A DAY OF BAKING AND JAM MAKING

It was another dull, dreary January day, not suitable for doing anything outside. In that case, let’s stay in the kitchen and do something useful – like making more jam. Last year I made some jars of spiced blackberry and apple jam and it was so popular that it went so fast I couldn’t believe it.

I was sorting out the frozen fruit in one of my small freezers and found a bag of blackberries. It was obvious what to do – make more of than yummy jam.

That worked very well, so next on the list was some baking. I always make the sourdough loaf and that has to be started the night before. It is such a tasty loaf that the extra effort is well worth it. While that was going on I started the dough for my brioche.

Well, I call it brioche but in fact it is a traditional challah recipe (second one in this article). The overall result of my activities is very good. I don’t braid the dough but make two round loaves – just as good and easier to keep in the bread bin. Happiness is ……

ONE AFTERNOON…

and all this is done.

Of course, I had to pick the fruit first. Thanks to my fruit cage the birds don’t get a chance to steal my currants or gooseberries. The redcurrants are really plentiful this year – it must be something to do with all the horse manure that I put round them last autumn.

The raspberries are not covered but somehow the birds leave them alone – perhaps they don’t see the fruit so well, as it is hidden amongst the leaves.

Anyway, I had enough of the redcurrants to make some jam, did that the other day, but the highlight of today was making jelly. I boiled the fruit, stalks and all, last night, let it drip overnight and just measured it and added the suger today and finished it. When I was boiling the fruit I added a bunch of mint to it as the jelly is meant to be served with cheese or cold meat.

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While all this was going on I had one bowl with my sourdough bread rising – having started last night; I’ve got to plan making my bread as it takes some time but it is worth it!

The other bowl had the dough for a brioche (challah) – that is much quicker so in the end I had one loaf and two round loaves of brioche in the kitchen, right next to the jam and jelly.

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A perfect partnership!

A NEW RECIPE

I like the Guardian on Saturday – it’s the only day we actually buy the paper and that usually keeps me going for a number of days. The magazine is very often a source of new recipes and it was just like that this weekend. I must admit that when I look at the recipes in the magazine I first look at the list of ingredients because at times they’re so exotic that I just can’t be bothered. This time I was completely won over and had to try it. It shows how ‘normal’ it was – I had everything to hand so no sooner said than done…

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Yotam Ottolengi is one of my favourites as his recipes are the ones I like best and they seem to be manageable by ordinary cooks.

This is the second batch – the first one I made yesterday and we managed to eat it – first part last night with a few glasses of wine and today for breakfast with coffee. Very continental, it also reminds me of my home where my Grandma was used to bake something very similar – vánočka.