Afternoon Tea: How To Make Strawberry Jam

As a true English girl I absolutely love afternoon tea (though I’m more of a coffee girl over tea). Nothing beats having some amazing cakes, or the little triangle sandwiches you get in tea rooms on a fancy china cake stand! But best of all? Scones, jam and cream!!! Now don’t get me wrong I love a good scone but I only ever have them as a treat once every so often – we had an American exchange student once who generally thought English people have afternoon tea everyday which I can assure people everywhere we definitely do not (well the normal ones don’t…), I’m pretty sure I’d be morbidly obese or hospitalised if I indulged everyday! But saying that I really do love afternoon tea and there’s nothing better than doing it yourself, so let’s start with the basics – JAM! Here’s my Mum’s famous recipe…

Strawberry Jam

This recipe makes about 1 1/2kg or 3 1/4lb and makes between 4 to 6 jars (depending on their size)

Jam 10

Equipment

  • Heavy based 4.5lt (8pt) saucepan
  • 4-6 sterilised jars (see Step 9)

Ingredients

  • 800g (1 3/4lb) fresh strawberries (NB: you can use frozen  fruit but defrost it first)
  • 1kg Jam sugar
  • a knob of unsalted butter

Recipe

  1. Take your strawberries and cut them into quite small pieces, removing the stalks, then put them all in the saucepan.
  2. Put on a low heat so the fruit starts to become more of a mushy purée, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add all of the jam sugar and continue to simmer on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved (use the back of the spoon to see if there are any sugar granules left and scrap it around the bottom of the pan to see if you can feel any).
  4. Once completely dissolved add a knob of butter.
  5. Bring the heat up slowly until it starts a rolling boil – it’ll start to bubble vigorously, rising up the pan and can’t be stirred down again.
  6. Boil the mixture like this for 4 minutes.
  7. After 4mins a layer of white-coloured scum will form on top, remove using a spoon and throw away.
  8. Once done remove it from the heat and leave it to cool.
  9. Meanwhile sterilise the jars. Place them on a baking sheet on a tray in the oven  preheated to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3 and leave for 10 minutes.
  10. Once the jars and the jam have cooled pour the jam into the jars (if you have a jar funnel use it!) and place waxed jam discs on the top before sealing with the lids. IMPORTANT: make sure the jam and the jars are the same temperature when you put the jam in, if one is too hot and the other cold the glass jars will crack!
  11. Leave the jam to solidify before using – if it’s still runny after a few hours repeat Steps 4 – 7 again.

This recipe can be used for strawberry, raspberry, tayberry or loganberry jam and will keep in a cool place for several months if left unopened with a wax seal. All you need now is the scones and cream! Or better yet spread it in a cake or just on some toast 😉

Give it try and let me know how you get on!

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Red Velvet Loaf With Berry Frosting

Next week sees the return of one of my favourite TV programmes…..The Great British Bake Off!!! So in honour of this I thought I’d share this scrummy recipe with you…

Red Velvet Loaf With Berry Frosting

Serves 12           351 kcal, 18.7g fat, 10.7g saturates, 29.8g sugars, 0.27g salt

Red velvet loaf with berry frosting• Ingredients •

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp. cochineal red food colouring
  • 150ml Greek-style natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp. Madagascan vanilla extract
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 75g soft cream cheese
  • 250g summer fruits (reserve the juice if from frozen)

• Recipe •

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4. Grease a 2lb/900g loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Put 100g of the butter into a bowl and beat together with the sugar either by hand or in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time with 1 tbsp. of flour, then stir in the red food colouring, yoghurt and vanilla extract. Sift in the remaining flour and cocoa powder and fold together until smooth.
  3. Pour this mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 – 55mins until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Whilst the loaf cools, make the frosting. Beat the remaining butter either by hand or with an electric whisk until smooth, then gradually sift in the icing sugar. Add to this the soft cheese and beat together until thick and pale. Spread this over the cooled cake and top with summer fruits and any fruit juice reserved if using a frozen bag of summer fruits.

