Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Simple Jam, Not So Simple Thoughts

Several people have asked me about the breakfast dish I prepared during my tv interview on Us Girls (yes, not-so-little old me on tv!). I realize now, in retrospect, that I didn’t really go into full gory detail about the interview, just to say when it was coming out and where. I didn’t think much of that then, but looking back, I suspect I must have been a little shy. It’s one thing to share your photos and thoughts to the whole world on a blog, or even have a photo of your face in a magazine, it’s quite another to have yourself moving and speaking in full Technicolor-vision on a tv screen!

When I got the email requesting for the interview I almost said no – tv? Me? Not likely. But I had been thinking about the premise behind this book lately. Do I say no too often? I don’t think so. In fact, I’d like to think I’m up for anything, and I usually am! But what if that anything just happens to be a something way outside my comfort zone? Will I still grab it with two hands and fly by the seat of my pants as I claim I like to do?

Deep thoughts.

So I found myself with those deep thoughts, looking at an email a lot of people would not have even blinked twice at (whether to say yes or no). And I decided to stop thinking and start doing.

And then I got really nervous and went out and bought a new dress.

See how good stuff happened almost immediately?

Then the shoot came and I had a ball! The staff of Us Girls were professional and thoughtful. The host was just this side of enchanting, and immediately put me at ease. We were shooting for an episode of the show called virtual life which featured people who, in one way or the other, were connected to the tech/cyber world. I also got to touch base with another blogger friend who I hadn’t seen in a long while (who was interviewed before me). During the segment, we talked about my blog, what it’s all about, how I started blogging and what I like about it (a lot!), and I prepared one breakfast dish. They asked for something easy to put together so I chose this yogurt parfait. It makes for a delicious, healthy breakfast that lends itself to many variations (you can use the fruits and preserves you have on hand) and a cinch to whip up...plus it looks nice.

So to those of you who were asking, you can find the method for the yogurt parfait here. Some were also asking what brand granola I use – although I don’t always have time to make my own, I urge you to try making homemade granola. It’s easy and leagues more delicious than anything you can buy in a store (plus you know for sure what goes in it). The recipe I use is here. You can make it ahead of time, store in an airtight container, and use whenever the mood strikes...which will be often, believe you me.

For the original parfait I used this blueberry syrup. For the show, however, I made some quick strawberry jam. Simple, quick jams are something I love to throw together. Let me just say here, before you think I am up to my elbows in fruits and jars and sterilization implements, I usually make small batches of jam...enough for roughly one bottle. I don’t go through the whole boiling of the bottles and sealing and what not either. I’m not storing up for the winter. I make the jam, pour it into a clean jar, and store in the fridge. It’s usually all gone after a week or so. It requires very little time and supervision, and will have you feeling like a proper domestic goddess without breaking a sweat, I promise you. Also, it goes without saying, homemade jam is a whole different world from store-bought in taste, and you have total control of what goes in and how sweet (or not) you want it.

No recipe for this, just a sort of loose method: I clean and weigh my fruits (peel, de-seed, and chop them too if needed depending on the fruit -- before weighing). I then toss the fruit in a non-reactive pot with sugar that weighs a little less. For example, for the Nectarine Plum Jam pictured here I had about 250 grams fruit (chopped and de-seeded weight) and I used about 170-180 grams sugar. Add a squeeze of lemon. Place on the hob and let cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and setting point is reached. For this amount it will not take too long. When done, pour into a clean jar and cool. Store in the refrigerator.

I test the setting point with the old saucer-in-freezer method: Place a saucer in the freezer while you are making you jam. When your jam looks like it’s thickened, take the saucer out and put a drop of jam on its surface. Now tilt the saucer...if the jam runs down the plate it’s not ready. It should catch and droop slowly...then push the jam lightly with your finger, it should wrinkle a bit.

It’s lovely travelling out of your comfort zone to enjoy the new things that await you there :) Even if you already grab every opportunity by the horns, try something that you typically wouldn’t do. You may be happily surprised! :)


Anne said...

I wish I could see the show :-( Unfortunately, I only have TFC *sigh*

I'm sure you did great!

Divina Pe, RHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divina Pe, RHN said...

