apricot jam

I've always had problems with apricot jam, but from now on, this is my method. I'm so absurdly pleased with how this turned out. The big change to how I've made apricot jam in the past is to soften the fruit first in a few cups of water. Stirring well. This reduces the risk of the sugar catching or burning before the fruit has pulped. For some of my thoughts on jam making in general, see here. Especially the bit about having someone else looking after small children. And the big pot.

  • 2-3 kilo of apricots including some that are on the green side
  • white sugar, the same weight as the prepared fruit
  • juice of two lemons (optional, but perhaps at the end)
  • jars and cellophane covers
To make
  • Wash fruit being diligent to remove all insects and bird shit.
  • Wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse in vinegar water (or better yet run them through the dishwasher).
  • Place jars on a tray in warmed oven and turn the heat off.
  • Stone fruit and cut out any blemishes or bird damage.
  • Weigh fruit and make a written note of the weight of prepared fruit.
  • Place fruit in big pot with several cups of water, bring to boil and stir and watch to make sure none of the fruit catches or burns and that just a little liquid remains.
  • Once the fruit has softened and become pulpy, turn off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Add equal weight of sugar (from your note) to fruit and bring back up to the boil.
  • Stir occasionally, making sure fruit is not sticking.
  • It should take about twenty minutes or so but this will depend on how much water needs to be boiled off.
  • When the jam is nearly ready the bubbles become thicker and when you stir into the corners there are little explosions of heat.
  • Remove jam from heat and test for set by putting a little on a plate, allowing to cool and pushing your finger along the plate through the jam. The jam will set if it wrinkles when you do this.
  • Taste for sweet sour balance. I added the juice of two lemons to a six kilo mix and it made the flavours sparkle. I imagine some fruit would need this and some wouldn't, so doing this step at the end makes sense to me.
  • Allow to cool slightly before skimming, pouring into prepared jam jars and sealing with cellophane.
  • Clean up and maybe shower away all the sugar and sweat, have a long cold drink and give yourself a big pat on the back.

Sago plum pudding

This is the pudding my Nan used to make. Now Mum makes it and I guess, but hopefully not for a long time, it'll be my turn. I did make it once but didn't dissolve the sago properly and spilt all the brandy over the back of my car on the way to lunch. A subject for a few jokes that day, especially as I was working as a cook then.

Not sure about the quantities here. I think Mum makes two so there'll be leftovers for breakfast on boxing day. Mmm. Also need to get the recipe for the sauce. It's a great recipe though, puddinging but not too heavy.

2 tablespoons of sago
1 cup of milk
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of raisins (or mixed fruit?)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

To MakeSoak sago in milk overnight.
Melt butter.
Add wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour into a greased (greased and lined) pudding container and set on a trivet and boil in plenty of water for three hours.
Rest slightly before turned out and setting alight with warmed brandy and eating with spice sauce, crean and icecream.