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Caramelised Sugar Apple and Sultana Pie filling..

I am very keen on canning and preserving..and live in UK..but I do like the American way of preserving foods in jars, jams, etc..I have adopted the use of Water Bath and have always loved preserving lots of high acid food group recipes..such as Chutneys ,sauces, jams, pickles, bottled fruits in syrups , tomatoes, etc..this method is good for making your hard work,  home grown ingredients, time and money more safely preserved and more shelf stable.

I have always loved bottling fruits, and always been envious of a product that i had seen many people use in American Canning groups, a product called clear jel..which helps make a pre -made bottle Pie Filling..To my joy I recently saw it on sale here on Amazon UK, without paying stupid prices, so I promptly ordered a jar..

I had also been given two very full baskets of home grown apples..which i really needed to work I thought a Pie filling was ideal..

I turned to the Ball book Complete Home Preserving..which is a superb mine of information with fab recipes.. Apple Pie Filling..

but i wanted to try an idea that i use a lot when making caramelised apple jam.. I knew that it would work without compromising the safety of the recipe.. as it was changing the method of working with the exisiting recipe’s amount of sugar..and the method..


I  followed the Ball Book of complete Home preserving recipe cups of prepared apple..but i used 11 and 1 cup sultanas soaked in the liquer.. 2 and 3/4 cup sugar…3/4cup clear jel…1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon…1/2 teaspoon nutmeg..vanilla..( my extra ingredient ) Liquid 1& 1/4 cup cold water. .2 &1/2 cup fruit juice..unsweetened. lemon juice for immersing prepared fruit to stop browning..

Now the sugar i heated to high with 2 spoons water to caramelize into a careful not to burn it..take off heat and add water and juice.. this will spit at first so pay put back on heat to simmer and melt down the toffee/Caramel lump..Caramelised Apple pie filling with sultanas and caramel will make a lovely golden syrup..let cool.. Take some of this liquid and then add the clear jel and spice to that to blend thoroughly, add that back to the pan, whisking continually.. and then heat through to thicken.. The apple pieces should be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute and then drained, plus dried fruit Liquer mix and added to the thickened syrup..mix together carefully , now proceed as per usual filling and sealing jars, WB for 25 minutes..

The caramel flavour is to die for !!!l like toffee Apple for adults..heavenly..
Processed my kilner jars jars in a steam canner.






Christmas Conserve ..also known as Jingleberry Jam..

Christmas is coming..!!!

jingleberry jam

Well as the year is drawing to its end..its time to be thinking of Christmas , in so many ways. From budgeting for the expense, thinking of gift buying, readying the house for the Season.. writing cards, visiting friends and family , all that food preparation and storage needed.

I often do a little stocktaking and emptying of cabinets and using up foods in the freezer in readiness, as most of us do.I had a few bags of frozen Cranberries that needed to be used before buying this years supply.

We love jams and I wanted to make a preserve that pulled all our favourite Christmas flavours together..

so this is packed full of flavour,

12oz  …     340g   Cranberries fresh or frozen

3 large Oranges zested , then peeled and flesh supreme. squeeze as much juice as you can from the remnants ..

12 oz  ….  340g  finely diced peeled apple..  choose one that will hold its shape fairly well.. a dessert apple will be good.

4oz ….   115gwalnuts roughly broken..

4 oz  ….. 115g Brown Sugar

1lb 8oz …..   680g   White sugar

1 level teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon..

10 Tablespoons of Port wine

1 small sachet pectin powder

1 plate chilled in fridge ready for set test

jars and lids ready    …funnel  ladle  jam pan

If you water bath your products , you need a big pan with trivet, and lid..  or use a steam Canner..  or perhaps an electric Water Bath..

heat the brown sugar with 1 spoon water to make a caramel. this doesn’t take long and is very easy to burn.. take off heat and toss in the walnuts first  coat thoroughly and then add apple.  just cook through a little while in pan.. I used a stir fry pan..

put Cranberries, zested orange, orange flesh, and squeezed juice in your jam pan.. with the spices..warm through to gently cook the cranberry , then add the walnut apple mix, and cook for a few minutes longer.. its nice to let a few cranberries remain whole if you can..then add the Port wine ..

