jolly jam

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It’s a chilly winter evening in Sydney and after a long day of walking-my-feet-off at work, I couldn’t think of better answer to prayers than a glass of wine and a jam making session at Cornersmith Pickelry in Marickville. Cornersmith has quickly become a favourite among coffee lovers and good-food-hungry-city-slickers. ‘The Pickelry,’ which is where the homemade jams and jars of seasonal pickled veg are made, is an extension of the café and an indication that the community simply love what this husband-wife partnership has started.

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Around the table we gathered and Alex shared with us the secret behind successful jam making. (My grandmother would have been very proud of how I was choosing to spend my Thursday evening). We were a mix of farmers, lecturers, media executives, actors, wanna-be chefs and lovers of all things sweet.

The chaos of fruit cutting and boiling, wine pouring and jar cleaning came to an end and we dipped some sourdough into the sticky quince jam as a way of congratulating our efforts… The recipient of this jam will be lucky indeed!

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Quince and Apple Jam

(makes 4 to 5 jars of jam)

  • 1 kg peeled, cored and cubed quinces
  • 500g cored and cubed apples
  • 3 cloves
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 2L water
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 750g castor sugar

 Method:

  • Put all chopped up fruit into a medium sized pot. Add water and spices and leave to cook on a low heat until the fruit has softened and starts to break down.
  • Add sugar and dissolve by stirring. Add lemon juice and zest. Bring to the boil and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • While jam is cooking and begins to thicken, give your jars a good wash and put into the oven at 110’C for 15 min.
  • Take jars out using sterilized tongs (or superman fingers) and leave to cool for a minute or two. Spoon in your jam, wipe the rim clean, close with the lid (making sure its correctly sealed) and leave to store in a dark cupboard for up to 12 months.
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perfect polenta

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Two things I love: Italians and polenta. Mix them together and you get cake!

This is a drop dead gorgeous recipe which has a course texture (like an unshaven Italian movie star) and the secret ingredient of olive oil and dessert wine. I was inspired by a Julia Busuttil recipe I saw on Tasty Tuesday and decided to try out this traditional Italian recipe on the crew of a short film I catered for recently. The cupcakes disappeared faster than the director could say “cut”. And I like to think that the entire film was a success because of them!

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Pear and Polenta cake:
(preheat oven to 180C)

  • 180g almonds
  • 1 pear
  • 80g plain flour
  • 180g coarse polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 130ml olive oil
  • 1 orange: juice, and zest

Vin Santo syrup:

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 80ml Vin Santo wine
  • pinch salt

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Method:

  • Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
  • In a food processor, grind up the almonds and pear.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds and pear, flour, polenta, and baking powder. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.
  • Continue beating and slowly add the oil, orange juice and zest until all are combined.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Bake until golden (approximately 25 min).
  • Cook up the syrup by placing all the ingredients on a pot on the stove, bring to the boil, stir continually until the sugar has been dissolved, allow to simmer for a few minutes until it has thickened slightly.
  • Drizzle over the cake while still warm so that it seeps in.
  • Dust with a dash of icing sugar or orange zest.
  • Serve with mascarpone and watch the first installment of The Godfather.

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