The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Take a jar of jam...

Lately I've been making jam. I have had heaps of free and cheap fruit and have made the most it it! Everyday I have been doing something with fruit in the kitchen. Right now Figs are waiting for me..

But this is a chance, like most things, a fleeting opportunity that if I don't make the most of it will be  a year before I see this again! Just now I don't need to buy fruit at all or I might spend a little to get such a lot. So it's a saving and I can spend that money on my pantry instead. And in winter we will enjoy peach crumble, plum cobbler, stewed peaches, vanilla poached plums and all sorts of things that are such a treat then as they are all neatly stacked in the freezer.

Also we have fig paste to enjoy with cheese and crackers throughout the year.

When the freezer is full, we are eating as much fresh fruit as we can, and I have kept the girls in fruit also, I make jam. It is easy to make and keeps for years. I make mine higher in fruit and a bit lower in sugar. It is bright and vibrant and chunky with fruit. Not much like shop bought jam really at all.
My jam making instructions are here. This stores away fruit and is so handy for so many things!
You might think really jam is jam! But there are so many uses for jam all year round.

Firstly, I make lots and different varieties. I will ask for fruit that is clearly being wasted in exchange for returning with jam or a fruit pie. This tactic gets me so much free fruit!

Next I will use it as little gifts. Or for a larger gift I will make up a basket with four or five different jams. This is a really nice gift. Many times I get asked for more. So I guess you would say in several ways I use jam as a sort of currency!

Then you have so many ways to use it. Many are big money savers.
One is to make pancakes for breakfast or desert. This is inexpensive and cheaper than breakfast cereals or fancy deserts. Warm jam as a pouring sauce to top your pancakes. Add several flavours to the table. This is a lovely brunch too. At home extra pancakes were cooked up in small sizes and then went in my  lunch box to school and I did this for the girls and they loved them. When the girls had friends to stay over I would often cook them all pancakes for breakfast. This was always such a big hit.

When I am having visitors I will often make scones. A couple of different jams go onto the table in my little glass bowls plus cream. People go crazy over warm scones! (in the US biscuits) They take minutes to make and again very cheap plus left overs have many uses! I basically love anything that provides lunch box variations!

Fill a sponge and decorate with flowers and cream. So easy! This was Chloe's Birthday cake last year...

It was a bought sponge filled with jam I had made and cream. I sugared some roses for over the top. Total cost was under $5.

This cake was another for a friends birthday. In this case I had used lemon butter I had made but jam would be an alternative. 

Jam fills little cup cakes making them into butterfly cakes.
Jam can top or go into the middle of muffins.
Jam can be the centre decoration on biscuits (Jam drops)

Nan used to make a steamed pudding that used jam.

You can make Jam Roly Poly or a Jam roll.
(My other Nan made sponge jam rolls. Oh my goodness that was amazing).

Jam can be warmed into a sauce used to top a nut sundae or fancy ice cream desert.

Berry jam and cream can fill a chocolate cake to give a Black Forest Cake effect.

 Mum always used left over pastry to make jam tarts. It was decorated with little pastry rosettes and baked and looked like a stained glass window. It is just a matter of spreading jam over a pastry base and baking. Served with custard this was wonderful. Or made as little individual sized sweet tarts in a muffin tray. I still love these. Never waste a bit of left over pastry! Surprisingly I saw this on a fancy cooking show last year! It was always the girls job to make little pastry flowers for the centres.

Jamie Oliver uses jam in pies. Ie instead of sugar added to apricots in an apricot pie add some apricot jam. It acts as the sweetener but adds body as well. This works with crumbles. You might have fresh apples. Add some berry jam instead of sugar then your crumble topping. Then you have apple and berry crumble.

Make bread and butter pudding. Jam is wonderful in this. My recipe that turns out like a cake is so beautiful. I copied the idea from a restaurant I went to. This uses up left over bread, buns or pretty much anything and is the loveliest desert. The recipe is here.

This is spectacular and so inexpensive. If you make this once you will never stop making it. Once sliced this is how it looks... add berries, cream....

Jam also makes a great glaze. Melted apricot jam over chicken pieces and baked gives a deep colour great flavour.  Plum jam as a marinade or glaze with pork or spare ribs...

Use jam in scrolls or in homemade pastries.

