7 Sept 2010

Hestia and bramble jam #fail

Despite, my injuries (wounded pride more than anything) I picked loads of brambles yesterday and set-to having a very Hestia-inspired day. The kitchen was littered with mixing bowls and used pots as I gamely tried to make meat-balls, lasagne and bramble jam ALL AT THE SAME TIME *waits for applause*.

The meatballs and the lasagne were a success, but the bramble jelly was a spectacular FAIL.

The recipe said to take your brambles and add twice the amount of apples (so I put in 500g brambles and a kilo of apples off my wee tree).  I was to bring it to the boil and make sure the apples were soft.

I duly got the big pan on for a boil...and then reduced to a simmer.  I set the timer for 30 minutes and pottered off to do something interesting with the mince for the meat balls and lasagne.

The timer dinged and lo! the apples were soft - but there wasn't a lot of liquid in the pan....perhaps I had it on for too long.  Anyway, the next part of the recipe said 'strain overnight'.  I went through into the Back Cupboard which is where I keep EVERYTHING that you buy for the kitchen thinking THAT'S handy' and then never use.  In there I've got a fondu set, a fruit dryer, jam pans and umpteen mystery products purchased for me by Juno (from QVC) in the vain hope that she could civilise me. And there SHOULD have been a jelly bag....but it was GONE.

No names, no pack-drill, but I bet that someone whose name starts with a T and ends with a 'stabbed to DEATH' has binned it.

I phoned round a few friends who were jelly bagless.  I even tweeted.  Suggestions for Heath Robinson style jelly bags abounded.  I decided to go with two of them - use a sieve AND a brand new washing cloth.  I duly humped the hot ruby red piles of fruit into the straining creations and retired to watch The Biggest Loser with Sonshine.

If jam success was judged on smell alone, I'd be a winner - the smell of cooked apples and brambles was divine.  I could hardly wait until the morning!

I eagerly bounded into the kitchen today to see how much liquid had come out during the night and found...................this.

Don't strain your eyes, it's half a small glass of...stuff.  A kilo and a half of fruit resulted in THIS!!!  Mind you, it tastes delicious.  I'm thinking of calling it 'my reduced jus' and serving with an apple tart and cream.

I still have about a kilo of brambles...and am just going to make some kind of bramble jam.

But not today.....


  1. Is brambles another name for blackberries?

  2. Your recipe seems awfully complicated. Do you not just bun all the berries and the apples in a pot with sugar overnight and them boil it for an hour? That's how I do it. also, if you want all the juice to come out of the leftover fruit, push it through the sieve with a wooden spoon.

  3. It was a recipe I got off the intertubes.

    I thought that if you interfered with the fruit dripping process you'd end up with cloudy jelly? But what do I know?! Never made it before!

    Will try an easier recipe tomorrow. When I'm emotionally psyched up for it lol!

    Ali x

  4. You can also make it not cloudy by skimming the froth of the top as it boils. The bonus there is you get to eat the froth and it's tasty.

  5. Lasagne and meatballs sound lovely. I'm sure you can salvage your bramble jelly. There must be pudding you can turn it into? Sling a bit of pastry on it or something? I'm sure it'll be lovely xx

  6. Tee hee.I love the way you've styled your creation with the fresh fruit,very artistic.
    It'd be nice with some yoghurt if you're feeling healthy.
    I'd go with Lisa-Marie's suggestion-a good old wooden spoon and a sieve!

  7. how about a bit of geletine and some vodka.....jelly shots!! just a thought.........at least you got to waft around in the heavenly aroma for awhile.....oh the joy of jam making, I feel a pot coming on......

  8. Ali,
    I'm just amazed at the energy it must have taken to do all that in one day! I hate to cook, because I am really lazy.



  9. Hi Ali, you don't mention how much water you started with. I usually put enough in to go half way up the fruit, and only simmer for about 15 minutes, depending on the apple. Some turn to mush just looking at them. I also cover the pan while simmering, so it doesn't all evaporate. Cheese cloth works well for a strainer, or failing that, one of Tertarus's old simmets.
    Put some Vodka in what you have and pour over ice cream, you won't want to make jelly after that.

  10. Further to my own blackberry/bramble picking, I made a blackberry and apple meringue pie with cinnamon meringue at the same time as making gorgonzola risotto last night and both were fantastic although I say so myself (cheated and used ready made pastry left over from last week's straight up blackberry pie)! Happy baking - and on the green dress front, have you tried LK Bennett or Hobbs?

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  12. oh darling Hestia
    how I love your rambling and kitchen stories!


  13. C* - most of my stories ramble...

    Mrs P *puts on jealous face* you're GOOOOOOOD!

    Legend - water? There was no mention of water in the recipe......

    SB - needed to lie down in darkened room after it. That's me burned out for cooking for about a week. Cans and packets from here on in!

    YAH - you must divulge how successful your own jam-making turns out! Sounds like a plan for the remaining juice puddle :-)

    NS - I thought I'd try to make it look good. I took a pic of glass on its own. Looked too forlorn!

    Christina - today is the day for jam II - fingers crossed it is a success!

    LM - what's in the skimmed off stuff? Is it bad for you??!

    Ali x


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