Priddis & Millarville Fair 2012

I am happy to report that I entered three jams in three different categories in the Priddis & Millarville Fair.  The judging was on Friday night.  When I got to the Market yesterday morning, the arena didn’t open till 9.  *tap tap tap*.  I rushed in to find the following:
Naked Raspberry – 1st prize in Raspberry/Strawberry Jams
*Great Presentation.  This jam has a great buttery flavour – felt like it melted in our mouths.  Delicious.  #1 Great Spreads.*

You can’t see the ribbon – I was too excited to do a good photo

Rhubarb, Rosemary and Honey – 1st prize in Other Jams
*Superb.  Delicious.  Great blend of all flavours.  Well done.  Good presentation.*
  Meyer Lemon Marmalade – 1st prize in Marmalades and also, Best of Section for Canning
*Okay. This jam shows some great skill. Excellent Flavour and Taste. Good job.*   *Most unique – good working of lemons*
*evil cackle*.. world jam domination will soon be mine….

Mrs. Beeton’s view on Seville Orange Marmalade

Mrs. Beeton’s Family Cookery and Housekeeping Book:  A Useful Guide in Households, both Large and Small (1905) has four recipes for Orange Marmalade made with Seville Oranges.  They are all complicated because, as anyone who makes Seville knows, there is a lot of work involved.  At the bottom of the first recipe she writes:  NOTE:  The best marmalade is made by Keiller, and many are of the opinion that when it can be bought so cheaply and good it is scarcely worth making it at home.   (I checked and you can still buy Keiller’s Marmamalde lo these many years later).  Course, you can also buy it from me.

Here is one of the recipes:

Equal weight of fine loaf sugar and Seville oranges, to 12 oranges for one pint of water.  Average cost, 6d per lb.

Let there be an equal weight of loaf sugar and Seville oranges and allow the above proportion of water to every dozen oranges.  Peel them carefully, remove a little of the white pith and boil the rinds in water 2 hours, changing the water three time to take off a little of the bitter taste. Break the pulp into small pieces, take out all the pips and cut the boiled rind into chips.  Make syrup with the sugar and water; boil this well, skim it, and, when clear, put in the pulp and chips.  Boil all together from 20 minutes to ½ hour, pour it into pots, and, when cold, cover down with bladders, or tissue-paper brushed over on both sides with the white of an egg.  The juice and grated rind of 2 lemons to every dozen of oranges, added with the pulp and chips to the syrup, re a very great improvement to this marmalade.

Time:  2 hours to boil the orange-rinds; 10 minutes to boil to syrup; 20 minutes to ½ hour to boil the marmalade.

Seasonable:  This should be made in March or April, as Seville oranges are then in their perfection.

Jam Course August 2011

August 2011.  I fly to Chicago, go to see the Chagall Windows at the Art Institute, have dinner with my favourite Chicagoans, Paula and Toph, site see, and then, on Monday morning, I rise at 0600h and go to my Jam making course.
A good first day.  12 people in the class 5 of whom worked in health care at some point.  One person who asks a million questions and most of them over and over because every class seems to require that action.  We had lectures this morning and then cooked all afternoon.  Broken into teams of two, one half the class made 5 recipes and one half did the other five.  My partner and I made Dill Pickles, Candied Ginger, tart dough for a mincemeat tart tomorrow, and the mincemeat and apricot jam. Some of which were prep work for things we will make this week sometime.  We really had to move.  They were just a little disorganized but everyone got done in time so no big deal.   My partner, who took the serious 6 month course which was graded is a neat freak.  She says that the course did that to her – that one was graded on a clean work station.  So she had the bottle of disinfectant out every 10 minutes.  She is a worrier with not much sense of haha but is an 11 year liver transplant survivor so I suppose one can forgive her level of earnestness.
 
Cooking is a great equalizer.  A Master’s Degree or a physician’s license isn’t much good when you are filling jars.  One of the docs, who is a retired genito-urinary surgeon says that she finds it all meditative.  Which is what I get from making jam – I call it my working meditation.  Steady, careful with measured movement.  Enjoying the zen of the day – in and out, up and down, stir and chop.  The callus on my middle finger from stirring – the mark of the jam maker.  I did learn today that when my chocolates get bloom on them (yes, I make chocolates too) it means that I got the chocolate too hot when I melted it.
 
After class, I was going to hop a cab but decided that I would head in the direction of the hotel as long as my ankle held out (osteoarthritis – severe I’m told).  It was a glorious summer day.  And I wanted to explore a bit – see if there were any hidden gems between there and here.  But no.  Just retail and beggars.
 
I need a nap then I might go out and explore a bit more.  Sit in the park perhaps and watch the world go by.
 
P.S.  I did not get one spot or splatter on my white chef’s coat.  This is an achievement for me.  Usually I’m all Miss Piggy cooks.
 
The rest of the week speeds by in a splattering of information, a stirring up of questions, and a satisfaction of competency.  We make all kinds of things – some well, some badly.  The last day, I cannot bear to cook one more damned thing.  I halfheartedly stir the home-made ketchup with the addition of honey, lavender and what I think are far too many spices that I am to turn into BBQ sauce. I was too lazy and I guess rebellious to chop the onion that was required so tossed it.  Sneakily of course.  I look at my partner who says “I don’t want any” and I think, well niether do I.  I make perfectly good BBQ sauce at home and my already overweight suitcase cannot take ONE MORE JAR.  I stop stirring and slink to a sink in another room, far from the eagle eyes of our instructo to dump it out.  My classmate/physician to the left discuss the wisdom of putting lavendar in BBQ sauce.  We agree this is a stupid idea.  Later, a dish is put out for us to taste.  Ever game, we try it.  We look at each other and have to bashfully admit that we like it.  Teach me to have a closed mind.
 
We eat some scones which are really just a vehicle to get the freshly made lemon cream into our mouths, trade jars with each other.  I give away most of my jars because again, I can’t take 40 jars of product with me.  And then it’s over.  We disperse to waiting cabs, family members, the subway.  And it’s over.  I learned a lot.  I got some sublime recipes.  And I had a great time.  I will say one thing – any nice fantasies I was harbouring about ever doing a 6 month course at a real cooking school are tossed.  I could never take that discipline.  I will not be told what socks to wear or be chastised for talking when Chef is talking.  It actually makes me laugh – I’m too far gone.  But again, it was a great course.  And a wonderful experience.  Jam rules.