What a week! Here we are again with heavy snow and I think we are all tired of it now - some Spring would be nice. Those poor lambs being born into this and all the little birds busy making their nests and pairing off are now shivering in the gloom again.
We've still managed to make progress though - The Old Smithy now boasts a small dishwasher so those of you who have been on courses will know how relieved I am that the pressure is off getting all of the mugs washed before the next round of tea! Many thanks to Trev and Rob for installing. A fresh coat of paint is now called for in the kitchen and then we will be all ready for the tasks ahead.
I've made Piccalilli - see above - and lots of wholegrain mustard, apricot jam ( frozen fruit ) and marmalade.
Really exciting news - my mobile recipe site is now published m.rosiemakesjam.com - it has lots of recipes - of course - and a lot of photographs although I still have some to do. The most exciting thing is though that you can search for a recipe by ingredient, by season, by month, and even by lifestyle. So, if you want recipes for preserves to make for say, barbeques, you can use that as your search. Also, if you have more ingredients than the recipe states, say 5kgs of plums instead of 3 you can scale the whole recipe up, see what other ingredients you may need and shop for them before you go home! More recipes will be added as I find time to do this and I hope it will be a really useful tool for preservers on the move. Optimised for phones or tablets and you can also use it on your laptops or computers of course - let me know what you think.
I have been asked to speak at the WiRE National Conference so look forward to seeing some of you there. I am also going to Jamie Oliver's The Big Feastival in August - tickets for the event have just gone on sale and will disappear quickly so get on and buy them if you intend going. I will be making jam all weekend so come round and have a chat or ask me a difficult question in front of the audience!
I also filmed a DVD on Thursday which was a lot more difficult than I was expecting - we did get through it - eventually - and I will be able to tell you more about that soon. Some of you know that I can talk for Britain but I just wasn't on form yesterday and unable to string two sentences together! Hard to believe, I know.
Many of you will have seen the controversy in the press about Michelle McKenna wanting to get the legal definition for the sugar content in jam reduced from 60% to 50% to accommodate her apple based product. The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers are working on a response with our patron, Pam Corbin and will be contacting DEFRA as soon as the consultation period on this is opened. In the meantime, a lot of you have been contacting me saying that you agree with the proposal because you add 50% sugar when making jam artisanally and 60% is too high. Please remember that the sugar content from the fruit is also included in this 60% and below 60% the jam will be difficult to set and will not keep without refrigeration - so be careful which proposal you support if you wish to maintain the traditional methods! You can make your opinion known on the website of The Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers and this will help to form the submission to DEFRA.
Finally, I found a bargain in my local supermarket - mangoes on a 2 for 1 offer. So, I snapped some up and made some Mango Chutney today - which is really easy and very delicious. You'll never buy it again if you make this - and its a great thing to make at this time of year when there is not much else around. The recipe I use is shown below for a Sweet Mango Chutney, but you can always add some sliced red chilli about 5 minutes before the end of cooking time if you prefer it hotter.
SWEET MANGO CHUTNEY
1.8kgs/4lbs mangoes, de-stoned, peeled and cubed 2 peeled and chopped onions
450g/1lb cooking apples, peeled and chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed
600ml/1 pint malt vinegar 4 teaspoons ground ginger
400g/14oz demerara sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Makes about 10-11 190ml/7oz jars
Wash the jars and put into a low oven to dry.
Sprinkle the prepared mango with the salt and leave to one side while you prepare the apples and onions
Put vinegar and sugar into a pan and heat gently, stirring, to dissolve the sugar
Add the mangoes, apple, onion, garlic and ginger and slowly bring to the boil
Simmer gently for about 1 hour until thick
Pot into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately
Delicious with curry, of course, and in sandwiches with cheese or cold meats