Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grape Jam

I am fortunate enough to have a grape vine growing well in my garden and love eating the fresh grapes each summer, this summer however has delivered a bounty of grapes...too many to eat and I hate seeing the wasps eating them. So I have discovered how to make Grape Jam from an old 1970's Woman's Weekly Cookbook. I have tweaked this recipe all summer and have found a happy medium between the Seventies and the Modern Day.

Grape Jam
1 kg of Grapes, either Red or Green.
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1/2 a lemon or orange sliced thickly.

I have seeded grapes growing in my garden, so I have found it best to de-seed before cooking, this takes a little bit of time, but the alternative is fishing them out whilst cooking. No...not fun. So de-seed your grapes into a large pot, the larger the better as the jam froths up quite high. Add your sugar and citrus and stand for 20 minutes to macerate the fruit. This extracts all the liquid so you bypass the need to add water to the cooking process (as the 1970's version suggested) When the mix is nice a moist put is on the stove top to boil. Boil and stir for 20 minutes or until it has reduced somewhat. It will get thicker and more gelatinous as it cooks. Remove the Lemon or Orange. You need a little bit of citrus to help the jam set, the grapes are quite high in Pectin which helps the jam to set also. No need for special Jam Sugar or adding Pectin to this one.

The fine line with making jam is not that fine really. You see it thicken and put a teaspoonful on a plate, if it is not too runny then it is ready to bottle.

This recipe makes one jar and it is usually eaten rather quickly so I don't sterilise properly. I just have a clean jar and pour boiling water into it while I cook the jam. If you where planning on storing the jam then Google one of the billion sterilisation methods.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Give The Kids a Chance

I am a pretty relaxed parent. Preferring the kids to make their own small mistakes and learning from them. I do not hover around them watching their every move and dictating what they should and shouldn't do constantly. By no means do my kids run amok, but they have proper rules and boundaries for their lives. We teach them respect for other people and property, and we do not always get it right and our kids are not always following these rules and boundaries but that is what learning is about.

So with giving them this freedomt to play and learn I also give them freedom to explore things which are not usual kid domain. Like film and photography. Both kids have used a digital film camera and SLR camera. Both have used sharp knives to cut food and by eldest can plunge a coffee and make it just how I like it. Both know how to operate the washing machine and load and empty it. Having these skills I can see their confidence grow and their constant curiosity being fulfilled.

I allow my bigger kids to use my camera. I teach them how to be safe with it and give them an appropriate boundary for my 4 year old I have to remind her to stay near me in the front yard. Teaching them how to use the SLR camera gives them confidence and skills. They learn about light and focus. The learn composition and balance when they are taking a photo. They learn respect for anthers property and above all they take some pretty cool photographs. Below are some taken by my daughter who is 4.