Now have your white sugar ready ,add the pectin powder to the sugar thoroughly mix, then add to the jam pan, reduce the heat and let the sugar dissolve fully..when dissolved turn up the heat to high , bring to a rolling boil.. and then time as per instruction on pectin that you are using.. This one took about 4 minutes..  take off heat.

Do a set point test on a cold plate, if it gels and wrinkles slightly your jam is ready.. if not return pan to heat and boil again for a minute or two…continue this until your jam is ready..

When set is achieved leave to settle ..sometimes a scummy foam appears when making jam, nothing to worry about , just keep skimming it off, it will make your finished product look much better..also a very small dash of butter will dissolve the scum  ..

Now get ready to fill your very clean jars and lids..they need to be warm.. I hold them ready in a shallow pan of hot water and then fill and put lids on..they are then ready to transfer to the water bath or steam canner….  This process will sterilise everything inside and out, create a perfect seal and make your product very shelf stable and food safe.

For further reading with regard to Waterbath Canning , this is a good link..

Now once your jars are ready in the water bath or steam Canner process by boiling for 15 minutes.

when done remove carefully and put to cool on work surface covered with towel..leave for 24 hours..  Clean jars and then they are ready to label..

A gorgeous preserve to enjoy in so many ways, as a spread, as a savoury with cheese or meats etc.. tart filling , a real taste of Christmas !!

Serve and Enjoy..


Dairy Free Lemon Curd..

Luscious Lemon..


I have a dear friend who is very seriously allergic to everything Dairy, and as such quite a challenge for her to cope with food wise.. I have been asked to make cakes for her several times..and this is a fabulous recipe that I have researched , the basis is from Patisserie cream,  and we know the French make the most amazing Pattiseries to die for!! to make a great alternative to lemon curd.. and I use it as a cake filling..

When you’re that seriously allergic, eating can become quite a scary challenge, you are relying on the fact that people fully get the seriousness of the problem. The minutest amount of dairy substance or cross contamination can mean a life threatening situation..even with an epi pen it is necessary to get to the hospital with 20 minutes..

Or you may not necessarily be allergic, but have decided not to eat dairy, or been encouraged to reduce your fat intake..for various reasons.. then this is a perfect answer..

It is not for long storage, the same as regular lemon curd, but quite ok to keep in the fridge for a few days.and it is really quite a passable altenative to the real lemon curd. Very creamy and lemony.. a tad of coconut cream , at the end of cooking would also be a possibility to make a little more traditional..

Sooo..   if you able to tolerate lemon juice, sugar, eggs and cornflour , you are good to go. Just a few minutes cooking slowly in a pan and that’s it, very very easy..

Its slightly unusual in that you need to weigh the juice , but the recipe is very exact for amounts, and citrus fruits do vary in weight and size..I put a small bowl on my weighing scales and put it back to zero, add the juice and it works fine.

You could easily change this around to play with different fruits, orange, lime  etc..or even different juices..


Citrus cream for patisserie ~Dairy Free

300g lemon juice,  , 4 eggs plus 4 yolks, 250g caster sugar, 35g cornflour.
This is very similar to lemon Curd, but totally Butter Free..
an idea is to zest the fruits first and then save it..
then cut fruit in half and juice.
put cornflour in small saucepan .Add juices slowly ,mixing thoroughly to avoid lumps. add sugar and whisked eggs and yolks, combine well with a whisk
gently heat through on a low heat ,whisking all the time ,until it thickens and covers the back of a spoon.
when nicely thick, remove from heat and put into super squeaky clean jars , and use clean lids to top the jars with.. let cool.
This recipe makes quite a large amount, it can easily be halved, which would be just about right for a sponge cake filling.

      Dairy Free Lemon Curd

Balsamic Vinegar Jelly ~ with onion seed

Posted on

jamsnpans-balsamic-jellyIt is now March, and thus the third monthly challenge of a yearly one set by Marisa at also at Facebook the months are sure whizzing by quickly!

if you want to follow the challenge go to the Facebook page foodinjars   and also the Hashtag #fijchallenge on Instagram..plenty of places to peek and find out more.