If you have jam that just won't set call it "Strawberry syrup" or "whatever syrup"and keep it in the fridge. Use this as  sauce over pancakes and pretend you meant it to be this way. :)

If you have other uses for jam please tell me as I am always looking for more. I never mentioned jam on  toast! I have ambitions of making Jam Doughnuts and Bakewell Tarts.

If you have jam in the pantry it is just very handy. It is such a basic that can become a whole range of things and really a little luxury.  Of all the fancy things in the world I think scones, jam and cream would be one of my favourite. With a cup of tea...

 Once I was in Kuala Lumpur  in the most luxurious motel I had ever been in. There was a string quartet playing and a waiter came out with the most beautiful silver tray and silver tea set. And you guessed it... he placed tea, scones, jam and cream down on the table.  Just all so beautiful and one of the easiest things in the world I can make at home! Every time I make scones  I think of that moment. Sometimes the simple things are the most beautiful. There I was having one of the fanciest moments of my life and there was my trusty friend Jam.

(This could be why I also love silver trays and lovely teapots, creamers and pretty plates! And we can re create this quite easily at home with our own pretty little things).

Have a lovely week. I will be back on Wednesday with a pantry update. It has been a busy fortnight! xxx


  1. YUM! I love what you have done with jam in these recipes, Fantastic.:)

    1. Thank you Kat. When the kids say there is nothing for desert and you have a jar of jam, there are just so many options! xx

  2. I love all your ideas for jam as that is one of those things I end up with a lot of. Don't forget thumbprint cookies with a little jam in the depression, and jam on french toast! Lots of good ideas, I like the gift basket idea as well. Thanks!

    1. Kathy I didnt think of jam on french toast! It would have similarities to the bread and butter pudding in taste which is just beautiful.
      Thank you so much! I hope this sees you putting lots of jam to

  3. Drooling here! Love all those ideas Annabel and your presentation is always mouthwatering and gorgeous. Jam is a frequent addition to marinades here too. Plum jam and soy for chicken, strawberry jam and black pepper for steak, marmalade glaze for fish. Jam roly poly, Queen of Puddings, jam and cream on freshly baked bread or scones (biscuits for our U.S. friends!)....all part of my childhood memories and my sons memories as well! I'm off to make jam tarts've inspired me!

    1. Oh yum Mimi. Do you make Queen of Puddings or Jam Roly Poly? Hilde gave me her recipe for Jam Roly Poly which I am going to try. Also Nan made a steamed jam pudding but I dont know the recipe. I will see if my aunt knows it... could be epic! I will make jam tarts too they are so loved. And today I am actually making strawberry jam as I got some serious bargain strawberries and ahve frozen some, used some... now making some into jam. xxx

    2. I make both Annabel. Queen of Puddings is a favourite though and so easy! I might do a blog post on one actually! These are all such simple and homely things that add greatly to our quality of life I

  4. I have not tried this but saw a recipe for a half pint of jam and a quart of half and half mixed and churned into ice cream. Bet it is good!

    1. Lana that sounds like it would work well. And it reminds me I have friends who make homemade yoghurt and for flavouring stir a little fruit jam in to give sweetness and colour and fruit. So simple and probably much healthier than bought flavoured yoghurts. Many thanks! xx

  5. All your cakes look delicious!! The birthday cake with the roses is beautiful.

    1. Thank you Theresa, this cake was so simple plus I cheated with a bought sponge... but it was a big hit with Chloe and yummy. And I guess in a store what does a pretty cake cost? A fair bit!
      So simple and pretty is all you need! Thank you for commenting! Have a lovely

  6. Dearest Annabel, you are a woman with a plan for her jam! The Jam Queen, the ideas and the possibilities you have listed are so wonderful and inventive! I love this post and all the pictures are gorgeous! Bill has a long time client who makes the most fabulous marmalade out of grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. I honestly never enjoyed marmalade until I tasted it. I showed him the picture of your fig and almond jam and he was impressed, as he loves jam and especially loves figs. I agree that jam as gifts is just beautiful. A few times I gave my favorite uncle an assortment of jams he wouldn't otherwise have thought to get for himself and he thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for such a wonderfully inspiring post. Oh, the lemon butter looks incredible! Xxx

