Tag Archives: Jam

Tartine of fresh figs and fresh cheese – plus fig jam!


Another one of my “tartines”

A few weeks ago, I had a windfall of fresh figs from a friend and neighbour and here I post one of my favourite “tartines”!

Ingredients list:

  • Slice of bread
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Two fresh figs
  • Cracked pepper, optional

Take a slice of Poilâne bread – or any other sourdough or artisan bread with substance- , spread a nice fresh goat cheese over, slice a juicy fig on top, then decorate with chopped basil and Pedro Jimenez reduction or a thick balsamic vinegar. Perfect lunch!

My neighbour grows her figs in central London in her front garden and I enlisted the help of my son on half-term break to go and get a small boxful! They were green but nicely ripe and I decided to do a jam with the rest of it.

Adding vanilla and cinnamon into it, I cooked a truly delicious jam and managed to fill two pots of London fig jam – a very special thing indeed!

Collected in Hammersmith!

Collected in Hammersmith!


Recipe for the fig jam:

Ingredients list:

  • Figs, 2 kg
  • Jam sugar (with pectine), 1 kg
  • Cinnamon sticks 2
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped
  • Lemon juice of one lemon

Halve the fruit or quarter them and put all the ingredients in a jam pan.

Get to boiling point, rolling for 3 minutes, then reserve until the next day, covered with a grease proof paper so the jam does not develop a skin.

Next day: Get to boiling point again and keep on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

Put in sterilised jars straight away and screw the tops then turn each jar upside down so the air inside is sterilised through the hot jam.

Enjoy with bread, cheese or just as a spooned sweet.

This is surely a little bit late for figs in most parts of Europe but I am so thrilled I still managed to gather those in my neighbourhood that I can’t resist posting it.

Here is my son, grabbing some earlier!

The gathering

The gathering



Orange marmalade with whisky

The origin of the marmalade would apparently, according to Wikipedia, be Portuguese and it was the name given to a quinces’ jam. I had heard the “Marie malade” cute story involving the Queen of Scots and her French cook but I am afraid it all seemed a bit far-fetched, so Portuguese it is!

The arrival of the famously bitter Seville oranges is a short-lived event and one of the year’s highlights for any marmalade lover but if you have missed the slot do not fear because you can make a very commendable one with the stuff sold in tins in every British supermarket… I should not admit to that but I’ll say it: It will save you time, effort and even a bit of money to get yourself a tin of Ma Made by Hartley’s.

The cheat!

The cheat!

Just add sugar, water and boil as you would normally and there is is: Magical marmalade done – no sweat. I usually add a little less sugar and a little more whiskey but that’s just me. The great bit about Ma Made is that you can decide to do your Seville marmalade any time of the year and because it is just oranges, pectin and a bit of water inside the tin, it really tastes as good as homemade. The sugar is still up to you!

For those of you who, like me, enjoy getting the fresh oranges from the market, here is a very easy way to go about that too.

Labelled and dated

Labelled and dated with eat by date

Ingredients list:

  • 500ml of juice squeezed from fresh Seville oranges
  • The zest of 3 Seville oranges, peeled off and cut up finely
  • 500g of white sugar for jam (with pectin added)
  • 2 sweet oranges, cut in fine slices and then quartered
  • Juice of one lemon (its zest if you wish for more acidity)
  • A little glass of whisky

Buy your oranges (bigarade in French) as soon as they arrive and use them fresh: this way they will have more natural pectin and set quicker.

The day before your jam making session, sterilise the pots in the dishwasher and check you have all the ingredients: jaming is time consuming and then is nothing worse than discovering on the day you are missing a crucial element of the mix…

This recipe will yield about 6 to 8 pots.

On the day, press and zest your oranges and the lemon. Slice the sweet oranges. Cut up some of the skin of the bitter oranges to keep. Put all the pith and the rest of the skin into a muslin bag to dangle in the mix while cooking.

Put the fruit in a jam pan or pressure cooker with 1/2 litre of water and the sugar.

Bring to the boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Check the setting by putting a blob of jam on a cold plate: it should be runny but not liquid and move slowly when you tilt the plate. If not, give it another boil. Be careful not too let it go too dark or it will be burnt. Add the whisky at the end and take it off the hob.

Check the cut up skin is nice and soft. Then transfer the boiling jam into jars with a laddle and a funnel, being careful not to burn yourself. Screw the top of the jars tightly and flip them upside down to cool.

If you don’t have Jam sugar or would rather use natural pectin, try this other version with cooking apples.

On marmalade days, I love the smell that pervades from our kitchen up to the whole house: It conjures up images of orange groves and memories of the thick shade their glossy green leaves harbour all around … In Sicily, my son and I found a sunken garden where multiple species of citrus grew since the most ancient ages. Some produced bitter and thick skinned fruit and some the sweetest, most fragrant oranges I have ever tasted. In those Gardens of Kolymbetra, hidden at the feet of the ancient temples of Agrigento, we drank a heavenly orange juice and bit in a few citrus fruit we had no names for. It felt like sharing the food of the Gods.

Upside down!

Upside down!

Red onion, chilli and raisins marmalade

June is a month for preserves, jams and chutneys: If you get a glut of any produce from market or allotment, this is when you should prepare this winter’s preserves. They will have a few months to settle and expand in colour and perfume, before they become wanted, ready to grace your winter table.