My housemate is obsessed with anything red velvet so this bake is very popular at university! It’s so easy to make but it still looks so impressive on your table. Plus it’s got fruit in it…that makes it kind of healthy right?!

Have a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below!

(*Photo and Recipe credit go to Sainsbury’s)

Apricot & Pistachio Cake

This week I discovered this little gem – an apricot and pistachio cake. It looks and tastes incredible; so far I’ve had it for both dessert and afternoon tea so it’s the perfect cake for all occasions. It’s perfectly moist and adds a hint of Morocco to your table – it’s even better the next day too.

 Apricot & Pistachio Cake

Serves 8 (supposedly….!)

Per Serving: 455kcal, 27.1g fat, 13.7g saturates, 21.8g sugars, 0.32g salt

Apricot and Pistachio cake• Ingredients •

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar (plus an extra 1 tbsp for syrup)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g pistachio kernels, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 411g tin apricot halves in fruit juice, drained (reserve juice!)

• Recipe •

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, fan 160ºC, gas mark 4. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed square cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and orange zest together in a bowl and then set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl or an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until it becomes a pale, creamy mixture. Gradually add the eggs, mixing it well until they are incorporated (Tip- you may find the eggs look curdled as you add them to the mix, add a tbsp of the flour mixture with each addition to aid mixing). Finally, using a spatula, stir in half of the pistachio, the flour mixture and milk. Pour this into the cake tin and level the top.
  4. Arrange the apricot halves over the top of the cake – you will find they sink in slightly. Bake this in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted to the middle of the cake.
  5. Whilst this bakes, heat the reserved fruit juice in a small pan with the extra 1 tbsp of caster sugar. Simmer this for 5 minutes until it’s reduced to about 3 tbsp.
  6. Once the cake has cooked and is still warm, spoon the syrup over the top and let it soak into the cake. Scatter the remaining pistachios over the top and leave it to cool.
  7. Serve with some Greek yoghurt for a lush dessert or enjoy the next day with a cup of coffee. (Once left over night the syrup will have soaked into the cake properly leaving it lovely and moist – it tastes even better in my opinion!).

I’d recommend keeping this cake in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep it fresh as its quite a sticky, moist cake. I love the versatility of this cake, there aren’t many cakes you can enjoy at any time of the day – some are too dry to have for dessert and others are too indulgent to have with lunch, but this sticky yumminess is just right!!

Have a go making this Moroccan delight and let me know how you get on!

 

Chocolate and Chilli Shortbread

When the sun is shining you’re bound to have guests coming over, whether it’s for afternoon tea or just for a quick catch up. If you’re like me and love a good coffee afternoon then finding the perfect treat to enjoy with friends is exactly what you need, and what could be better than some homemade shortbread?…Well how about one with a twist –

Chocolate & Chilli Shortbread ~ 

 Makes 15        Prep: 15 mins + chilling time        Total Time: 45 mins + chilling & cooling

Chocolate and Chilli Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 175g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar, (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 2 pinches of chilli flakes
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 50g white chocolate, melted

Recipe

  1. Put the flour, cocoa, butter, sugar and chilli flakes into a food mixer and pulse until the mixture comes together into a soft, clay-like dough.
  2. Tip the dough into a bowl and mix the chocolate chips in. Put this onto a piece of clingfilm and shape into a log about 5cm wide in diameter, wrap around the clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour so it firms up.
  3. Whilst this chills, preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3 and line two baking sheets. Once the dough has finished chilling cut the log into about 15 pieces, 1cm thick. Place your biscuits onto the lined sheets and bake for 22-25 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool completely before drizzling the melted white chocolate over the top.

These cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an air-tight container – if left un-iced they can be frozen.

156 kcals, 8g fat (5g sat. fat), 2g protein, 1g fibre, 19g carbs, 11g total sugars, 0g salt

All you need now is a pretty plate (or even a tiered stand if you want to be really fancy!), a hot drink and someone to enjoy them with! As always let me know how you get on and enjoy!