Now I think Jellies are up there in the list of my favourite preserves to make..I think they are highly satisfying to make , and the results are well worth the efforts. The colours always amaze me, such jewel like brilliance when you manage to make a good one..

A jelly is a clear jam, with no solids in at all, made with the collected juices of fruits and can be used for either sweet or savoury purposes, such as Mint jelly, Redcurrant, Cumberland, often served with meats or a spoonful in gravies and casseroles and such.

Shrubs are a drink, loaded with History and Tradition..I can remember my Gran in Law, who was Scots, making a certain recipe, which alas, do I not have. She used to be in service as a Cook to a Household in Scotland, and it was very popular. I wish I had paid attention when she cooked.. some are fruit liquers added with spirits, others can be Vinegar fruited syrups used as drinks..or added to lemonade etc, no real rules as to how you like your refreshments and cocktails..

Now this is beginning to be a favourite  jelly of mine ,to be used as a condiment or in your cooking.. I often use jellies in stir fries, salads and dressings, savoury casseroles and gravies..glazes for cooking meats, baking, in fact its not often that I use it as an actual sweet spread..


I fell in love with balsamic glaze and Jelly that can be bought commercially and thought I might try to recreate it.. I first tried it with Dark Balsamic which was superb..and then again with White Balsamic ,thinking that would look amazing. I added Black Onion seeds, but you could actually add many different ingredients.. such as herbs, roasted garlic etc etc.. It turned out to be ridiculously easy and quick to make

2 pints vinegar

2lbs white sugar ..granulated

1 sachet powder Pectin I used which was 8gram, which converts to about 2 teaspoons..

Onion seeds.about 3 or 3 teaspoons..and bay leaves

Have ready and clean, a few jars and lids to use ..I usually keep them warm to stop and thermal shock of jars cracking when filling with hot liquids.

Add the pectin to the sugar and mix well, put vinegar in a good size pan , allow plenty of room for bubbling up on a fast boil .

Add the sugar/pectin mix to the vinegar in the pan, put on a low heat and let the mix warm slowly and dissolve the sugar..once this is done you can turn the heat up to get a fast rolling that bubbles lively..From this point start timing and allow 4 minutes , remove from heat  .. follow the instructons on your chosen Pectin packet, they may vary from one product to another.. But I tested for a set..using the saucer method..

I then toasted in a dry frying pan some onion seed and a couple of bay leaves to add ..I added the onion seed to the mixture and proceeded to fill the jars, popped a bay leaf in each jar , then screwed on the clean , new lug lids..Process in WB or steam canner, remove and put jars on a folded tea cloth to let cool..

I WB or Steam Canner Process my jars for 12minutes..

I did notice that with the onion seeds they floated to the top of the jars..soo while cooling and seeing the jelly beginning to thicken I very carefully rolled and shook the jars every 10 minutes or so to redistribute the seeds more evenly throughout the mix..but be careful not to compromise the is easier to do this with lug lids rather than 2 piece flat lids and rings..




Preserving with Salt

jams'n'pans rose salt himalayan pink.pngjamsnpans-salt-black-garlic-onion-seed-lime-rosemary

Flavoured salts

It is now February, and thus the second monthly challenge of a yearly one set by Marisa at also at Facebook

if you want to follow the challenge go to the Facebook page   and also the Hashtag #fijchallenge on Instagram

The February Challenge is preserving foods with Salt..its has been great fun to see what ideas and recipes people came up with.. the results have been fascinating from Gravlax, flavoured salts, sauerkraut, preserved egg yolks, which I have loved to learn about, soup mixes and so on…The challenges are great because they take one out of a safe comfort zone and expose one to looking at new ideas ,which is a great thing. My Grandad used to say if you don’t learn at least one new thing every day, then you’re not living!

I was rather short of time this month to attempt a lengthy preserving project so opted to make a flavoured, or a finishing salt.. I happened to have some Black Garlic in the fridge which is one of my favourite ingredients, so I paired it up with some Black salt, as I thought that would look rather impressive, but it needed a little oomph , so dired some lime peel with rosemary in the oven and then added that.. with Black onion seeds.

