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Bread and Jam and Cherishing Quietness

After a wondrously stormy weekend with house-shaking thunder and sky-dancing lightning, I’m still in that peaceful, cozy frame of mind that inevitably comes with rainy days at home.

I’m craving quietness, that deep quietness that comes when TV, computer and music are turned off and all you hear is the wind rustling the poplar leaves and the contented clucking of chickens searching the ground for seeds they might’ve missed.

It’s a bread and jam sort of day.

Slices of chewy artisan bread with a floured crust topped with soft cheese and strawberry preserves.

Or maybe homemade fig jam with hardly any sugar so you can actually taste the figs.

And even though it’s the simplest of fare, a pretty plate is essential, a pretty plate on an old wooden table set by a window letting in soft light. A window that lends itself to leisurely breakfasts and dreamy thoughts.

I love windows like that.

I’m grateful for these quiet moments. Being ill for so long does have it’s perks! I have lots of quiet moments to breathe deeply and dream, filling notebooks with ideas for all the things I’m going to do when I feel better.

One of those things is making homemade preserves. I’ve been so inspired by my friends Ann and Jackie who make glistening jars of delicious things like Burnished Marmalade and Beetroot Relish, Apple Sage Jelly and Pear, Blueberry and Star Anise Jam. Mmm.

I’ve been poring over preserving books from the library, marking recipes that call out to me like Piccalilli (the name alone makes me happy!), Sweet Ginger Mustard, and Peach Chutney.

Have you ever done preserving? What is your favorite homemade preserve?


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thefisherlady - is that goat cheese you have made… I have an awesome recipe for it

budgetjan - I didn’t know you were sick Krista. Commiserations. I just purchased some home-made fig and ginger jam at Yandina Markets (on hols). It is a little dry for me, I like jams to be quite juicy. I make quite a lot of jams and chutneys. My favourite is Mango Chutney. I am just waiting to get some of this year’s mangoes to make a new lot.

Krista - I didn’t make this cheese, Susan, it was made at a farm in Italy. 🙂 I would LOVE to have your recipe if you’re willing to share it! 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, Jan. 🙂 That’s too bad the fig jam was dry. 🙁 Thankfully the one I tried was very juicy and lovely. 🙂 Mmm, I love mango chutney too. 🙂

mlleparadis - what’s not to like about any kind of preserves? making them at home, proves you can preserve flavor and freshness, industrial food companies just don’t want to do that for us, sadly. at least in the u.s. my uncle made wonderful summersquash pickles with garlic. and fresh apricot preserves? mmmm-mmmm-mmmm!

hope you start to feel better real soon!

Krista - Oooo, summersquash pickles sound fantastic, Paradis!! 🙂 And fresh apricot preserves??? Sigh…that would be bliss. 🙂

Andrea and John - Mmmm – I love homemade preserves – so much better than the gloop in a jar you get at the supermarket…wish I had the materials and ability to make my own!

WSIEFBT - I love the meal but the plate is so so beautiful. I’d love to have one like this.

Krista - I love this plate too, so much. 🙂 I keep my eyes open for ones just like it when I go to thrift stores and garage sales. 🙂

Krista - Gloop is the perfect word to describe it, Andrea. 🙂 Slowly but surely I’m collecting the things I need and hopefully I’ll be able to start preserving soon. 🙂

A Canadian Foodie - I love tables like that.

Krista - Aren’t they wonderful, Valerie? 🙂 Ever since I saw it I’ve wanted one of my own. 🙂

Kate Bailward - I don’t think I’ve ever made jam, but I enjoy making chutneys, along with things like caponata, which can be stored for ages and just keeps getting better. My mum makes some fab preserves: green tomato and orange chutney; beetroot chutney; sweet chilli jam; runner bean chutney – ooh, my mouth is watering just thinking about them …

Krista - Wow!! I’ve never heard of anything but mango chutney before I came to Australia, Kate. I love the sounds of all the ones you listed. 🙂 Yum!!

Lisa Chiodo - When we were kids my Mum was know for her “potent poison” which was her first and only attempt at making jam. Apparantly it turned to rubber and she never lived it down. Funnily enough although I never took up cooking I have begun to think about making jams and preserves, keeping goats and chickens and growing food. Perhaps a longing for life to return to the way it was before the world shook. Hmmm a simple life sounds so appealing especially turning everything off and just sitting x

Krista - “Potent poison” – I love that, Lisa! 🙂 What a hoot. 🙂 I’m so glad you’re finding ways to implement the simple life you value. Simplicity is hard work sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it. 🙂

Marie - I have a plate like that…only it’s black and white. I shall take a picture to show you. I love the simple comforts of things like bread and jam.

Christina Fields - I’ve never made jam or preserves but homemade is the best. Yours looks delicious. I know what you mean about quietness. I find silence, especially after a storm, rejuvenating. I hope you’re feeling better. 🙂

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