Don’t call it a comeback. But hey, I’ve come back! I took a hiatus from this space, because it was my birthday last week. I turned 26. I feel very in-between places. I’m not in my early twenties anymore, so I feel like I’m not totally off the hook anymore. But I’m not a fully-fledged, on the hook, member of society either.
I’m at the age where kids think I’m really old, and adults think I’m really young. It feels nebulous and transitional, and I’m questioning many things about myself. So to embrace that weirdness, I’ve been on a major technology detox. I read nothing from the internet, didn’t look at any social media (almost – had to thank friends for birthday wishes), and really dropped out of the blogging space for a while.
With that distance I feel a lot lighter now. I realise again why I enjoyed this space, and I also realise what I really dislike about it. I can’t stand digital marketing. I don’t want to be a Pinterest genius, or an SEO scientist, or a fucking reality TV star. I don’t want to make my boyfriend take glamour photos of me. I don’t like marble, so I don’t want to shoot everything on it. Nothing about my life is perfect, and I can’t even pretend it is. So brace yourselves, because things are going to get a little more honest and real around here. If you want to hear from people more eloquent than me on this topic check out this article, or Michelle’s piece, or this genius tumblr. Or I can explain with three visuals: latte art, avocado roses, marble inlaid with brass.
All of this is to say that the thing which has always been the very best and brightest aspect of blogging is the gold nuggets of humanity who populate the other food blogs out there. Without exception, every single one of them is a bright spark, a generous, genuine, creative and giving human. Or at least all the ones I’ve talked to. One of those is the delight Lindsey Love (how could she not be gorgeous with that name) of Dolly and Oatmeal. And it’s Lindsey and the little baby love who is due any day now that brings me here to share this jam with you. Happy Internet Baby Shower Lindsey! We love you and can’t wait to meet your little love.
This jam reflects another aspect of why I will never give up food writing; the cookbooks. They are what got me started at The Sugar Hit, they have been my favourite thing for most of my life, and they sustain me to this day. This strawberry and rhubarb jam (to which I added a vanilla pod, because yum) comes from a cookbook called The Modern Preserver by a fellow antipodean, Kylee Newton, who is from New Zealand and runs a store called Newton and Pott in London. The book is full of sharp pickles, sweet-savoury chutneys, cool liquers and infusions and many, many irresistible jams.
This rhubarb and strawberry number (one of my favourite combos) is a classic – the flavour is undeniably fresh and delicious, the process was fuss free, and the results are stellar. Plus, it was a beautiful way to spend a phone-free, no internet morning. Chopping and washing fruit, slowing boiling things, filling the house with the smell of syrupy magic. If I can fill year 26 with more of this, I’ll be OK.
And don’t forget to check out all these other Baby Shower recipes for the gorgeous Lindsey!
Sweet Potato Millet Pancakes | The Full Helping
Mushroom and Kale Tacos | Brooklyn Supper
Butternut Squash French Toast | Edible Perspective
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Honey Olive Oil Ice Cream | Cake Over Steak
Roasted Green Tomato Soup with Herbed Oil | With Food + Love
Tart Cherry, Chocolate & Hempseed No-Bake Oat Bars | Kale & Caramel
Dark Chocolate Hummus | A Couple Cooks
Maitake Steaks with Cauliflower Purée | O&O Eats
Cucumber & Chamoe Melon Salad | Two Red Bowls
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam | The Sugar Hit
Miso Edamame Hummus with Baked Furikake Sweet Potato Chips | Fix Feast Flair
Mini Hazelnut Cakes | I am a Food Blog
The Magic of a Mandolin: Vegetable Carpaccio | Eat Boutique
Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | Tending the Table
Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Puffed Millet Bars | Heart of a Baker
- 500g rhubarb (weighed after it's been washed and trimmed)
- 250g strawberries (weighed after they've been washed and trimmed)
- 1 + ¼ cup (250g) caster sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- First, sterilize two small-ish jam jars. This would be enough for about 1½ bonne maman sized jars, if that helps. I sterilize, by simply filling the jars and their lids with boiling water from the kettle, emptying them with a pair of tongs (be careful), and then leaving them to dry without touching them - fingers inside the jars or lids would de-sterilize them.
- Now, make the jam!
- Slice the rhubarb into 1 cm / ½ inch pieces. Hull and chop the strawberries into approximately the same size of the rhubarb.
- Place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and water into a large pan, and place over a medium heat. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. At this point the fruits will be almost floating in a sweet syrup.
- Strain the mixture, reserving the fruit pulp, and placing the syrup back into the pan. Stir the syrup over a high heat, for about 10-15 minutes, or until reduced by half.
- Add back the fruit pulp, along with the lemon juice. Bring back to the boil, and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
- Test whether the jam is set, by spooning a small amount onto a saucer, and placing it in the fridge for a few minutes. Take it out, and prod it with your finger - if you like the consistency, and it's not too runny or syrupy, it's good to go.
- Spoon the hot jam into the dry jars, and then screw on the lids, carefully flip the jars upside down, and leave them to cool completely.