Right now, is the season for strawberries (at least where I live~). But I don't know if it's just me, but they're not that sweet. They have a really nice colour, they smell really strong and fragrant, they have a strong strawberry flavour...but there's just no sweetness. Actually, quite perfect for jam~ and in contrast to a previous post (profiteroles), I made an insanely small amount. And, that might just be due to the fact that I like my jams to be; more fruit, less sugar and good to eat just with a spoon.
Don't you love that little wooden knife in that photo? I just thought I'd bring your attention to it 'cause its cute. I got it ages ago from someone who went to Sweden who brought some chocolate, salty liquorice, a rather pretty lobster tea-towel and an adorable fuzzy moose fridge magnet.
Now, onto what I really wanted to talk about (which is completely not related to jam). So since I'm just lying at home being super studious and pretty much getting moldy from the lack of enjoying the outside world, I got dragged out of the house and into the CBD. And instead of being, let's take this opportunity to buy pretty clothes and shoes and whatnot, I decided -- let's go explore the great world of tea, other foods and $600 stick-resistant fry pans (and watches too!). So I went to this arcade; it's kinda one of those classy(?), antique-ish ones with a really nice atmosphere. And here's a photo I copied and pasted off the internet because, why would I take a photo and be a tourist when I can go there anytime?
Anyway, I went to this little tea shop. It has all these nice varieties of teas, like fruity raspberry or mango, or strange herbal ones to help with menopause (err... interesting) and chinese teas like teas fermented for 20 years (pu-erh). And then I went to another one, but it was a really fail kind of tea shop. I mean, who puts tea leaf samples in open tea cups? The first one used tea caddies w/ tightly fitted lids. Anyway, this one had really nasty teas, like butterscotch black tea which had chunks of butterscotch swimming amongst the tea leaves. There was this ice tea sample, and this woman next to me tried it and was like, "wow, it's really good" and I was like, "Really? Hmm, I'll try some then..." Bad idea. It had an overpowering vanilla flavour with random bits of berry, apple, kiwi and god knows what. So, after a small sip I realised that I had to finish it? Like, I can't chuck it in the bin because they'll notice and also I can't throw liquid in a bin...besides, it was only a large mouthful... So I thought, "Suck it up, Jenn!" Ergh. Not pleasant. So I went back to the other shop and got a 100g packet of Earl Grey with Blue Flowers (way better than supermarket stuff)...when I got home and opened it, the smell was so strong and fragrant (yay! no stale tea)
On to another rather interesting food item. I had my first macaron! So, according to many, the Lindt Cafe has really good macarons. So off I went, trekking all the way to the Lindt Cafe to buy two macarons which cost $2.90 each. So, I can't say that they're really good or bad macarons because I can't compare them to anything. But...eh. They're just normal...nothing spectacular. Anyway, I bought a 70% dark chocolate and a hazelnut flavoured one, after rejecting the pistachio one. When I asked the dude behind the counter, whether I should choose pistachio or chocolate, he was like "pistachio" but then when he asked which chocolate I was referring to (there was also a milk) he vehemently suggested chocolate. And then I knew what was coming..."You could always buy both?" -sigh- Oh, I also saw 99% cocoa chocolate block. So, so scary. I've had a little before... not insanely bitter. Not bad. But sorry, I'm a 70% person.
This led me to the thought of making macarons, wouldn't it be way cheaper to make them yourself? Which led me to calculating the cost of making the profiteroles (again, go visit that post!) on the train ride home. It cost me a maximum of $5, half of which is actually the price of very nice, but not-so-cheap chocolate...and if you buy one at a cafe/patisserie/bakery/whatever they could easily cost you $3-$4 each.
So back to the sort-of jam. What I love about this jam, is that it's got a bit of a gelled texture, but its easily spreadable. The thing is, I'm a sandwich perfectionist. Anything in my sandwich must always be perfectly even and thin if necessary. That's what I hate about commercial jams (apart from the lack of fruit and stuff) is that I smush the jam from one side to the other, the rest of the blob follows. Argh...
I had my fruity jam with a slice of freshly baked earl-grey bread and a cup of hot earl grey tea!~
Strawberry and Raspberry Jam:
Makes about 3/4 cup
250g strawberries (~1 cup after sliced)
1/2 loosely packed frozen raspberries
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (strain the pulp away) or Lemon
Slice the strawberries in 3mm thick slices. If they are really large, cut in half. Combine strawberries, raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and place it over a low heat for some liquid to emerge. Then increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Add the orange juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Check if the jam will have set (although at this stage, probably not) by dripping a little onto a frozen plate and waiting a few moments. Simmer again for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and checking again. You want to be looking for a slightly thick and gelled texture/appearance when the plate is tilted. If you're making this much, its not worth canning. Cool completely.
with a spoon.