Strawberry Time..Lets get Jamming!

Do you like to POY (Pick Your Own) fruit? Well we do and normally make a day of it, with picnic and friends. Last week went to this wonderful farm Garelja Bros Strawberry Gardens which I have found from the Best Berries website. We picked an astonishing amount of quality strawberries. As it is coming to the end of the season and a lot of strawberries have been picked you are better checking out the Garelia Face Book page for opening times before you go. So what do we do with a bucket load of strawberries… we make jam, Yea!!
Although I also intend to make the cinnamon meringues with vanilla roasted strawberries from the Best Berry website, sound delicious.
Not to my jam, we all have our favourite variations on the standard strawberry jam, mine is vanilla – adding the bean pod seeds for a good strong flavor. However looking at recipes on the internet I came across this one for spicy strawberry jam, sounded absolutely delicious so tried it and it was…well worth making.

Spicy strawberry jam, a little different than the norm.
Spicy Strawberry Jam

Going to be busy this coming Sunday as we and some friends are off to Mangere Bridge Village, they have an admission free Boutique Market with Arts and crafts and fruit and vegetable stalls. We plan to take in the lava flows in Kiwi Esplanade and time permitting head off to Ambury Park, which is a working farm with chooks, piglets and sheep , I am sure the kids are going to love that. I am taking a break from baking and preserving for a coffee and 10 minutes on here but soon must get back to finishing off the jam that will go with the scones I will make for the picnic on Sunday. Let me know if you plan to go or if you can recommend a good PYO farm.

Kiwi Esplanade -lava flows New Zealand
Ropy pahoehoe surfaces on Mount Mangere lava flows found in the foreshore at Kiwi Esplanade – opposite the junction of Boyd & House Avenues


The finest fruit and vegatables can be found at this Auckland Market

At the Auckland market  at the AMI Auckland Netball centre in September I bought a load of rhubarb 10 kilos in fact, got them for a steal. This market/ car boot is another favourite of mine, I find many of my fresh produce deals from there. Local growers bring the freshest fruit and vegetables to the market and the prices are so reasonable. It’s colourful and fun and a pleasure to walk round. Also has traditional Island and Maori Food which I always find intriguing.

What did I do with them? Well I froze  about 8 kilos and made some pies and tarts with the fresh rhubarb. Now I am going to make some compote with it. Compote is basically stewed fruit as sweet and as sour as you desire. Rhubarb is one of those fruits that goes well with meat, I love to use my spiced one with ham.

This recipe is a honey rhubarb compote, handy for me because it uses frozen rhubarb. Slightly sweeter than my normal but delicious over ice cream or oatmeal. My preference?easy, eaten over thick Greek style yoghurt, delicious.

Rhubarb and honey compote to use with yoghurt or ice cream

6 cups chopped frozen rhubarb pieces

1/2 cup apple juice

1/3 cup honey

Bring the apple juice to a slow boil in a sauce-pot. Add honey and rhubarb pieces and stir well while the honey melts. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes (simmering, heat reduced.

You could also add a slice of beet to your compote for a deeper color. Add in with apple juice and simmer until you can see the color being released.

Taste-test and add more honey if desired. If not, remove from heat and let it cool down and thicken naturally. Remove your slice of beet if you added it in and discard.

Refrigerate your compote for up to one week


Happy preserving.


False Marmalade!

This week I thought i would share with you  a recipe I found earlier in the year at one of my car boot visits. Interestingly it was from the stall holder and not from what she was selling. I was looking at old recipe books on her stall and we got talking and found we shared an interest in preserving.. it  funny how the world works isn’t it? like finds like. Well as I said we were chatting and she mentioned her mother recipe for marmalade being a bit different made from carrots but she could not find the recipe anywhere.  Well I couldn’t leave it at that had to have the recipe, well I found it on Allrecipes. Au. Mock orange marmalade, I made it up and it was delicious, me being me had to experiment a bit so I added some cinnamon, I thought it worked well. No car boots for me this this month as getting ready to actually be a seller at the Mountainside Lutheran Church car boot on the 6th December.

Orange and grapefruit marmalade a good way to use up a glut of fruit
Orange & Grapefruit Marmalade

One of the preserves I am making is orange and grapefruit marmalade, this is the recipe I use:


1kg grapefruit

1kg oranges

2kg sugar

1/2 cup whiskey

Fresh ginger (about thumb size finely grated) sometimes I add caraway seeds instead


Finely slice unpeeled fruit, place in a preserving pan and cover with 2 litres of water. Cover and leave to soak overnight

The next day, place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil and boil for 40 minutes

Lower the heat and add the sugar and ginger stirring until dissolved

Return to the boil for about an hour, stirring regularly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot

After about an hour do a ‘set test’ on a cold saucer by dropping a tablespoon of marmalade onto it. The marmalade is ready when it forms a skin that wrinkles when you hold the plate on an angle.

At this point add the whiskey and boil for couple of minutes more to burn off the alcohol

Pour straight into sterilised jars and seal


Happy preserving..

Auckland Car Boot and a bit of China!

I thoroughly enjoy the car boot sales. Living in the Auckland area we have a number every month so can really get around. Usually really sociable and friendly. One of my favourite car boots is at Grey Lynn. They are held on the last Sunday in the month, its one of my favourites as it is only second hand – no new stuff, plus I don’t sell there so it is just a pleasure to wander around. I like Grey Lynn , wouldn’t mind living there, nice feel to it you know? My best buy ever though was at last month’s car boot where I found a wonderful preserving pan.  It was a copper one, I still feel like squealing over my find..eeek. To get a quality good one costs around 200$ plus, take look at this site if you don’t believe me. I was actually considering investing in one but I saved myself 150$ yep only cost me 50$.

Copper preserving pan a healthy alternative to stainless steel
Mine is not quite as shiny as this but still a great find.

Using it for the first time I actually made a batch of plum sauce, not the season I know but we seem to have eaten our stock up and my sister is having a party and asked for some. Fortunately I had some plums in the freezer, left over from March… yea I know. I had forgotten they were there but for this sauce they worked well. I had left the skins on them when I had frozen them and only slightly blanched them. I never throw fruit away, thats why we have such a big freezer, I get a lot from family who own farms and fruit trees, whenever there is a glut of anything I get it!!

Plum sauce – now I have my wonderful pan I  can double and treble the quantities…

Plum sauce made in a traditional Chinese way
Tasty Plum Sauce



5-20 small to medium plums

6, cloves garlic minced

½ cup red onion finely chopped

grated fresh ginger

¼ cup soy sauce

2 TBS sweet chilli sauce



Slice plums in half. Discard Stones. Cut up into medium sized chunks.

Put plums and rest of ingredients into a pan.

Cook on medium for 20 mins.

Blend with an immersion mixer until desired consistency.


Will keep in the freezer for 6 months or fridge for 2 weeks.

Happy preserving