Jam and Marmalade FTW!

This week started for me with a jam making course at Harg Odlarna in Kisa! The course was in cooperation with Eldrimner in √Ėstersund. Throughout the course we got to know quite a bit of new stuff about the basics of jam and marmalade cooking. I also got confirmed quite a bit of the knowledge I already had from my own more or less self-taught marmalade cooking sessions during the last seasons.

Apart from learning new things, it was great meeting other nerds of that area of interest, and it will be great fun to stay in touch with each other. Follow the link for pictures from the course. The ones of you that understand Swedish have a definite advantage when it comes to reading the recipes ;-).


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Jam, Jam, Jam, Yum, Yum, Yum…

This year’s first jam batches are waiting for being eaten!

This years specialities are:

– Strawberry/Rhubarb with Drambuie Liqueur
– Wild Strawberry/ Rhubarb with Drambuie Liqueur
– Black Currant with Grappa
– Strawberry/ Black Current with Drambuie Liqueur
– Red Gooseberry with Finnish Esimarja Liqueur
– Red Currant/ Peach with Gin
– Red Currant/ Banana with Gin and a hint of Garam Masala
– Red Gooseberry, Black Currant with Laphroaig Whisky

More to come!

I just need to get more glasses first, my carefully collected stock is kind of exhausted right now. I was even forced to freeze some kilos of berries!

Until now, I dealt with about 11 kilos of fruit, I just counted. Incredible. One does not notice how much it becomes once one is on it!

Dear Swedish readers, would anyone of you know any good and not too expensive supplier for jam-glasses? The boyfriend is getting tired of having so much Sill (Swedish pickled herring) during the year, just because I want the glasses, ya’ know… . ;).

Psssst…. They are sleeping!!

P.S.: In case you wonder about the alcohol content – it is safe to drive after breakfast. The good stuff serves to get a nice finish on some exquisite fruits, which are mostly from the home garden. I decided to specialise in jam and marmalade that contains alcohol. Simply as I don’t see it that often, especially not in Sweden. It is amazing and much fun to experiment with what kind of extra flavour spirits add to different combinations. The secret is about smelling what fits with each other and combining it in the right amounts. To find that perfect balance in taste is my challenge. And it is a personal pleasure to see that the people tasting the outcome prove me right most of the time in my decision of combining the different ingredients. Hope that was not too much of self-praise now?

Jammin’ away!

Yes, I plead guilty. I did not update Wha’ever! for over a month now. Time to let you know I was on holidays, eh?

The motorcycle enthusiasts amongst you might be curious to know that there soon will be a new blog starting just with motorcycle posts. I will be running that one together with Swedephotog, who is equally crazy (if not worse) about two-wheelers.

Why we want to start a motorcycle blog? Well, somewhere we have to post the stories from this year’s 3-weeks-tour down to Northern Italy, don’t we?

Apart from enjoying a great summer tour on two wheels, there was a lot of jamming involved over the last week. Or making jam, to be precise. Redcurrant, blackcurrant, gooseberry, strawberries and all that sh..e ūüėČ . Very sticky, I tell you, but also very sweet – like a few other things in life. Just very different.

This year’s jam edition consists of:

– Redcurrant with Gooseberry and Whisky
– Redcurrant with Madeira
– Redcurrant with Cranberry Juice and vintage Vana Tallinn 45%
– Redcurrant with Cranberry Juice and Cognac
– Blackcurrant with Grappa (last years consumer’s favourite)
– Strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, cranberry juice and vintage Vana Tallinn 45%

Raw ingredients in terms of fruits were:

4 kilos redcurrant
1 kilos blackcurrant
0.5 kilos gooseberry
0.5 kilos strawberries, raspberries
0.5 kilos rhubarb

resulting in in total over 30 glasses of jam.

“Sylt” (a lighter Swedish jam to have with i.e. pancakes) has to be added to this list with:

2 kilos redcurrant
0.2 kilos blackcurrant

All in all almost 9 kilos of fruit. Good that I did not think about all this while dealing with it ūüėČ . But the results are just heavenly – especially when you can enjoy them later on a dark winter night, bringing back memories from that summer… Or so.

Some samples of this year’s range:

Thought on the side – next year I might start selling some of it. Too much otherwise for our family.

Summerholidays 2009

One entire month without a single blog post, tweet or dent. Other people are only announcing their summer-offline-phase but I was really living it. And I must say that I feel somehow very relaxed, no feeling that I missed out on something etc. .

So what on earth did I do during the last 4 weeks?

Moving boxes and a few furniture up from the parents base camp in Germany into the new (gorgeous!) flat

– one day spent in all different kinds of “Baumarkt” that Norrk√∂ping has to offer (I have a pretty good knowledge now about prices and ranges at i.e. Bauhaus and K-Rauta)

Рanother day was spent at Linköping IKEA Рresulting in buying one of these small espresso brewers for the oven, knowing which BILLY-combination we want (oak with glass doors so that we do not have to dedust all our books anymore)

– some days spent in (rainy) Grythyttan – on the only sunny day we had, we did not go motorcycling but mowed the lawn (boyfriend) and picked gooseberries and blackcurrant and made jam (me).

Making jam! Funnily enough I gave away all my good empty jam glass collection to my mum and my sister, not knowing at that time that they would have come in handy at my end as well…. Murphy again. Thank goodness there is the mother-in-law’s collection that I was allowed to plunder.
My first jam ever was simple Blackcurrant one. Followed by a slightly more sophisticated Gooseberry jam with 10 year old Whiskey from the Isle of Jura in Scotland. The next jam was with Blackcurrant again, this time with Grappa that ripened in Madeira barrels (in other words: the expensive Grappa, not the one that one can also use to clean motorcycle parts). Comment of the boyfriend when coming into the kitchen after I poured the Grappa into the jam: “It smells quite strong when the berries get cooked”. I told him later that 4cl of his favourite Grappa went in there and caused the smell. Since he loves jam he didn’t seem to mind. Luckily.

The next range was Redcurrant jam with Black Seal Rum from Bermuda, and yesterday was the last shift for this year. Gooseberries again, with Cassis this time. Quite decent as well, if one can judge it by the taste of the fresh and still warm jam.

Making jam is quite job-intensive, especially cleaning the (bloody!!) berries, but also very satisfying when the results are unexpectedly good. So I will do it again. Next year.

Anyway – now it is back to work and normal life again. That means retraining the late-breakfast-stomach to normal eating times, less jam cooking (but maybe sewing curtains instead, yay) – and surely taking part in all the exciting things “cooking” at work ūüôā

Motorcyclinglast but not least! As previously said, there is a certain shortcoming in that this summer, though, mainly due to work with the new flat. But – we managed to watch the 44th Classic Race on Sviesta which was great as usual. One can see motorcycles from the 30’s in action – the ones you otherwise only see in Motala’s Motormuseum, which we also visited when my sister and her husband were over for a week.

We also met Kjelle from the Guzzi club on the way from Grythyttan to Norrk√∂ping. Together with three other club members (including Il Presidente Nicke) he is now on the way down to Mandello Del Lario, the hometown of all Guzzis. Needless to stress that I envy them???!!! Right now they are in Prague – and a really great diary they have. I just don’t know why on earth they chose Bloggagratis.se over WordPress.com… But never mind.

So – what have you done during summer?

There is by the way a nice saying “A weekend would not be a weekend if it would not be spent doing something totally pointless.” I reckon that applies to a certain degree to holidays as well, doesn’t it?

So far so good!

May I just say….

Enjoy the summer. It is as always far too short!


Update – a picture from a beautiful afternoon in Stegeborg, a place with quite some history.