Today I gave my ‘brother from another mother’ a call. He was on a train en route to Rome having just spent some time in Florence. He’s spent the last few weeks in bella Italia, teaching English, staying with real, live Italians who grow herbs, make their own pasta and hold elaborate dinner parties. Whilst in Milan, he was photographed by a cool fashion blogger because he’s just so damn stylish, yesterday he saw the leaning tower of Pisa…what a drag…I sure do pity him…
So I made jam, not just any jam, New York Times jam, jam that is sweet and savoury all at once, Harry Potter jam, jam so vibrant and red, you almost don’t want to eat it because it’s so darn beautiful, but you do, on toasted ciabatta, topped with a perfectly fried egg…whilst dreaming of Italy, sun ripened tomatoes, fields of sunflowers, the Amalfi coast, glasses of chilled Limoncello…sigh…
I made 2 small jars of this jam, I have one jar left! It is so good as is, or served with some mature cheddar and crusty bread. You can improve the shelf life of this tasty preserve by bottling it in sterilized jars. The easiest way to sterilize your jars is to fill them a 1/3 of the way with water and microwave them on high for 10 minutes (that’s what Nigella does). I have used this method since I started making jam and it works for me… I do however freak out just a little when the water starts to bubble and make a weird sound, like the jar is going to explode…but I take my adrenalin fix where I can get it! I boil the lids in a small saucepan of water. I am pretty sure this kills all the germs. Trust me.
Spiced Tomato Jam with Cumin, Ginger and Cinnamon
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef
Makes 2 small jars (about 400ml)
750g ripe bella or plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice ( I sometimes struggle to find limes, so when I do find them I buy a few, squeeze the juice out of them and freeze it in ice-cube trays)
1 tbsp freshly grated, peeled ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
A small pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring every now and then over low heat until the mixture resembles thick jam, this takes about 45 minutes – but if you’re not sure, place a saucer in the deep freeze for a few minutes, then place a spoonful of jam on the cold saucer, it should firm up and not trickle all over the plate if you tilt it at an angle, the top should also wrinkle slightly, then you know it’s ready to be bottled. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour into hot, sterilized jam jars and screw the lids on.