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Sunday is March 1st which means the official start of Autumn. Here in Hobart the first of the leaves are turning and this morning at least. there  was certainly a coolness in the air. I have just made  what will be our last batch of Apricot Jam – we have loved making this jam over summer and thought I would share with you our recipe for Easy-Peasy Apricot Jam.

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Our new  home has an enormous apricot tree and everyone kept saying to us “make apricot jam – it is so easy”. So we googled it – so many recipes – everyone quite similar but with their own special ‘twist’. But what shocked us the most was how much sugar there was in every recipe!!

Being a chemist by profession and inquisitive by nature I had to find out why. I had guessed that the sugar acted as a preservative guarding against future microbial growth and in fact it increases it’shelf life  to about 12 months. What it also does is develop the flavour and gives jam it’s characteristic “gel” texture.

In fact in England, concoctions can only truely be called jam if the end product contains a minimum of 60% sugar! Most traditional recipes call for equal amounts of  sugar and fruit with the total amount of sugar being boosted to around 60-65% by the fruit itself.

So here is our

Easy-Peasy Apricot Jam Recipe

1 kg apricots – halved with stones removed

1kg sugar, warmed

1/4 cup of water

1/4 cup of lemon juice

Combine the apricots, water and lemon juice in a large non-reactive pan (stainless steel or enamel).  Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until fruit is tender. Add warmed sugar and stir constantly without boiling until all sugar dissolved.  Now bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring occasionally, for about another 15 minutes or until set.* Pour into warm sterilised jars and cover immediately.**

*to test if jam is set – spoon a little jam on a chilled saucer, push the jam with your finger – if it wrinkles it is set (cool huh?)

**jars can be sterilised in the oven, dishwasher or microwave.

So easy and so unbelievably good -the girls couldn’t believe how different it was to have picked the fruit and make the jam ourselves and it has been lovely to be able to give jars to friends and family as a thankyou present.

It was very tempting to reduce the amount of sugar  but I am assured that this will not produce the characteristic jammy gel texture and that the jam would have to be boiled for longer to set which would darken the colour of the jam and lose flavour.

I tend to think that we only use a small amount on toast or scones and that we view it as a “treat” food. But I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has sucessfully made jam with less sugar – please share!!

Are you a jam-maker? What is your favourite jam?

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My youngest child left today to start University 2000km away. I am excited, anxious and a little heartbroken.

There was so much I wanted to say to her but I just just gave her a kiss and told her I love her.

I will fly to Brisbane in a few weeks to help her settle into college, but tonight I want to give her 6 random pieces of advice

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Have you used the waterlogue app? I love messing around with it and tha amazing effects it can give. I have taken so many photos of the house and garden in the last few weeks I decided to dust it off and have a play.
Here are a few of my favourites – click slider to view  – it would be interesting to see how they printed on a canvas wouldn’t it?
Do you have any favourite photo apps? Have you tried Waterlogue?PINIMAGEPINIMAGE

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Well we have been in our new house for a week now and already it feels like home. We love it’s high ceilings, magnificent windows and gorgeous gardens and great position. But most of all we love that our family and friends can and do drop in – love, laughter, food, endless cups of tea and glasses of wine – it is wonderful!
We even have became fond of the wide and varied wallpapers in each room and I have accepted that my new kitchen and bathroom are a while away. But the carpet, oh the carpet had to go. It was smelly and all kinds of nasty. It started with lifting one carpet tile by the back door and by nightfall it was all gone. What a difference! the floorboards are in desperate need of attention but no smell and so much light and energy.
The next day our furniture and boxes arrived. I was determined that the living room and bedrooms were clean and neat and clear of boxes. Other rooms obviously are full of boxes and my top tips for moving house will definitely be a future post! (for  example the importance of knowing which box the wine glasses are in!) But it looked right.
So our first night in the house was Christmas Eve – we had candles, toasted sandwiches and watched Love Actually (our favourite Christmas movie).
I had been trying to think of a tagline for the blog and then it hit me it had to be  – Follow your bliss.

Are you following your bliss?

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PINIMAGEDespite months of detailed consideration the strategic plan was derailed by our tenants refusing to move out of our home! Initially I was so upset our furniture and boxes were already packed up and on their way. Scruffy the dog and Mickey and Mouchi the cats were in transit, tickets were booked for kids and we were already on our road trip.
Fortunately, our real estate agent was fantastic and he come up with a 3 bedroom apartment in the centre of town and kennels for the animals.
So our first week didn’t go as expected but we have had an amazing time catching up with friends and family, eating and drinking too much and loving being back in Hobart and having everyone together. Silver linings.

 

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