Monday, 30 December 2013

Home Made Bread Machine Jam

I went to visit a friend in the afternoon yesterday, I left with a bag full of fresh and very ripe plums from her mother's tree, perfect for making jam! As I am a lazy and only part-time lady of leisure, I like to take shortcuts as much as possible to still get the fancy result. Enter the bread machine. I bought mine about 18 months ago in a sale and generally I use it to make pizza dough and jam. All I have to do is chop fruit (and with berries I sometimes don't even bother with that!), dump it in the machine and an hour and a half later... JAM! Sometimes the jam can be quite runny but it doesn't bother me as I generally eat it mixed in with plain yoghurt anyway.

I made three kinds of jam today, using up the plums and other fruit I already had in the fridge from Christmas or stored away in the freezer. The mango/strawberry came out a bit runny, I think I needed more pectin or more boiling time, I think maybe the fact that the mango went in frozen had an affect because the bread machine runs on a timer.  I actually made the blackberry/plum jam in the pressure cooker and that was quite good, didn't take long and easy to clean up compared to the stove because the pressure cooker pot is bigger than my other pots.

Cherryberry- Cherry and Raspberry Jam
700g Cherries (de-pitted- resulting in what looked like a violent murder contained entirely on my bench-top)
300g frozen raspberries
500g CSR Jam Sugar
500g castor sugar
10-15g pectin (Jamsetta)

Blumberry- blackberry and plum jam:
600g chopped plums
400g blackberries
10-15g pectin (Jamsetta)
1kg sugar

Manberry- mango and strawberry jam:
300g chopped strawberries
400g chopped mango
10-15g pectin (Jamsetta)
700g sugar

These gorgeous labels were made using the Jam Labelizer, a website entirely dedicated to creating cute jam labels using one of a few different templates and adding your own details or pictures. I highly recommend! I also used Skip To My Lou to make a recipe card for the lemonade scones.

I also bought some cute little jars, Kleerview jam jar plastic and ingredients to make lemonade scones to make up a little gift pack for another friend who has just moved out with her boyfriend.  (Please excuse the placement of these pictures, I'm new to this and don't know why they're all over the place...)

I think the finished product has turned out to be really cute! Pressure cooker seems to give good results in terms of thickness, however I think I will just go back to using the Jam Sugar by CSR rather than trying to work with pectin on its own, as it seems a bit tricky when using different types of fruit.
Let me know what your favourite recipe or combination for jam is!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

New Year, New Blog!

Hello to the world of blogs and bloggers!

This is my very first blog post and, I hope, the start of many more to come.
My name is Em, I am a teacher at a Melbourne primary school and I am equal parts 10 year old, 25 year old and 80 year old. I like to sew, cook, craft, garden and decorate my house. I also love clothes, make-up, skin care, nails, 'the internet' and shopping (Especially when those last two happen together)!
This blog will have recipes, tutorials, reviews, hauls and whatever else crops up that I would like to share- feel free to suggest ideas for future posts.

So, in getting ready for the new year, I have come up with a few goals for myself. I always like to have goals set for the year, with a few different areas covered so I have something to work towards, but nothing that is too stressful or consuming as I know I just won't stick to it.

Goals for 2014
Financial/Shopping Related:
-Stick to savings plan, this should allow for a good chunk added to my house savings, as well as a decent trip to America next December/January.
-Keep spending outside my budgeted 'needs' to under $100 a week.
-1 new nail polish per term only. I have so many already that I could use a different one every week of the year and still not try them all!  (Click here to go to the page of a great Gelish seller, she has the best customer service and packages the polishes better than I have received them from 'professional' online stores)
-Make-up and skin care product project pan to start, being subscribed to BellaBox will give me the thrill of new things to try, but I have plenty to work through before buying new things. I will also be more motivated to complete reviews for BellaBox to earn points and maybe get some freebie items from their shop.

-Continue to maintain 5:2 diet and find the right variation to allow me to enjoy the health benefits without losing more weight.
-Try to have less sugar in some places, like in my hot tea, especially regular tea with milk- I really don't need it.
-Exercise, this is always the one I don't stick to, but I will aim for 2 training sessions per week during holidays and one session per week during the term. I know this is a very small amount but 2013 has been a very lazy year in that respect, so I want to make an aim I think I have a chance of sticking to. 

Hobbies/Fun Stuff:
-No more hoarding fabric/supplies. In 2014 I want to use up lots of my fabric stash, I have to stop worrying that I will waste it and just enjoy using what I have.
-Handmade gifts, I'm a terrible person when it comes to birthdays and gift giving. This year I really want to create more cards and gifts for people, especially to make use of my Brother Scan'n'Cut, which is so much fun and has so many possibilities.
-Photos, I want to take more photos that aren't just of things I make! I also want to take more photos at work and upload to the school server for the kids to use or take home to show what they do all day. 
-Read more! I want to read all of the Game of Thrones books since I have them, and to be honest that might be enough to keep me going the whole year, but if I can read regularly that will still be a win to me.
-Blogging! I want to make this a regular thing and my goal will be 1 per week minimum. 

Well that should do it for now, thanks for reading!
xo Em ox