The Jamstress

March 20, 2012

The Jamstress

I've been asked twice recently what my ideal or dream job would or could be. When I start to ponder this, I have been taken out of the city to a dreamy place of fresh produce from the garden, country cooking and market stalls. Something out of a Tasmania or New Zealand tourism ad, with vintage bikes and carefree living. And so without much hesitation I have replied "jam maker". Or a jamstress as one friend put it. Take me to the place of pouring over a large pot of sugary sweetness. Mixing it to perfection (or into a form of something hopefully edible!!) Bottling the goodness and sharing it with my family and friends. 

For me baking, cooking, creating is a form of stress release! A moment of heaven or dreaming within a crazy day or week. A time when I am lost in creating a tasty morsel that will bring (hopefully) joy into a friends life, a time for them to stop and be able to treat themselves in their chaotic weeks or days, a time to share hospitality and grace with those around me. The fact that baking is a stress release for me is well known amongst my friends and colleagues, so much so that I wonder if sometimes they cause stress in my life in order to reap the benefits of a tasty treat brought into share the following day. One day I was baking for work and had messaged a friend to see what was an allowable ingredient amongst her intolerances. She replied very quickly with "are you okay?".

So, here I have put together my thoughts on cooking, creating and faking it. 'Cause really, you don't have to be a pro to bring homely goodness into the world. You just have to know how to fake it and fake it well!!

Take making jam for instance-

Take 1 kilo of fruit of choice eg a packet of frozen berries
Add 1 kilo of white sugar

Put it in a pot and boil it for half an hour or so

When a spoonful sets on a cold plate you are done.

Spoon into a steralised jar. (washed in hot soapy water and dried in a hot oven) seal with the clean lid and turn it over to set. 

So, making jam=easy.
The challenge now is to make it classy!!

Add a splash of strawberry liqueur to your berry jam.
Make an exotic fruit combo- of raspberries and nectarines or apricots and plums
Add nuts- apricot with macadamias, peaches with almonds 

Really the possibilities are endless. My general rule of thumb is keep the fruit to sugar ratio, if the fruit doesn't contain much pectin and you want a firmer jam add a few squirts of lemon juice or jamsetter (found in baking section of Woolies), be creative especially in summer when there is so much cheap yummy fruit about!!

As I share with you my thoughts and experiences of truly being able to fake it in the kitchen and beyond I apologize to my friends out there who ask me for my recipes and really can't cope with "well, I added a cup or so of this and that and then mixed it till it was moist" as the answer. Baking to me is a creative outlet and is not contained to the rules and regulations set out in recipes! I apologize!! So Emma, there will be no exactly leveled off cups of flour in any of my scone recipes!!

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A photo posted by Kate Eastman (@makeitbakeitfakeit) on