    1. Colette I know you have lemons from tome to time... if you have a spare 9 or so try my lemon butter recipe... its in recipes and you make it like you would make microwave custard... its very quick and easy. But it is amazing and everyone goes crazy over it!
      I have never mastered marmalade. Mimi is talking over marmalade over fish... which I can see... citrus and fish works! Well combined we have come up with more ideas for jam and it is the sweetest gift for sure!xxx

  7. Annabel, you're making me want to make jam ... now! So many uses that I hadn't thought of. Great post!

    1. Thank you very much Patsi! I have strawberry jam on now and plums to go. The comments have some new ideas and some I had forgotten too and jam is such a good pantry item! Many thanks! xxx

  8. You're making me hungry - all those beautiful ideas, YUM!

    I love scones with jam and cream but cannot make scones for love nor money. is there a particular recipe you use?

    1. Dear Janine, ALL my life I wanted to make scones and I couldnt. They turned out like rocks. I tried 101 things. It was like a curse. One day Nan was fed up with me and she stood there and over saw what and did and each step. She said they would have to turn out. So in they went. Rocks. She was amazed. (Its a gift)
      Then one day back when I had a bread maker I used to use it quite often to make a dough and take the dough out and make scrolls and things. So one day I put in scone ingredients and let that knead it. This goes against everything we have been told... dont handle it too much, be gentle and all of that. I cut them out and baked them and this was my first SUCCESS. Figure that out. So now I make them by making them very moist, always adding a heaped teaspoon of baking powder to my SR flour and an egg. Place close together to they send each other upwards. Bake in hot oven.
      This is Hildes recipe... however I still add 1 egg and 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder to this....

      Pre heat oven to 180 to 200 degrees.
      Use a 300ml container of cream,
      pour that over 3 and a half cups SR flour,
      re fill that carton of cream to top with milk, swish around to lift out last of cream and pour all over flour.
      If youre going to add the egg and Bp
      milk to a dough.
      roll out on floured board and rub flour over the top. Cut thick scones, place close together, glaze with milk and bake.
      Can add grated cheese or sultanas or dates or a cup of mashed pumpkin and extra flour...
      This also makes a really good pizza dough or roly poly dough.
      I hope and pray this works for you! It is the strangest I love to make scones and they always work. It took 45 years of failure first! xxx

    2. Annabel thank you so much for taking the time to not only reply and give me hope, but also providing me with your recipe. I'm going to give them a try this weekend when I have a bit more time. Thanks again for your generosity.

    3. That's really interesting Annabel. The cream and lemonade recipe works for me sometimes, but the fluffy scones still elude me. I'm going to have to try this! Mimi x

  9. I have also been making jam etc. As children we would have jam as flavoring in a milkshake. I make steamed puddings and jam roly poly and occasionally bakewell tarts.I found with fig paste to cook it for less than the specified time to avoid a rock like consistency.

    1. Barb if you have time I would love your steamed pudding and roly poly recipes. I have just asked my aunt for Nans steamed pudding recipe, I know that had jam in it.
      Also I am pretty sure Nan or perhaps Mum added strawberry jam to milk for a milkshake you brought back a memory there. it was pink I know as I loved the colour!
      I have strawberry jam on right now as I got a bargain! xxx

  10. Hi Annabel and friends, Here is a wonderful link to 33 dishes both sweet and savoury that you can use jam in. It has the recipe links.
    Annabel a beautiful post! I'm off to copy some ideas into my recipe book including many I had not thought of before. Love to you all, Helen xxx

    1. Thank you Helen. I am off to go through this list. This has turned out to be a post that could have gone in Pantries! xxx

  11. I'm a toast and cuppa tea kinda gal for breakfast every morning. For the last two years I've only had my jam on the toast. Soooo yummy !!!

    I give jam away with presents I give. For example for Mother's Day last year I gave a jar of jam. set of tea towels, cello bag of homemade biscuits and a little melamine tray all packaged up in a recyled gift bag. Both my Mum and MIL loved the gift and it cost less than $10 I value the jars of jam at $4 each so that money comes from my gift fund and is put into my food slush fund. This more than covers the cost of the ingredients and gives me a profit.

    Jam is great to flavour homemade yoghurt.