This savoury marmalade is a cross between a chutney and the lush “confiture d’onions” that we serve at home with a couscous. It goes very well with red meat or mature cheeses and today I am having it with an expansive Epoisse that would be stinking anything else out of my plate! It is also divine on the Godminster cheddar that I have discovered at Christmas and can’t get enough of…

Ingredients list:

  • Red onions, 6
  • Olive oil
  • Butter 50g
  • Sea salt
  • Balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp
  • Soft brown sugar, 1 Tbsp
  • Raisins, 100g
  • Half a seeded chilli pepper
  • cinnamon stick
  • 4 spices or all-spices mix, 1 tsp

Slice the onions finely with a mandoline. This makes finer slices and because it is quicker, I cry less! This is my least favourite bit…

Melt the butter in some olive oil and add the onions. Cook until soft or about 30min. Turning with a spoon and keeping close watch!

Add the vinegar and the sugar, sea salt and some finely chopped chilli. Trust your instinct and your taste buds: Less is more.  Add the cinnamon and spices. Let it bubble under cover over low heat for 45 min until most of the liquid has evaporated- but adding water if it gets too dry. You want a sticky, jammy mixture.

Soak the raisins in hot water then drain and add a good handful towards the end.

Spoon the marmalade into clean jars where it will keep for a few months, in the fridge. Don’t forget to remove the cinnamon stick.

I use this on cold meat, cheese and even in cheese sandwiches or with boiled eggs. It keeps well in the fridge but probably not as long as a shop-bought chutney. If you make too much of it, you can always put it into nice jars and bring it to dinner parties as gift.

Pear, apple and caramel jam-boree in memory of a girly week-end

As good as gold...

Some smells, some tastes, have the power to anchor you in a past mood more forcefully than a thousand words or even a picture can do…

Last summer, I brought back in my luggage a small jar of gold: a precious jam bought before an evening picnic on the Plage de L’Espiguette… As my childhood friends will know, and as I keep repeating to my children every time I take them there, l’Espiguette is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. That evening, the evening of the picnic with my friend Caro, you could see the purple shadows of the Cevennes to your right, the golden reeds of the Camargue to your left and the vastness of the Mediterrannean in front of you, jutting into the horizon until the African coast! And before you, you had the luxury of hundreds of meters of soft, sandy emptiness… We threw a blanket on the dune and opened a cool rosé. Caro went straight into the water (as she always does) and I read a bit in my jumper before thinking ” What the HEll!” and plunging into the waves where the sun was setting. But what about the jam…

This pear, apple and salted caramel jam, in that gifted pot, was a wonder and a challenge to me. I was determined to achieve the same luxurious,indulgent and silky taste… And here it is! With Sticky toffee sauce instead of salted caramel, because I needed to make it mine with a little anglophile twist…

Sometimes living in two languages is a mixed blessing. At worst it can feel a bit schizophrenic ; at best you create a great mix!

Ingredients list:

You will need a jam pan and 6 clean jars. A jam thermometer is also a great help!

  • Lemon 1
  • Pears 3 (best seasonal ones like Williams)
  • Apples 4 (again, fresh and seasonal is best: Cox here)
  • Brown caster sugar, 2/3 of the total fruit weight (so about 660g for 1kg of fruit)
  • Vanilla pod 1
  • Two spoonful of Sticky Toffee sauce (Thermomix recipe) or bought caramel sauce or 4/5 caramels

The day before (that’s best but not an absolute): Peel and chop the fruit, squeeze the lemon juice over and cover with the sugar. Leave overnight covered in the fridge.

On the day: Clean in the dishwasher 6 to 8 Pots for 1 kg of fruit.

Put the macerating fruit into your jam pan and get to a rolling boil. Leave boiling at jam point (just over 100°) for 10 minutes.

Turn down. Add your caramels or 2 spoonfuls of the toffee sauce . Slit the pod and scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan.

Boil to jam point again for 5 minutes.

Put straight away into clean jars: I use a long ladle and a jam funnel to get the boiling jam into each pot quickly. This way the jam is sterilising its own pot! All you have to do is screw the top over the pot and turn it upside down on a kitchen towel. Write some nice labels and marvel at the sight of your pots- That’s what I do! I put them in a special basket at the bottom of my baker’s shelf so I can reach for one easily when I want to please a special guest…

As for a treat to my reader, I give you the best Christmas windows in London: Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly have wonderfully girly  scenes and here are some photos just for you.

Wish you were... on the merry-go-round!

Cute boudoir scene at F&M

A nice way to get in a jam!

There is nothing I liked more as a child than bread and jam. Indeed, I loved eating jam with a spoon when I got home after school and there was always plenty of the homemade kind in every season. 

Here are a few ideas for summer but the combinations are endless:

Storing for winter

  1. Strawberry and fresh mint
  2. Raspberry and vanilla
  3. Cherry and redcurrant
  4. Gooseberry and elderflower
Bejewelled Cherry Jam with Redcurrant Pearls
Ingredients list for the cherry jam:
  • Black cherries 1 kg
  • Granulated sugar 500g
  • Frozen redcurrants, 1/2 punnet
  • Juice of one lemon

Put the stoned cherries and the sugar in a large pan.

Bring to a rolling boil (105°on the jam thermometer) and and keep it there for 5 minutes. Turn off.

Add the redcurrants and bring back to a boil for another 5 minutes.

Check the setting by running a wooden spoon up along the side of the pan.

Use a ladle to put into clean, sterilised jars and put aside. Jam is best eaten a few weeks after it’s been made.

J’ai trempé mon doigt dans la confiture


Ca sentait les abeilles

Ca sentait les groseilles

Ca sentait le soleil:

J’ai trempé mon doigt dans la confiture

Puis je l’ai suçé


Mais tellement suçé

Que je l’ai avalé!

René de Obaldia – a favourite poet of mine…