cow's milk cheese made in Devon on the Sharpham Estate. Rich, delicate and creamy with an unctuous texture. The cheesemaker is Debbie Mundford.
A baby Curworthy, a pasteurised cow's milk cheese dating back to the 17th century, and thought to be even older than Cheddar. Smooth, firm and mellow with a creamy flavour and made by Rachel Stevens.
Wigmore, a raw, Ewe's milk cheese with a gentle, delicate flavour and made in Berkshire by Anne Wigmore.
The Fine Cheese Co is based in Bath, with a branch also in London just around the corner from Harvey Nicks. If you are unable to visit then the online selections and cheese gifts are very tempting with a frequently changing cornucopia of cheeses to choose from. I even spotted our own Suffolk produced Baron Brigod. My parcel arrived in great shape, with ice pack keeping it cool and the cheese all in perfect shape. A handy caring for your cheese and cheese etiquette leaflet included too.
- well packaged including an ice pack to keep cool
- cheese and fridge etiquette
- unwrapped and bringing to room temperature
So while we are told to avoid burnt toast, charcoal remains the trendy detox, teeth whitening hangover cure. Popular in the good old U.S of A is the black coconut ash ice cream from Morgenstern. Noo Yawk.
The EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards 2017 close for entries at midnight on Wednesday 8th March. The EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards are a celebration of our flavoursome county. With its proud heritage of farming, coastal fishing and brewing, few places can boast the rich variety of produce found in Suffolk. The county’s producers and purveyors grow, rear, catch and cook some of the best food and drink to be found in Britain. From independent butchers, bakers and farm shops, to neighbourhood pubs, vibrant cafes and fine dining restaurants, the EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards recognise and reward them all. Enter or nominate a business now!
What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.
Whenever I go to Great Yarmouth I call in at Northgate Fish to see what Paul Williams has caught in his boat. As well as being a local fisherman for over thirty years he's also a Caister lifeboatman and knows all about the sea. It's also the only place I know that you can still buy a traditonal Yarmouth bloater or a Red Herring which he smokes in his own smokehouse at Caister
With the help of my amazing niece Afiya Frank (pictured) I'm in full swing with my Little House of Cooking Cafe. For those of you that don't know I get stuck in for a couple of months from the end of October until Christmas running the cafe during the Christmas Festival at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham. It's been so busy, baking madly with no time to blog and hardly time to sleep. Come and visit us if you get time, we are open from 10am until 4pm everyday up until and including 22nd December. It's not just cakes, we serve a very good Welsh Rarebit too!
- Home made soup every day
- Citrus almond and polenta cake ( no gluten)
- Pecan tarts
- Hot chocolate ... the works
- Al fresco on craft weekends
- Mulled wine caravan for craft weekends
Bang on at Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Tom's Salty Shack ...four fabulously fresh Mersea Island oysters and a glass of Prosecco. £8.00.
- and a glass of Prosecco
- dancing with the Morris Men later
- a bamboo plate of four fabulously fresh oysters
Always the best, authentic Caribbean food and in typical West Indian style not always the full menu available. But if you go on Nyammings Night (Thurs 5-10pm) you get all you can eat for about £20 which always includes delicious dishes like this curry goat, Johny Cakes and plantains.