    1. Wendy I love what you did for Mothers Day! This is a lovely idea and now you have me thinking of finding little things like a cup and saucer or teapot and making up an afternoon tea "kit" type gift. Or making scones and delivering with jams... so many things we can do that are just beautiful and not expensive. Just now I cannot keep up with jars... I have run out again even after all the ones my aunt gave me!
      Have a great week! xxx

  12. Love jam so much. I have a free source of grapefruit and today found a recipe online for grapefruit jam/marmalade and they said it had a bit of a tang to it so I am excited to try it. I need a few more hours in the day to get this all done. Next year I will be making a variety of fruit jams and giving them as Easter gifts instead of chocolate as many of my family does feel overwhelmed with the amount of chocolate they get.

    This will also make a good teacher's gift for Xmas a nice jam and maybe even a nice tea cup or mug. The possibilities are endless. Thank you

    Love love love the cakes you are a talent and inspiration.

    1. Mel we both suffer the same thing... to many things we want to do and not enough hours. And loving embroidery etc only adds to it!
      It is so good to find suppliers of different things. I think grapefruit is wonderful like lemons, full of vitamin C etc.
      I would think hamper type gifts would be beautiful for Easter. When the girls were little I used to give them pyjamas and slippers and things at Easter instead of all chocolate. It seemed too much chocolate to me too.
      Well we wil both have to be saving jars flat out!
      I hope you have a great week and it is only Monday but Im already looking forward to your Friday report! xxxx

  13. Haven't tried jam making - my mother never made them but I do have my mother in laws recipes - never seen her make them though and I suppose while I have the recipe there could be a little something extra that hasn't been included.
    We are not huge jam eaters here - scones with jam and cream being the main time it is eaten unless of course I make some pikelets.
    I have some ginger jam in the pantry to be used - purchased it to have poured over a tub of philly cheese - you could also make a sweet version using any flavour jam and some crackers.
    No room to save jars at the moment but my time will come.

    1. Yes your time will come! try making just a little bit if you have a surplus of fruit anytime. The microwave method is very fast and easy and it makes a lovely gift. Thank you for your comment! xx

  14. Annabel, Mum and Nana both use to make this steamed pudding with jam.
    Foundation steamed Pudding
    3 Tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, vanilla essence, 1 egg, 11/2cups SR flour 3 tablespoons milk.

    cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add egg and beat well. Fold in the sifted flour alternatively with the milk. Place into a well greased basin or mould, cover with greased paper and steam for 11/2 hours.
    variations: 1. place 2 tablespoons of jam in bottom of basin before adding the mixture.
    2. add 1/2 cup chopped dates to the mixture.

    This recipe is from an old recipe book put out by St George County Council called Electric Cookery Book. This book was given free to those in the council area in 1953.

    Hope this is similar to your Nans recipe.

    1. Thank you Janine! I love Mum and Nan recipes! I will try this when the weather cools down (been hot here!) and I am loving the old fashioned recipes.
      I really hope the scones work out! I am sending you good luck and wishes anyway as once you make them ok once you are set and they are so useful. I love to do pumpkin ones for when we have soup for dinner (or anytime) They are just so handy! Many thanks for this

  15. I love to make jam, and most of the time I love to eat it, but I found that I loved to make orange marmalade more than I loved to eat it. Today I tried a recipe that I love! Even my husband liked it and he is hard to win over on any dessert without chocolate. It will definitely be made again at our house.

    Oh, by the way, I make kefir (like yogurt) and put my homemade jams in it to resemble yogurt.

    1. Thank you for this recipe Cristy it looks wonderful. I will make sure everyone sees it as it would be a really handy thing to make.
      I think kefir would be a healthy thing to make, I need to learn this. Thank you so much, have a lovely weekend. xxx

  16. Annabel-is the jam shelf stable with just the cellophane topper? Thank you!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Yes, it keeps at least two years probably many more. But Adelaide is a dry climate rather than a humid climate and I wonder if that makes a difference?
      Also if jam has not set properly it doesnt keep the same. If I have any not set I keep it in the fridge and use it up as topping or in a cake or something. But otherwise it is fine and keeps beautifully. I hope this helps. Love Annabel.xx

  17. Thank you so much! That helped tremendously! :)

  18. If I don't have time to make dessert, I will have bread covered with jam & topped with lots of thick cream. so delish


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