Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Feeling Fruity

There's a fruity fest going on here in the HenHouse.  At the weekend, Bridport market was awash with yummy local Somerset strawberries (yes, Bridport is in Dorset but it is close to the border with Somerset, about 15 miles).  So, what do you get when you combine...

Yes, it's that time of year again, jam making time.  Of all my preserves, strawberry jam is probably the one most frequently requested and the one which I always run out of way before the next year's jam making season.  I only make preserves in their particular season, indeed I see no point in buying strawberries out of season at all because they taste just, well, rubbish really.  Last year's batch of strawberry jam was pretty damned amazing actually, my sister and I agreed that we preferred it even to the raspberry which is usually my staunch fave.  This year's batch has a lot to live up to!  Of course, it's likely only to be the first batch of many.
Golly, hulling 6.5 lbs of strawberries was not exactly fun.  Surely the greeny leafy bits would be added roughage?!

Looking all soupy.  The smell is heaven!

Add errm, lots of sugar (this is just one of three bags).  Good idea to do this when the Munchkin is not around; don't want to be reminded of all those lectures about sugar and teeth!

Waiting for it to reach setting point, what else to do but faff about colouring in labels...

Hey presto!  I look like I could be off to market!  That's this year's Christmas hampers started then.

Now, am I the luckiest blogger in the world?  Yesterday, this pretty parcel came through my door, from La Bella Italia no less (I do not mean the restaurant chain)!  The very kind and always so complimentary Michela had popped some goodies and a charmingly amusing little note in the post for me.  

It seems Michela has a very clever aunt who has crocheted me a lovely napkin holder and a little cosy cover too.  I have some groovy red spotty paper napkins which will look fabby in there.  Thanks so much, Michela, you are a star.  Now I want to come to Venice please!

But that's not all, bloggers.  Today, the ever-lovely Barbara treated me to some goodies too.  I have been ever so good and waited patiently to read all this fab stuff this evening.  Thanks so much, Barbara, you are indeed one of life's good people and I do enjoy our little cyber chats.

Let's go into the garden again because it's beautifully sunny and hot here today.  That can only mean one thing?  The raspberries must be ripening?

Oh goody!

A pretty impressive haul and there are absolutely loads to come. If you have a bit of space in your garden and they don't take much, plant raspberry canes my friends, you will not be disappointed.  So I wonder what jam is coming next?  Not with this bowlful though, the Munchkin has already requested these after his dinner.  I know they won't last long.

A while back, when I was (yet again) talking about roses, I mentioned that I had some highly scented red roses which were good for scenting jam.  One lady and fellow rose-a-holic asked me for the recipe and I do hope you are still reading because this seems like the natural place to put it.  Click on the photo and it should enlarge so you can read the text.

This is a cutting from a magazine some years ago (likely to be Sainsbury's mag or maybe Waitrose Food Illustrated, sorry cannot remember which).  I am sure many of you out there are like me and cut out interesting recipes and keep them in a folder.  I need to undertake a bit of "folder administration"!

Oh yummy, now I am feeling hungry!


  1. Hen If youhave a special recipe please share! Mine last year cam out as Strawberry toffee. Looked gorgeous as I poured it in the bottle but then solidified and refused to come out of the jar!

  2. Yummy post.... I had jam on toast this morning - wasn't homemade though!

    Victoria xx

  3. Gosh your well prepared-Christmas!!!
    Anyway I have never attempted jam making-would love to try it one day, scared of it ending up all runny though!

  4. how lovely to have home made jam! I can still smell my mum's kitchen when she used to make it.... I hope one day I will have my own lovely kitchen to make some in (unlike the hideous kitchen I have now lol).

    fab goodies too!

    Rose XXX

  5. I am drooling buckets here, the strawberry jams look fab in their pretty covers, and the raspberries, my goodness, they look so delicious, and yummy, and mouthwateringly juicy.

  6. Oh hen I wish I could smell the jam in the making. I love them all in the jars all with beautiful material on them. Your so clever xx

  7. Lovely post, Yes jam season is again here ...hooray off to the allotment to collect gooseberries and the hedgerows for elderflowers for another summer favourite !