I used 1 Black garlic, peeled and finely well as possible because its rather difficult when its so lovely and soft and squidgy added to 1 cup of salt.. The other ingredients are added , and the amount here is down to individual taste and how much you want an ingredient to shine or to meld..just add all together , and use as require, its great on jacket or roast potatoes, vegetables etc..,or a sprinkle on cheese on Toast..use wherever the love leads you…

My second attempt  is certainly not a recipe but a memory of France and good friends..

Dried rosebuds in salt , usually in a grinder , to use at this is dried Petals in Pink Himalayan salt and I used a precious Vintage French jam jar to show it off..

The Challenge for March will be Jellies…


A Sloe Screw Up Against The Wall Marmalade ..traditional Seville Marmalade with a Twist !

Traditional English Breakfast Marmalade

My Love for all preserves and Kitchen Garden Crafts began with me when as a little girl I spent time with a family friend.. a completely magical time ! a widow lady who had very little money, who lived in a Post WW2 pre fab type House, with a Garden..She had very little money but my goodness she knew how to make the Pennies go round, several times in fact.

I spent much time with her, and it was stuff of childhood dreams and cosiness. Big feather mattresses, crochet blankets, quilts, afternoon teas and cakes with Big Brown Betty Teapots and cosies. Jigsaw puzzles, chickens to feed, plants to grow and fruits to pick.Now breakfast was always good white bread, laid out on the bread board with a bone handled bread knife, Tea, toast and marmalade, and if the chickens were laying well , we had boiled eggs too!! in the cutest little egg breakfast Marmalade for me transports me straight back to those childhood happy Days. But Marmalade to me has to be with Seville Oranges, from Spain!! and I was always given the history lesson too of the Origins of this incredible preserve. It was probably very enjoyed by her, as it must have been impossible to get during the war!! and she still relished the luxury of it in the sixties …she always had a little smile around her mouth when eating it… If made with sweet Oranges there is just no comparison, still good, but a different experience altogether!

Its a little bit of a ritual for me every year and I love each and every stage of it.. I always make lots of regular recipe marmalade, au naturel, with no additions. I do however allow myself a few small batches every year to experiment with flavour additions.. and I guess as one grows up , tastes and experiences change !

This is a very grown up and Adult version however, with a very cheeky name, named after the Cocktail!! I think , or rather hope my childhood friend would laugh at this, she was rather cheeky herself.. I can imagine the morning Toast being rather embarrassed at Table.. or, having a rather knowing smile !!!

The History

The story of Dundee Marmalade begins back in the 18th century when a Spanish ship took refuge from a storm, in the harbour at Dundee, Scotland.. On board was a consignment of Seville Oranges – which a local grocer decided to purchase.

On taking them home to his wife, the couple discovered the oranges were too bitter to eat. The grocer’s wife saw the potential in the oranges and boiled them up with sugar, to create the delicious preserve now known as Dundee Orange Marmalade, so it has a strong History!


Preserve making has moved on and progressed and I think becoming very much back in vogue. Lots of reasons, people like to know what they are eating, healthy choices, preserving their Harvests and off grid, I like to move with the times and preserve my foods have joined many Preserving and Canning Groups on Facebook.. and I have certainly Changed my food handling techniques.

.I have followed Marisa at Food in Jars , for a while..and she has initiated a 12 month food Preserving Challenge.. which rather intrigued me and I have joined in..

The First Month is Marmalade…

which really thrilled me as it is my most favourite preserve to make and to eat..and I make what seems gallons of it every year, for probably almost the last 40 years !! ssshhh!!! don’t tell!! Now the next 11 monthly challenges will probably stretch my knowledge and patience a whole lot more.. this is going to be one very interesting year of challenges..