Some typo errors that I've published and deleted so here it is again. Ever since they moved Us Girls to a new time slot, I don't watch it anymore. So, I hope they will have a reply. I admire your courage to say yes for that TV interview. Besides, you're known by a lot of people for this blog site. And it is indeed a great blog site. The jam looks scrumptious too. :)

Anh said...

I wish I could see you on TV. That would be great :).

I make jam quite often but never bother to photograph them. Home-made jam is the best, isn't it?

Helen said...

Well done! I wish I could have seen it too. I know what you mean about Yes Man, I felt that way after reading it too.

Stepford Mum said...

Yum! I am going to make jam next time I have enough fruit. Have wanted to for a long time, but always thought you needed the sterile jars etc. Good to know a jar's worth will do, as I'm the only one who'll eat it at our house anyway!

Irene said...

You know what I think the moral of the story is? You need more new dresses. ;) Seriously, though, it takes a lot of bravery to put fears and inhibitions aside. I think it's wonderful that you did this and of course, you are very deserving of the opportunity!

Ruy said...

Wow, that jam looks so rich and chunky I wish I could have that with hot pandesal and butter right now.
I wonder how I could catch a replay of that show. I want to see it!

Pianybackpacker said...

I'm glad I found your blog (came from Ramblings of a Gypsy Soul).

I'll be adding you to my blogroll. And I'd be sure to try some of your recipes at home, too. :D

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anne! I wish you could too but they haven’t given me a video :( Aw, thanks!

Hi Divina! I hope so too! Thanks so much for your nice comment :)

Hi Anh! I was a bit jittery but I think I did not too bad! :) Homemade jam is really the best...I make this often too...it’s always so jewel-like that I wanted to photograph it this time – and encourage other people to start making some because it is so easy!

Hi Helen! It’s inspiring :)

Hi Iyor! You will need the sterile jars and all that when you are a making a bunch for longer term storage. I make a jar and store in the fridge – and it doesn’t last long as I love having it for breakfast with toast and butter! This is an easy and quick way to start making jam at home I think :)

Hi Irene! Thank you! :) New dresses are a moral in and of themselves! Heehee :) I’ve already used said dress more than once and I love it!

Hi Ruy! Oooh my! Hot pan de sal slathered with butter and jam is the best! I don’t think they will be replaying the show but will let you know if they do!

Hi Pinaybackpacker! Glad you found me (and I found you! Will be checking out your blog too!)! Hope you enjoyed your visit :)

Midge said...

We have a lot of guavas at home right now; it'd be interesting to turn them into jam.

I saw the Us Girls episode; you're quite telegenic! ^_____^

(Oh, and I recently tried my hand at making chocolate truffles. So nice; I suggest you try them. The recipe's on my blog. ^_____-)

Zoe said...

Thats so exciting! The jam looks so rich and beautiful

Andy said...

I'm yet to find a 'simple' recipe for jam!!! Still, looks fantastic!

Living and Loving In L.A. said...

I'm making a simple freezer jam right now myself! It's lovely to store it for the winter! (Not that it really matters here in L.A. I suppose!) Love your photographs, too!

Bordeaux said...

I think it's great that you went on to do that interview. Besides it having been a fun experience I'm sure it gave you some more exposure. And I think the fact that you were offered this interview in the first place is a huge compliment to your cooking, style and blog. A very well-deserved comment too!

veron said...

I wish, they'd give you the video to post on your blog. This Jam looks scrumptious!

the twins said...

congrats on being on tv. your jam looks really good, thanks for the recipe!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! Marketman has some good posts on making guava jam and jelly at home :) And thanks for the compliment!!! (Will check out the chocolate truffle post!)

Hi Zoe! Thank you :) I love how the color turned out too!

Hi Andy! This one’s pretty simple :)

Hello Living and Loving in LA! Freezer jam...that’s interesting! Since I usually don’t store for the winter (no winter here!) I just make the odd bottle :) Thank you!

Hi Bordeaux! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! :) I’m glad I did it :)

Hi Veron! I hope so too!

Hi Twins! Thank you...hope you give it a try!

KAHUNA said...

I think I want to make this for my pancakes- would probably leave it a little loose so that I could almost make a syrup of it- Lucky to have a family member that makes jams and jellys as I love pairing them with cheese and wine

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kahuna! I’m sure this will be great as a syrup too...especially with pancakes! MMM!