  8. What a fun post! I love fresh fruit and picked raspberries this morning!

  9. Hey you beat me to it!
    I was going to post about my one jar of strawb!

    I made strawb sorbet, just with water, sugar and fruit. Easy and delish.

    I also have raspberries, but only one red one, but thats early, as they are autumn rasberries!!

  10. Yummy jam....and made look so pretty topped with cute fabric and nestled in a lovely basket....your so talented Hen, everytime I settle down to reead your post I'm transported into England 50 yrs ago, where homemaking was a true joy to behold........a lovely lovely blog!


  11. Your strawberry jam looks great, love the pretty covers.
    Never made jam, I've got the pan, just need the courage to have a go now!!!
    Linda O xx

  12. I love your blog :) Greetings from Poland :)

  13. Those jars of jam look amazing! - My son eats jars of it (not good for his teeth I know) but he left it in a very precarious place in the fridge this morning and when hubby opened the fridge an hour later the jam fell out and smashed on the floor - He will have to go without tomorrow! - Natalie x

  14. We had scrummy homemade raspberry and goosberry jam on our recent trip to the Isle of Man - we don't get many goosberries here in Oz so it was a lovely treat. There is nothing like homemade jam and preserves.

  15. That will be me next Saturday afternoon. Strawberry jam, yummy,


  16. My, you have been busy, and looks like more busyness (is this a word?) to come with those gorgeous raspberries.

    I think I should be having a go at this.

    Sue xx

  17. The jam looks good, I was thinking of making some last year but then OH pointed out 'but you don't like jam!!'..... that's not the point I just wanted to make some!!
    I'm thinking of growing raspberries next year, didn't get around to it this year... I love them, they remind me of my nans garden when I was a child & warm sunny days. :)

  18. What a totally delicious post! x

  19. How lovely, you can't beat homemade jams. I'm off gooseberry picking tomorrow as I've got a really easy recipe for gooseberry and elderflower jam (not sure I know what elderflowers look like though!).

  20. It looks delicious. I've always fancied making jam and you've inspired me to give it a go....any tips gratefully received!

  21. Oh my God, Hen!
    You have shown also that orrible piece of paper (I must apologize for it..everything was wrapped at office..)
    Thank you for your kind words..you make me blush!!!
    Now you should have finished with your high-calorie preserves...are you packing your bags with your best party dresses?
    Happy birthday to Mr HH!!!
    I will send you the recipe for strawberries mousse for little Munchkin
    Enjoy your elopment (maybe my dictionary is a bit out-of-date!)


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  23. The homemade jam looks gorgeous, especially with the pretty fabric tops! I picked some blackcurrants yesterday, sadly not enough to make jam,I will use them to top a homemade cheesecake!
    Rachel x

  24. Hi Hen
    It was great to meet you at last the V&H Fair. Love the coat hanger I bought from you, is it CK fabric?
    I didn't go to the boot fair last Sunday. I would like to go this Sunday as I am looking for 4 kitchen chairs but not sure if we will go or not yet.
    I must get back in to jam making again. I haven't made any for ages. You have inspired me to make some. I love the presentation, very pretty labels! I want to make a family special 'Redcurrant jelly'jam. My belgian grandmother made it so well. Must dig out the recipe.
    Take care and enjoy that jam...
    Isabelle x

  25. Hi Hen, looks lovely...have you ever made jam with lavender, I use raspberries and lavender and its lovely..you can buy cullinary lavender, lovely in scones too...let me know if you want me to try and find the website, I buy from the lavender farm in yorkshire

  26. You're making me feel hungry too Hen! I can smell that delicious jam from here!!!

  27. Oh what fun!
    I live in Bridport and used to live in East Dulwich. I loved the steam fair.....it's one of the things I miss (the Dorset steam fair is just TOO big!)
    Good to see Leakers croissants too......my daughter's addicted to the huge almond croissants they make. Yum.

    Nicki x

  28. Hen, I have just made my very first batch of strawberry jam today, yeah, what satisfaction from making it! I am so happy with it. Will be blogging it soon, I am so proud. When you have time one day, could you share your recipe? I used the recipe on the jam setta packet but am going to try just fruit and sugar next time. Do you warm your sugar? p.s. I loooove your blog!


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