If you would also like to join in here is the link


Suzy’s Seville Marmalade

1lb.8oz Seville Oranges,   washed and scrubbed well.
3 pints water
juice of 1 lemon.
3lb Granulated white sugar
1/2 oz butter.   this may be needed at end of process .. whisk in and it helps clear the scum on surface.. More often I just skim the surface and remove with a spoon.
equals for every 8oz fruit its sugar and 1 pint water… so this recipe can be doubled.. i do about 4lb fruit at a time and thats quite comfortable fit for my pan!
  **This is the whole fruit method…**
Scrub oranges well,Slice in half and put in large saucepan. Bring to boil and then simmer gently until the skins are soft. Leave to cool. Lift oranges out and remove pips and put them to one side and put in muslin bag and tie bag up with string.I sometimes leave overnight to soak more at this point, just transfer the mixture into a non metal bowl and return to pan in the morning. Sometimes time wise..its better to make into a two day process , rather than be stuck to the hob for hours! It also helps to soften the peels more too.. once the sugar goes in that process will stop..
Chop oranges in food processor . I just use pulse button…or slice by hand if preferred.. Put orange mix back into pan with the orange water… Strained of pips….,bag of pips, sugar and lemon juice.Add the sugar and heat slowly until the sugar dissolves.Then boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
a plate which has been chilled in the fridge or freezer is useful for this setting test..take a small spoon of marmalade and put on plate.Turn off heat at this stage.. leave for a few minutes and then do the wrinkle test, when the small blob is moved and wrinkles you know you have achieved a good set. If not turn on heat and cook for another 5 minutes and repeat, until this happens.
Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal with lids. Hot water Bath for 10 minutes
This is a method using the whole orange which is quick and easy, it is a strong taste more like a British Oxford marmalade.It keeps well and is great for gifting!.
Seville Oranges are the Traditional Oranges from Spain which are specifically for Marmalade making, and often for culinary purposes too, such as Duck with Orange. They are very strong tasting and on the bitter side, which are perfect for the Traditional English Breakfast Marmalade. There is no comparison between this and a marmalade made with sweet oranges, although good too, its a different taste experience..
Now I like to make this recipe often, and a lot of it too, but I allow myself the luxury of a few batches to experiment with..
Sloe Screw Up against The Wall….Taken inspiration after the  cocktail..
at the stage when the sugar has dissolved I added a couple of Bay Leaves, 2 dessert spoons each of Galliano, Sloe Gin, and Vodka.Please not that when adding alcohol, it will take slightly longer to get to the setting stage..but persevere it does get there, and adds a gorgeous depth of taste to the preserve.Just continue cooking until set is reached , remove Bay leaves and continue to pot up..


The beautiful Oranges that I use are from Waitrose Supermarket..they are completely Organic Sevilles from Spain.. from the amazing Ave Maria Farm..they are on Face book and also this link to their website..





Chicken Dinner Winner Pie


Chicken also cockney Rhyming Slang for winner..

and this was a real winner with the family!

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C (fan)/Gas 6.

Left over Roast Chicken from the previous days Sunday Roast Dinner..with the ever traditional and family favourite gravy. This can be made with Turkey also, ideal for Thanksgiving ,if  you celebrate it, or the wonderful Christmas Turkey..

But the interesting part of the dish is the pastry.. beautifully flavoured with mixed dried herbs and a couple of teaspoons of delicious wholegrain mustard and also the addition of fried bacon pieces to the chicken and gravy..

The chicken was leftovers in gravy , and I added fried bacon to it and used as pie filling

A lovely Pie to make with Chicken or Turkey leftovers..and gravy..this was onion and wine gravy..English gravy, which is brown .Made with meat juices etc ,stock,wine and then thickened..
Roast Chicken and Bacon Pie with Herb and wholegrain mustard Pastry..
put this together from left overs .

Pastry is 4oz lard , 4oz marg , 16oz Plain flour , rub in fats till resembles breadcrumbs , bring to a dough with 1 egg and herbs and mustard .. a tiny drop of water . Roll out and use as required .The pie has pastry top and bottom..  Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface, to a thickness of about ¼in/1cm. Place the pastry over the pie dish  and carefully trim the edges. Fill with the chicken mix and then top with pastry ..Use the trimmings to make cut-out shapes to decorate the surface of the pie. Cut a couple of air holes with a knife to allow the steam to escape or use a circle cutter carefully to make a hole… Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes. The top should be nicely browned and the filling piping hot. Remove, allow to cool slightly and serve

and then ENJOY!!