8 October 2009

FIG JAMWhile I was in England I also managed to fit in a little jam making, and not just any jam making, but fig jam, my favourite. As luck would have it my uncle had made friends with one of the local sellers at his fruits & veg market. They just happened to have some figs that were passing their prime, but were just perfect for jam making. We bought almost 2kg for under a fiver!

Kip does not mess around when it comes to jam. The figs were washed, mashed, cooked, bottles and voilà – fig jam. And to be honest it should be that easy.  No muss no fuss. What I liked best is that the jam is not too sweet, he avoids the trap of saturating it with sugar, so that you can still taste the fruit. And just wait till your try this on a piece of hot bread, or with yogurt as a desert.

Here is another fig desert recipe to try!




19 September 2007

Pear and vanilla jam


Seasonal fruit…. a delicacy, a rejuvenation of the senses and a welcomed change with each calender month that passes. But I find it sad how people seem to be increasingly unaware of which fruit belongs to which season and thus buy on a craving basis. It is no wonder though… with the grocery stores offering strawberries, peaches, mangoes, melon… (I could go on here) 365 days a year! Unless you have tasted a hand picked, perfectly ripe, home grown fruit, how are your sense suppose to know the difference.

I am getting off my soapbox … and have decided to dedicate this post to THE PEAR‘poire william’ to be exact, currently in season and picked from the farm trees a few days ago.

There are two main types of pears in Europe, the Anjou and the William (or Bartlett as they are known in North America) Anjou pears are a hardy winter pear, light green in colour and available from the autumn through to spring. Whereas the William pears are a sweeter variety (great for jam making) golden yellow with a fleck of red and ready to pick from late summer through the autumn.



13 August 2007

Peach pink pepper jam

{CONFITURE DE PECHE ET POIVRE ROSE} First a funny fact about me and the sweet little peach…, the fuzzy skin gives me ‘les frisons’ (shivers / goose-bumps)  like scratching your nails on a chalk board – not apricots or quince, just peaches – I know I am odd!

This fact however did not hinder my enthusiasm to make jam, nor Olivier’s ability to eat it (funny that – I think he may have an addiction) As do I for pepper… white, green, black or pink, so perhaps that is the source of my inspiration to combine peaches and pink pepper (poivre rose). Pink peppercorns (schinus terebinthifolius) come from Brazil or Peru and are not in fact a true peppercorn but a dried fruit from the Baies Rose. They have a lovely soft flavour with a little spice which compliments the white peaches very sweet taste.


  • Peach season in Europe is from June to the end of September
  • End of season peaches are sweeter as they have had more sunshine
  • To easily remove peach skin, choose ripe peaches. Plunge them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then in cold water for 10 seconds. The skin will peal off easily.
  • Use lemon juice as natural pectin
  • If your peaches are not very ripe, they will not completely disintegrate when cooked and your jam will require a little hand mixing (see recipe below)



3 August 2007

Confiture abricot-romarin

{CONFITURE D’ABRICOT ET ROMARIN} I was recently on holiday in Provence when the apricot season was in full bloom. To some this is a dream come true, to my father, whose keen desire to keep up with the overly abundant apricot tree in the garden (which was apparently getting the better of him), it was a loosing battle.

By the time I arrived he couldn’t look, let alone eat another one. Help was on the way 🙂 Perfectly juicy and ripe, just waiting to be plucked and in close proximity to the rosemary bushes…. I couldn’t wait to make jam and thought how nicely the two would go together.


  • I use the juice of a lemon = natural pectin, as the thickening agent for jam
  • Certain fruits / berries such as blackberries naturally contain a high % of pectin, requiring less cooking time when making jam & little or no lemon juice