Busy

I’ve been busy making things while contemplating some heavy stuff.
Having to focus on something very precisely, like making jam and following the recipe to a t helps to quiet the mind for a while. It also gives you delicious jam 😉

fresh picked

We picked these Cornelian Dogwood Cherries, and the taste is fantastic! It’s a mix of cherry and rhubarb, with a hint of cranberry. I’ve saved a few pips to plant my own next year. I have a feeling a bit of espalier training will take place!

Breaking down

I just added one of the cups of sugar required to the fruit to get it to soften so that I could easily take out the pips. Or so I thought!
I spent almost an hour with a potato masher pushing the fruit through a strainer while the pips stayed behind.

Sugary mush

What resulted was a lovely paste, and more sugar was added to it! For four cups of cherry like fruit, you add 7 cups of sugar. They say you’re supposed to take the pips out first, but I tend to make my own rules.

Silver sparkle jam

The end result tastes like heaven. The reason why this batch of jam was so urgently made late at night is because I have a craving for crepes. So tomorrow morning will be a delicious one with fluffy, thin crepes with a spoonful of this heavenly jam, all rolled up with powdered sugar lightly dusted on top.

What I love the most about this jam is that I will never find it in a store. The flavours will only grace the pantries of a small amount of people in the whole world who are fortunate enough to have some of these trees around, and interested in making home made preserves.

risen

Oh, have I mentioned I’ve been bread baking?

Oh yes indeed. I’ve delved into what makes a delicious bakery bread delicious. Mostly we think of French bakery bread when we imagine those still warm, lightly buttered slices of bread. I’ve looked into how the French were baking their bread before the advent of packaged or bottled yeasts.
So what’s missing? Eggs? Butter or oils? Milk? What gives it that fantastic flavour?
Two words:
Sour dough.

sponge

So if you’re planning on making an actual sour dough bread, then you’ll use more sour dough starter, but if you’re looking for a delicious French bread taste, then you use much less. Right now, I’m playing around with how much the man and I like in the bread. Mostly I’m just eye-balling it because I always use the same amount of flour for our bread tin.

What I also like to do is to use regular bottled yeast to make sure it rises sufficiently. It can be tricky learning how to wait for wild yeasts to rise, so I’m still experimenting with it. But bread yeast isn’t a huge expense, and it helps with consistent results.

I have a feeling with the mead making and bread making, I’m supposed to work with yeast. It is a most wonderful and magical living organism, full of transformative powers.

I’ve also been planning a garden that will feed us and my parents once we move back to Ontario. I’m trying to implement companion planting, so the plans have taken a long time to finish!

So a busy bee I’ve been.

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