We’re not really a jam family. We don’t usually have jam on hand, but we definitely enjoy it when we do. I love jam on toast with a piece of cheese (cheese? what? trust me it tastes good) and hubby enjoys the good ol’ peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
I recently made some Master Chef inspired melting moments and needed some jam for them so I had to rely on a recipe I used to use once upon a time. I haven’t made it often, but it comes out so well and definitely tastes better than store bought jam. I don’t know exactly when and where I started using this recipe but I do remember that I based it on having briefly watched Jamie Oliver making jam on one of his shows, I wouldn’t say this is his recipe because I honestly don’t remember exactly what he did, but some of the techniques and ideas definitely came from watching him.
2 cup berries (I used frozen raspberries)
2/3 cup water
2 tblsp sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
A few drops of lemon juice (not entirely necessary)
Put all the ingredients on a medium to high heat on the stove and let it come to a light boil. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. When foam stops forming, mush the berries with a fork or spoon. When you notice it has thickened it’s pretty much done. It will set further once cool. The recipe is very adaptable, it can be halved, doubled, tripled etc.
No matter how you like it, in a peanut butter sandwich, on biscuits, in donuts or on toast with a piece of cheese, this is a great easy recipe for homemade jam.
It seems lately that macarons have shot into popularity with them being featured frequently on TV cooking shows like Masterchef & Zumbo. My first taste of a macaron was in Singapore with my husband. I had no idea what to expect, I bought a chocolate macaron. I bit into it’s crisp shell and soft, luscious inside just melted into my mouth with the creamy ganache filling. YUM!
I have been determined ever since to recreate these little treasures. After a lot of research, I realised it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Macarons are notorious for being temperamental and hard to master. That shattered my spirits a little but hey, why not give it a go. Well, I did, my first 3 attempts were complete failures. But I kept going. Plucked up the courage to try once more and finally achieved my first decent macaron. Pistachio!
Here’s my recipe (taken from various sources, cookbooks & websites)
Ingredients (this has to be precise and measured as accurately as possible)
35 g Egg whites (approx 1 egg white)
55g Pure icing sugar (pure icing sugar without any corn flour/starch)
45g Almond meal (blanched-skins removed)
30g castor sugar
This recipe makes about 10 macarons once sandwiched (20 halves)
Combine almond meal and icing sugar, grind until it becomes a fine powder. Sieve the almond meal and sugar mixture and discard any big bits, set aside. In a clean stainless steel or glass bowl, with an electric whisk, whick the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly drop in castor sugar until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. If using food colouring add it into the egg whites now and give it a quick whisk once more (a gel colouring is recommended). I used a little blue and yellow colouring to make a green shell, next time I think I’ll go darker. Sieve the almond and sugar mixture onto the egg whites and fold it in. Keep folding until the mixture is just incorporated into the egg whites. The mixture needs to be firm but loose enough that it settles back into itself if you make a line through the centre.
Line a tray with baking paper, then fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into 3cm rounds. Leave aside for 30 minutes to form a skin and pre-heat the oven to 150°C. The cooler weather in Australia at the moment is ideal for macarons, the humidity during summer can really affect the formation of a skin (Tip – You know the macaron is ready for the oven when you touch it with your finger and it does not stick)
Put it into the oven for 15 minutes. By definition a macaron must have that cracked, airy crease at the bottom (known as feet), you should see this after 5-10 minutes of baking. Let the macarons cool and remove them from the baking paper. If they’re having trouble lifting off, sprinkle some water under the paper. Set aside to cool, ideally leave the macarons for a day in the fridge in an airtight container. Fill macarons with buttercream or ganache filling. I filled my macarons with buttercream that I had added crushed roasted pistachios to.